cover image Network Effect

Network Effect

Martha Wells., $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-22986-1

Hugo- and Nebula-winner Wells’s excellent first full-length Murderbot Diaries novel (after the novella Exit Strategy) sees her hilariously humanlike Artificial Intelligence Security Unit recount a routine space mission gone horribly awry. SecUnit would rather be streaming its favorite shows than protecting the rather fragile human crew it works for, even if it has become somewhat partial to them. Unfortunately, being captured has become a matter of course for the crew’s missions, and this time the kidnapping brings SecUnit face-to-face with its pseudo-creator, ART (Asshole Research Transport). Turns out that ART, another AI, needs SecUnit’s help to rescue it from a hostile takeover by alien remnant technology. SecUnit’s gloriously candid, frequently confused assessments of its crew and their predicaments allow for an amusingly childlike perspective on what it means to be human. Wells puts an astonishing amount of technical detail into SecUnit’s narrative, which will please hard sci-fi readers without detracting from the engaging story line. Series fans and anyone who enjoys humor-infused space operas won’t want to miss this. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary. (May)