Book Review: Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

The travels of our Murderbot continues on. Despite loving the previous two, this one didn’t speak to me the way the others did. Rogue Protocol felt like a filler, not moving the plotline further. Yes, it gave more humanity to Murderbot, and there were amusing fighting scenes, but the usual engagement, the pondering, and intense dialogue we saw in novella two wasn’t here. I missed ART. But I get it the two A.I.s cannot be combined despite how much I want it.

This novella should have given us a conclusion of the quest set in Artificial Condition. It didn’t deliver that. I’m not sure about the motives and behavior of this big bad company lurking behind the scenes. It remains too abstract and distant. Okay, I get those alien artifacts are interesting, but what are they and how can the company use them to their advantage?

The central point of the novella is the conflict between the psyche of Murderbot and his new friend, a socialbot (don’t know what to name Miki, pleasurebot doesn’t sound right in Miki’s case. Or maybe pet robot, as Murderbot uses.) So, the question is about being abused or not, being treated as a friend and a human being or not. Those are essential questions that can have a significant effect on our psyche and the future we set upon. But the novella didn’t deliver. The question floated there, but it never went past the surface. We all need to belong, be loved, be seen as valuable, and treated as human beings otherwise, there might be trouble in the future and of course in now. We see what neglect does to the mind. For some reason, the comparison between Murderbot and Miki didn’t work, maybe it is for the fact that they are constructed entities that have been build for different functions. So the love and care Miki gets is reasonable, but who can love a monster man?

Now, as I write about the novella, I can see its depth better. Maybe I concentrated too much on the glamour and all the fighting, missing the duality between Miki and Murderbot. Hmm… Definitely worth the read.

Thank you for reading! We all need a Miki into our lives, so wink at the next fellow you see.

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