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Fugitive Telemetry: The Murderbot Diaries #6    by Martha Wells order for
Fugitive Telemetry
by Martha Wells
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Fugitive Telemetry follows Network Effect as the sixth in Martha Wells' brilliant Murderbot Diaries, space opera laced with humor. The lead is a sentient machine (with organic neural tissue), a SecUnit programmed for destruction, but who has overcome his programming and gone rogue. Murderbot has a hilarious perspective on the humans he is now committed to protect.

As Fugitive Telemetry opens, Murderbot, Dr. Mensah and Senior Officer Indah are looking at a dead human in the Preservation Station mall. Indah, who works for Station Security, gets increasingly annoyed by the accuracy of Murderbot's analysis of the scene of death, but needs his help and Mensah asks him to give it. What follows is an intriguing murder investigation. What makes it a great read is Murderbot's dislike of interacting with humans.

Though both Mensah and Murderbot immediately wonder about GrayCris assassination agents, they do not seem to be involved. Murderbot follows the trail to a damaged transport, where the murder happened. He continues to follow it to a cargo ship, where he saves Station Security from an attack. Turns out the ship was smuggling people, contract laborers who were essentially slaves.

Of course, Murderbot solves the mystery and saves the human cargo, but has to fight a CombatBot to do so, no easy task. Along the way, Station Security start to see the SecUnit in a very different way, and to value his talents.

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