Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

details
Title: Exit Strategy.
SeriesThe Murderbot Diaries #4.
Writer(s)Martha Wells.
Publisher: Tor.com.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018.
Pages: 172.
Genre(s): Science-Fiction.
ISBN13:  9781250191854.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

Previously in The Murderbot Diaries series:
All Systems Red by Martha Wells.
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells.
Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells.

thoughts

What makes us human? Some will find the answer in our ability to communicate, others will look towards our sense of creativity, but maybe the answer is far more complex than that. For one Murderbot, it has never been simple to understand humans, especially when all it ever wanted was for its introverted self to be left alone with its soap operas. Then again, it still always finds itself in situations where understanding humans was essential to its own survival, sometimes even having to act like them better than they could to escape from between a rock and a hard place. Despite a full-novel picking up the story of Murderbot afterward as well as an unreleased 6th entry in the franchise to come out in 2021, this fourth novella remains the originally planned out end to this ex-security android’s exhilarating adventures through space.

What is Exit Strategy about? Picking up where the previous story-arc ended, this chapter in Murderbot’s life, always without its governor module dictating its purpose, sends it into the heart of the action in search of Dr. Mensah. While it now has the evidence it sought to expose the GrayCris corporation of the evil that they have been bathing in, it isn’t yet sure how to reach the only ally it knows without compromising itself and the package that it possesses. Devising a plan to infiltrate and then execute an extraction will likely come at a cost but serendipitous encounters will have it attempt the impossible, hoping that everything ends without a hitch. But will it?

Writer Martha Wells capitalizes on the very ingredients that made her previous Murderbot Diaries novellas succeed as she embarked on this pseudo-conclusion to her beloved series. Although it begins at a relatively slower pace as it sets up the protagonist’s course towards the enemy base, it is a rare moment of little interaction with other bots and people for this android but ultimately reminds the reader that it still has incredible hacking abilities and technological knowledge allowing it to assess situations at lightning speed and take over the narrative of its life through meticulous decision-making executed better than any human ever could. It’s towards the halfway point that the story picks up a lot more speed and throws the readers on an engrossing and heart-stopping espionage thriller before tackling the very idea hinted in the title of this novella.

From its love for the soap opera Sanctuary Moon to its cynical perception of other bots and people, this latest adventure remains a necessary and comforting chapter in Murderbot’s personal growth. After all, without its governor module, it never was stuck in a predetermined life void of agency. In this novella, it further explores the complexity and nuances of being human despite not being one in the first place. Building on what we’ve seen it experience in the previous novellas, this journey, where choices were made and a purpose was identified out of its own personal will power, gave way to the long-awaited transformation of its own core life essence. With that being said, writer Martha Wells simply knew that there was no better ending than the one presented here, concluding this adventure with emotional tact and consideration while reminding us all why we love Murderbot.

Exit Strategy is a thrilling and high-paced trip conveniently exploring Murderbot’s journey of self-discovery.


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32 comments

  • I think it is not for me but so well written review. I am amazed at your depth. What makes us human? I thought it was empathy but with world crisis, I saw it in the beginning, now people have become mean.
    I hope my humanbot is kind if I ever get to have one.

    Liked by 4 people

  • Terrific review. Ever since reading your previous review for this series, its another one that’s simply been sitting on my to read list. One of these days I really have to make it my priority to make some dents in that. All kidding aside, as I said on your post for the previous part, I really love books such as these. It seems to be getting very good reviews across the board, so I am looking forward to it! What happened to the cover though….such a shame it got damaged😢

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Michel! I’m glad that you still have an interest in this series and will have plenty of books to go through with each new release too. 😉 That TBR is clearly never going to get short.

      It’s a secondhand copy and it came to me in that condition, unfortunately. But, considering how expensive these novellas are, I accepted the damaged condition deep down within me hahaha If I do ever find a better condition in the future, especially cheap, I’ll swap them out and giveaway my bruised up edition to charity/secondhand bookstores hahah

      Liked by 2 people

  • I was interested in this series when it first came out, but between them being novellas and fully priced and some of the reviews I read, there were “just enough” niggles to make me wonder if I really should read this. So far I’ve held off and to be honest, if I’ve not committed by now, I probably won’t.

    You obviously enjoyed the heck out of these. Do you think you’ll read the full novel?

    On a generic level, I do question whether a robot with some sort of inhibitor is actually any less “free” than a human with an addiction. I semi-regularly talk with Bormgans over at Weighing a Pig doesn’t Fatten It about freewill, determinism, etc, as he’s really into that. He’s of the mindset (but don’t quote me) that unless a human is completely free from any and all constraints that that free will doesn’t exist. Anything impinging on your choice negates it. I’m of the mind that free will is much more constrained. It is simply the choice to choose. Whether you have the ability to actually carry out your choice is immaterial. As a Christian, I certainly do believe in free will, that Jehovah gave us the ability to choose. The biggest choice obviously comes down to whether someone will accept Jesus Christ or not. But that choice doesn’t happen in a vacuum and that is where things get tricky and why theologians have been writing books for millennia and will continue to write books on the subject until the end of time.

