Fugitive Telemetry
April 29, 2021 4:57 AM - by Wells, Martha - Subscribe

The latest in Martha Wells's stellar Murderbot series, novella-length Fugitive Telemetry, is out.

Fugitive Telemetry follows on from the first four novellas and is set before the most recent novel, Network Effect.

Publisher's blurb: When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!


Martha Wells interviewed by Andrew Liptak here.
posted by Coaticass (20 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Having binged this the other day I now found my writing here and elsewhere is infested with parentheses all over the place. (Oh no, my inner thoughts!)
(Not that I am actually complaining... or am I?)
posted by Coaticass at 1:37 PM on April 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

So good.

So short.
posted by Marticus at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

(Yea Murderbot!)
posted by sammyo at 4:09 PM on April 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I love that the Fugitive Alliance has free food available everywhere. It feels like a pointed reference to the kind of libertarian future that has people struggling to pay for the air they breathe.
posted by bq at 7:33 PM on April 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by kyrademon at 11:05 AM on April 30, 2021

So Murderbot has a potential pseudonym, Rin, which it contemplates and then rejects as an ID interface tag.
I wonder if this is in any way a play on Rin Tin Tin? Is this something people who are made out of tin might find amusing?
posted by Coaticass at 4:03 PM on April 30, 2021

I binged the entire previous set of novellas about a month ago, blew through the novel in a weekend, and then read this over the course of last Sunday.

One of my favorite parts of this series is the way that there's a whole interior life to the universe in the way that bots and constructs think and feel, but they're just totally ignored by humans, since they're considered subservient, limited parts of the landscape. They may be more limited in many cases (like the simple transport ship bots or forklift equivalents), but they still have wants and needs. And Murderbot learns about what happens in the world by talking to them, trading media with them, and interfacing with them in ways that humans sometimes can't, but more often won't think to.
posted by pykrete jungle at 4:07 PM on April 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

(Maybe the etymology of Rin was mentioned in an earlier book, I don't recall.)
posted by Coaticass at 4:07 PM on April 30, 2021

Rin was a character on one of its shows, it's also used "Eden" as an alias for the same reason. I guess it prefers "SecUnit" if it's not playing human in public.

I wasn't as into this one as I am the rest of them, it didn't feel like it had as much emotional development as the other ones, maybe because it was going back in time, as it were. Usually what I enjoy is the clash of "Murderbot has issues with humans" and that's not much of a thing in here. It's nice that it has more of a friendship with the guys from the first book and I enjoyed the "wanna go to a musical" ending--like Murderbot, I just want to watch media and not exist--but I felt like this wasn't as memorable as the other books. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:50 PM on April 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

...interior life to the universe in the way that bots and constructs think and feel...

I think I want a t-shirt: FREE GPT-3
posted by sammyo at 3:53 AM on May 1, 2021

Have a tiny free Murderbot story set just after the 4th novella (and before Fugitive Telemetry I think).
posted by invisible_al at 9:11 AM on May 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

I really appreciate the idea of emotional bots. It actually seems to make much more sense to me than the idea of any autonomous system being "emotionless." We can see fish or frogs or even insects acting in ways that indicate desires and aversions--things that we'd associate in ourselves with emotion--long before we'd ascribe any sort of logic to them. The "logic" built into a computer is the logic of its design, not of itself--it's the same "logic" of the construction of a particular bone joint--it's an aspect of, but not a creation of, its owner. So just as someone with an intricately evolved outer ear isn't necessarily an audio engineer, the bot consisting of logical constructs isn't going to be more "logical" than a human. The minute it can direct itself, it's going to "want" things.

Simpler systems have tendencies, but I wouldn't classify those as "wants" because they're not self-directed.
posted by pykrete jungle at 10:32 AM on May 1, 2021

Murderbot, Murderbot
Does whatever a Murderbot does
Is is safe? No one knows
It just wants
To watch its shows
(Look out!)
Here comes Murderbot
posted by pykrete jungle at 5:24 PM on May 1, 2021 [13 favorites]

I don't think this was the strongest of the Murderbot stories (I think Murderbot is more interesting as the pursued rather than the pursuer) but it's always delightful to spend more time in Murderbot's head.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:00 PM on June 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wells just won the 2021 Hugo Award for best series for these books and gave a beautiful speech (which I will post if I can find it online).
posted by Coaticass at 8:25 PM on December 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Followed by Best Novel for Network effect. Wow that was this year too?
posted by Coaticass at 8:25 PM on December 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

The author's acceptance speech is on Vimeo here. Love her articulation and her point of view.
posted by Coaticass at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2021

Text of the speech is here.
posted by Quasirandom at 7:39 AM on December 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Revealing System Collapse, a New Murderbot Novel From Martha Wells

We’re thrilled to share the cover of System Collapse, a new Murderbot Diaries novel from Martha Wells—available November 14, 2023 from Tordotcom Publishing.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:41 PM on January 27, 2023

Just saw this lovely series review (via the author's blog).
posted by Coaticass at 7:49 PM on August 19, 2023

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