Network Effect by Martha Wells

Network Effect by Martha WellsNetwork Effect by Martha Wells
Series: The Murderbot Diaries #5
Published by Tor on May 5, 2020
Genres: Science fiction
Pages: 350
Format: Hardcover
Also by this author: The Witch King

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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.

My thoughts

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.

Your thoughts

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.

Other Books

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The other books in the series are:

  • All Systems Red
  • Artificial Condition
  • Rogue Protocol
  • Exit Strategy

Thanks to NetGalley and for the DRC.

About Martha Wells

Martha Wells has written many fantasy novels, including The Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads), the Ile-Rien series (including The Death of the Necromancer) as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, media tie-ins (for Star Wars and Stargate: Atlantis), and non-fiction. Her most recent fantasy novel is The Harbors of the Sun in 2017, the final novel in The Books of the Raksura series. She has a new series of SF novellas, The Murderbot Diaries, published by in 2017 and 2018. She was also the lead writer for the story team of Magic: the Gathering’s Dominaria expansion in 2018. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, an ALA/YALSA Alex Award, a Locus Award, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in eleven languages.

She has had short stories in the magazines Black Gate, Realms of Fantasy, Lone Star Stories, Lightspeed Magazine, and Stargate Magazine, and in the Tsunami Relief anthology Elemental, The Other Half of the Sky, Tales of the Emerald Serpent, Mech: Age of Steel, and The Gods of Lovecraft.

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