Sunday, May 3, 2020

Day 44: Review "The Murderbot Diaries" (Book Series)

This article is part of The 100 Days Offensive. Go to Day 43 or Day 45.

The first lines of "All Systems Red" caught my attention: "I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then i realized, I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company channels." I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Changing the perspective by using an unusual main character is not really a novel approach for an author. But Martha Wells nails it with this series that nevertheless surprises you. A soap opera addicted killing machine really fits the trope of being somewhat special.

Winning the Hugo and the Nebula Award is a just reward for an action pack Science Fiction comedy that does not shy away from difficult topics. And the author manages all that with surprising small footprint. All four books are easily read on a single evening (perhaps cutting some corners with your sleep requirements is required).

In a time where the problems of autonomous killing machines are on the table of international politics, the book adds another angle. It is impossible to predict what an artificial intelligence really wants once it reaches self-awareness. Perhaps we can really hope our endless supply of trivial media keeps it too busy from becoming the dominant species.

And do you want to know what the best thing is? The next (fifth) installment (Network Effect) of this series is due Tuesday.

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