Review: Network Effect
Published by Tor on May 5, 2020
Genres: Science fiction
As someone who frequently loathes the humans around me, I absolutely vibe with Network Effect’s Murderbot – a cyborg created to be a mobile security unit protecting humans from danger. In the preceding four novellas, Murderbot starts a journey from angry cyborg, treated like a piece of equipment by an unfeeling corporation to a not quite so angry cyborg developing relationships and feelings for other beings, despite denying it.
Network Effect is the fifth book in the series but the first full-length novel. I’ll admit that I was unsure if the author could pull off Murderbot’s angry, eye-rolling snark for an entire novel without it feeling one-note. (I knew she could write fabulous doorstop novels because her Death of the Necromancer is a fav). I was delighted that yes she can and boy, does she!
If you haven’t read the novellas, do yourself a favor and read them first. Trust me, they are crazy quick reads that you won’t want to put down.
Murderbot really wants to be left alone to watch its media but that’s not going to happen when its humans are attacked during a research mission.
ART (Asshole Research Transport), real name Perihelion, from an earlier book makes a reappearance in Murderbot’s life. ART’s humans are being held hostage due to a nefarious plot involving corporate greed and evil alien tech and it needs Murderbot’s help rescuing them.
Murderbot has to maneuver dangerous situations, corporate shenanigans, being attacked multiple times and worst of all – feelings.
As always, this installment shines with Murderbot’s snark and the obvious to everyone but itself’s affection for those closest to it. I love how skillfully Martha Wells juxtaposes the care that Murderbot has for humans, even humans who’ve been jerks and how terrible humans are not onlt to those they view as less like the cyborgs but other humans too.
I enjoyed seeing the world fleshed out a bit more and I’m hoping there are more Murderbot stories to come. ETA: Martha Wells answered my hopes by announcing a new novella coming out in 2021.
Do you identify with Murderbot? I know I do with my eye-rolling and impatience with other people. The first four books in the series are novellas. Do you like reading shorter length books or do you always want the longer length of a full-size novel> Tell me what you think in the comments below.
The other books in the series are:
- All Systems Red
- Artificial Condition
- Rogue Protocol
- Exit Strategy
Thanks to NetGalley and Tor.com for the DRC.