Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment. The thing that drives this series is Murderbot wants to be alone, but situations keep thrusting him into action. I like how he manipulates other robots that are all to ready to conspire with him, without human knowledge.
The Plot: In the first Murderbot novella All Systems Red, Muderbot hired by a team of scientist doing lad surveys on a planet, a shadow company, GrayCris, has been doing it’s own research on the planet, and found aliens have visited it and have left technology, they fear the scientists finding out and send a kill order of the scientist. Murderbot saves them as they find out about the alien visit and learn more about the GrayCris, Murderbot is bought by the scientists and granted freedom. Murderbot runs away. In the second Murderbot book Artificial Condition Murderbot investigates the place where he became a mass murderer and finds out he was hacked and taken over by GrayCris that wanted settlers dead. In Rogue Protocol Murderbot is going to a planet that GrayCris deleted from record. Murderbot wants to grab proof of a coverup and give it to the scientists who released him and still fighting GrayCris. He joined a survey team that doesn’t understand what they are walking into, he lies his way in as security, and reluctantly has to protect the humans and a naive droid he has nicknamed Puppybot.
What I Liked: Miki or Puppybot as Murderbot thinks of him, is a different side of A.I. one that is shown and only knows love. His interaction with the very cynical Murderbot are what make this book so fun. I loved seeing Mili showing the strength that rubbed off of Murderbot near the end. I liked Murderbot, who is an avid consumer of T.V. shows quoting some of the lines that applied to criminal justice, to the would be criminal were really good. Murderbot plot summary of the first two books made me laugh, because of how cynical it was to the human’s and the robot’s that helped him but still not really wanting their help to begin with. The action was really good and easier to follow in the past. The twist was pretty great because it was so plausible and made you think a character’s motivation went one way when it was the other.
What I Disliked: The plot setup is getting formulaic. Murderbot travels somewhere using lies to hide true intention, gets to destination and someone gets double crossed, he has to complete original mission by saving dumb humans. The books are different but I got a little plot Deja Vu.
Recommendation: I totally recommend this series, it’s fun, it is one heck of a character study, and it has amazing Science Fiction action. One of the cover quotes I really agreed with is, “One of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman, I’ve ever read” by Annalee Newitz. I rated Rogue Protocol 4 out of 5 stars. I will continue reading the Murderbot Diaries series that is currently 5 books comprised of 4 novella and one novel. So far every book has been 4 out of 5 stars.