Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, 6)

Image of Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, 6)
Release Date: 
April 27, 2021
Reviewed by: 

Fugitive Telemetry is the sixth installment in the Murderbot Diaries series, and it’s one of the better ones. The main appeal of the books is the character of Murderbot, an emotionally damaged robot with anxiety issues who just wants to be left alone to watch its adventure shows. Instead, it is repeatedly drawn into plots where it must fight hostile enemy attackers, risk its life to protect innocent civilians, and (worst of all) talk to people. Murderbot is funny, sarcastic, and incredibly relatable, especially for introverts who get how difficult it can be to interact with others.

Despite its best efforts, Murderbot has collected a group of humans that genuinely care for it. In Fugitive Telemetry, one of those characters has gotten it a job—a temporary job, Murderbot is certain—helping station security solve a murder.

As is often the case, Murderbot initially antagonizes everyone on the security team by treating them like idiots and assuming the worst of everyone. This is based on experience, since everyone tends to be afraid Murderbot will just start killing everyone. (“Oh, wow. But it wasn’t like it hurt my feelings or anything. Not at all. I was used to this. Completely used to it.”)

The murder mystery provides the plot for the story, but the plot is not the focus. Instead, Murderbot’s choices to risk its life for the humans it claims not to care about draw the reader in. Despite the fact that most of them don’t understand its motives and assume the worst, Murderbot uses its considerable skill to do what it does best: keep humans safe, whether they deserve it or not.

Amusingly, Murderbot has promised not to hack into the station’s computer systems, a trick it has performed to great effect in previous books. Because of that promise, it has to actually ask permission for access to records, convincing the security chief that such access is necessary. It both demonstrates Murderbot’s integrity, since it won’t break its promise, and forces it to work with a team instead of doing everything on its own.

An interesting book.