cover image Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries, Book 3

Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries, Book 3

Martha Wells., $17.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-2501-9178-6

Three books into the far-future Murderbot Diaries, the shakier pillars of Wells’s worldbuilding are showing cracks. Equipped with knowledge of its past—but lacking armor—the sentient Murderbot, calling itself Rin, turns its focus on GrayCris, the corporate baddie that has loomed over the saga. GrayCris is manifest only in contract minions and solicitors but has left one concrete locus to investigate: a derelict terraform facility that may have been used to recover alien artifacts. The facility has been reclaimed by new owners who are sending a team to assess it, giving Rin opportunity to infiltrate that team. The group includes “pet robot” Miki, a naïf who nonetheless comes in handy when, inevitably, the expedition goes apocalyptically wrong. A central proposition of Rin’s character is that it’s never been treated as a person, but throughout the books, humans have interacted with it appreciatively and respectfully. Also, GrayCris’s motives are annoyingly vague. Still, where the core question of Rin’s personhood is concerned, Wells once again knits combat, investigation, and rumination into a thoughtful, irresistible story. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary. (Aug.)