Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (Italian edition)
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (Italian edition)

The novella “Exit Strategy” by Martha Wells was published for the first time in 2018. It’s the fourth work of “The Murderbot Diaries” series and follows “Rogue Protocol“.

When the spaceship taken by Murderbot is arriving at its destination, it’s rerouted towards the security area. SecUnit realizes that they’re looking for it and it’s forced to sneak out of the spaceship to prevent the heavily armed security forces from finding it.

Murderbot quickly discovers that Dr. Mensah was accused of corporate espionage by GrayCris and disappeared. Suspecting a kidnapping, it contacts her team, knowing full well that they know its identity and therefore that it’s a SecUnit.

“Exit Strategy” picks up Murderbot’s story shortly after the end of “Rogue Protocol”. The information it obtained in the planet Milu system may be useful but its actions caused unforeseen consequences, especially for Dr. Mensah.

After wandering around space searching for answers about itself and GrayCris’ operations, Murderbot resumes contact with the team it worked with in “All Systems Red.” Basically, “Exit Strategy” has the same protagonists as the first novella and yet everything has changed since those events.

Murderbot cares about what happens to Dr. Mensah and it doesn’t like it one bit. Its interactions with humans have grown significantly since it’s been free and it has worked hard to pass as an augmented human. The consequence was also an evolution on an emotional level, which however it doesn’t appreciate. In fact. it would rather avoid having emotions.

Basically, Murderbot doesn’t want to become human but it has a partly organic brain, so emotions are part of its nature. In some ways, the protagonist reached a level comparable to that of a teenager, with all the problems and contradictions in the way it sees itself and in its relationships with others.

In this novella, there are still moments where Murderbot uses its sarcasm and caustic comments about humans but in many ways, its tone is more serious than the previous ones. The protagonist must face the consequences of its actions and save Dr. Mensah, the person who most of all treated it like a person and allowed it to become who it is now.

“Exit Strategy” also has its intense action parts where Murderbot acts like an almost normal SecUnit. However, the underlying themes remain the protagonist’s attitude and the misdeeds of the big corporations that operate on different planets in that future.

For these reasons, “Exit Strategy” is a mix of action and introspection. It ends the original miniseries of four Murderbot novellas but in some ways, its story has only just begun because its situation has changed once again. I keep on recommending this series to anyone who appreciates the themes that are developed with the food for thought it offers. It’s available on Amazon USA, UK, and Canada.

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