    Ok, it is way to early for this (It’s 5:45am at the moment). Have a great day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think it’ll be a good idea to just wait it out and reevaluate your desire to pick these up when (or if) this series ends. I can definitely see the kinds of niggles you’d run into these myself, so I wouldn’t be the first one to recommend them highly to you. 😀 In fact, the price alone is killer. It’s why I picked these last ones up for a bargained price at a second-hand bookshop (see damage on cover hahahah) and didn’t mind it all. You can imagine how annoyed I am for the 5th book’s price, especially since it’s a full novel now… I still need to hunt down a copy but it’ll have to be a cheap one for me to read it now… The wait might be long…

      I’ve never had the chance to interact with Bormgans but it does sound like he’s been digging into it more than others through the books that he decides to read. I do find that his position is quite extreme, making it indeed impossible to conceive a concept such as free will simply because there would always be something effecting it someway, somehow. I do prefer thinking that free will exists the moment that you can acknowledge, evaluate, analyze, and react to something. If you can insert yourself in that equation from start to finish, then free will, you possess! 😀

      Wow… You’re an early-bird. Here I thought 7 am was the earliest you’d get up to do blog-related stuff! I appreciate the exchange of these thoughts though. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I’ve seen enough things in various reviews that I really know I’ll never get around to these. It’s just a nice idea to toss around that “maybe one day….” 😀

        You are correct about Bormgans. As long as you can check your ideas at the door and simply interact on an intellectual level, I find his stuff fascinating. I disagree with about 75% of his ideas, but he doesn’t get heated and I don’t get heated (for probably the only time in my life, hahahahaa) and we get along famously. We simply acknowledge that we think differently about Subjects X, Y and Z and we’re not trying to change the other’s mind.

        I’m normally up at 5, even on the weekends. I’m up at 5 during the week and my body just doesn’t have “weekend” mode any more. What really stinks is when I wake up “early” on the weekends. 4am really sucks on a saturday morning, let me tell you….

        Liked by 1 person

  • What makes us human? That is such a great question (which I won’t attempt to answer here 😉 ). Great review, you reminded me I have to move on which this series, even if I am a bit unhappy with the audiobooks being relatively expensive. I look forward to follow Murderbot’s personal growth, even if this sounds like a strange thing to say about a bot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I too am at unease with the pricing of these novellas in particular. It makes no sense. It’s why I content myself of second-hand books (the damaged cover, as proof) for the opportunity to just read the story hahaha I hope you enjoy the rest of the run whenever you get the chance to do so! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Your delight in MurderBot’s continuing story comes across quite clearly in your review – and how could it be otherwise with this very human, non-human construct? (and please, no one tell MB that I called it “human”!!). Discovering the meaning of being human while feeling separate from humanity is one of the more compelling traits of this amazing character.
    Oh, and I have developed a burning curiosity to see a few episodes of Sanctuary Moon… 😀 😀
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am glad to join the club with you when it comes to enjoying this series and the MB’s very humane traits! 😛 I am curious as to what Sanctuary Moon is all about but something tells me that it might not be my cup of tea though hahahah I look forward to the next BIG chapter in this android’s life now. 😀 Thanks for reading, Maddalena!

      Like

  • Glad to hear you enjoyed this one, as well. I’ve loved all the Murderbot novellas and look forward to the full length chapter in its story. And just a hint for those who’ve stayed away simply because of the price of the novellas and are willing to read ebooks (and if they’re available in your area) Tor often puts their novella ebooks on sale. In fact, I just checked 3 of the big online ebook sellers and all currently have All Systems Red (book 1) and Rogue Protocol (book 3) on sale. No guarantee the rest will be put back on sale, but keep watching, they just might be, especially around the time of new publications. Also, I think about once a month Tor gives away a copy of one of their books in ebook form if you’re willing to sign up for their email newsletter. I think I’ve seen some of the Murderbot novellas offered that way in the past. No clue if they will be again, though. One thing I’d love to see would be a physical compilation of all the novellas in one. I’d buy that for the shelves! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad to hear we’re on the same page when it comes to this Murderbot! I too look forward to that next full-novel chapter too now.

      I’ve seen that pretty epic giveaway by Tor prior to the release of the full novel and I hope people got it in time. Something tells me we might not see that again until the next release?

      As for a collected physical edition, I think the first four novellas have been collected or will be very soon. What’s less enticing about it is knowing that there’s a full novel and another novella after that to come hahah At least getting these individually, second-hand nonetheless, make for a pretty collection too! 😛

      Happy reading, Todd! 😀

      Like

  • Amazing review AS ALWAYS, Lashaan and I wanted to say many many more things but my mind is a bit diverted by that crease (and possible a tear?) at the top left corner of the book! WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?! And you know taping the edges is A MUST if you want to protect your book’s covers and dust jackets! 😒😒😒😒😒😒

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a second-hand copy. I didn’t want to buy these novellas full price because of how overpriced they are on release so I ordered this used copy. Unfortunately, it came like that and I had to live with it. 😉 Don’t you start thinking that I hurt my books on purpose or something!!! 😮 😮 😮

      Like

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