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Compulsory: A Murderbot Story    by Martha Wells order for
by Martha Wells
Order:  USA  Can
Subterranean Press, 2023 (2023)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Compulsory is a short story in Martha Wells' highly entertaining Murderbot series of space opera laced with humor. The lead is a sentient machine (with organic neural tissue), a SecUnit programmed for destruction. Murderbot has overcome his programming and gone rogue. He has a hilarious perspective on the humans he now generally protects.

It all opens on Murderbot watching a space/soap opera, episode 44 of The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon. He's not happy to be distracted by a human in trouble - she has a minute and a half to live if nothing is done. Saving her is not his job, but he impulsively and literally jumps in, while hacking Hubsystem to make it look like he'd been ordered to help.

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