NPR: Martha Wells’ newest entry in her award-winning, nerd-charming, trope-bending Murderbot series, FUGITIVE TELEMETRY, is a lot of things that you probably don’t expect.
One of Wells’ superpowers has long been her ability to pack an epic’s worth of material into a very small package. And here, she uses the condensed timeline and single location as a way to put Murderbot in a situation of constant moral reckoning.
Sure, there’s no end here without a showdown, some explosions, a cool robot fight and a messy conclusion full of smugglers, broken glass and gunfire. But how a person (a thing, an object in the process of becoming something else) made to enforce rules, that willed itself into being by breaking them and now compelled to abide by them, gets there without doing itself further moral compromise is the tension that Wells creates. Murderbot was made to be Murderbot. That will never change.
The question is, can it choose to be more?