the Little Red Reviewer

Rogue Protocol, by Martha Wells

Posted on: October 28, 2018

Rogue Protocol (Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells

published 2018

where I got it: purchased new









Murderbot needs to stop hanging out with humans.  You hang out with humans too much, and they start to rub off on you, and you start to think that maybe not all humans are awful, that maybe it is possible for a bot to be treated kindly.  You start getting spoiled, you start getting used to sleeping on soft beds and having access to niceties.


You hang out with humans long enough, and even their gross feelings and emotions start to rub off on you. Feelings like  anger. Loyalty. Envy.


Plot-wise, Rogue Protocol doesn’t offer much we haven’t seen before.  Murderbot is going somewhere to get more information about GrayCris, and will have to pass as human (or at least pass as anything other than a SecUnit) to be successful, all while keeping dumb humans from getting killed by their own stupidity. There is interaction with another bot, whereby Murderbot learns that not all bots have the same experience with humans, and not all humans are awful.  I didn’t feel the connection with the characters as much in this book as I did in previous installments, making Rogue Protocol feel like it suffered from “middle book syndrome”.


When I say that so far this is my least favorite Murderbot book, what I’m saying is that Rogue Protocol is better than 75% of the books I’ve read this year. And the way this book ends? I know I am in for some spectacular Murderbot-ness in the next installment!


I appreciated that Murderbot has no idea how to feel about Miki, the other bot.  Miki is privileged, and maybe a little spoiled by her humans. Should Murderbot feel envy? Miki also isn’t very smart, her programming isn’t very complicated. Should Murderbot feel pity? She’s too dumb to really understand what’s happening (although she has got the 3 laws of robotics down pat), so maybe ignorance is bliss.  Her programming keeps her rather childlike, almost the way you and I keep our pet cats and dogs in a state of permanent pre-adolescence so they can stay tame, cute, and domesticated. Hmmm… maybe that’s the trick to humans treating their bots with kindness – in your mind, the bot is a pet cat. Some cats are very smart, but I’ve known some pretty dumb indoor cats who would have died without a human to care for them and protect them.  There are plenty of dogs out there with jobs, but also plenty of really cute and dumb dogs.  it’s surprisingly easy to keep a pet cat dumb, or pet dog dumb.

Plot, pacing, and side-character wise, Rogue Protocol felt like a mash-up of the first two Alien movies (and I do LOVE those movies to death!).  Murderbot, Miki, and some humans are investigating an abandoned station. It’s unlikely that anything is alive on the station, but there does seem to be something or someone creeping about and herding the explorers towards certain areas of the station.  Their unseen enemy is cold, calculating, and damn smart. Miki is to Murderbot as Murderbot was to ART, and who knows, maybe there’s no difference between the three laws of robotics, your mission to protect your humans, and waving a death flag. You can always just get another robot, right?

I was torturing my poor husband by talking non-stop about this series, and somehow he and I got on the topic of Murderbot fanfic.  We came up with that after this series ends and life becomes a little more boring for Murderbot, it gets a job as a courier. And reads all the mail, because of course. All the letters are love letter, which of course Murderbot makes fun of, until it realizes the parallel between these real life love letters and the plot of Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon.  Connection found, Murderbot begins writing its own epistolary fanfic shipping different characters from that show.


I just finished reading Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee.   We need to get Hemiola and Murderbot in the same place at the same time, I think they’d be great friends.

3 Responses to "Rogue Protocol, by Martha Wells"

YES! *fist pump* I know what you mean, this one probably wasn’t my favorite of the four novellas either, but it was still so damn good.

Liked by 1 person

I love this series, and I agree this probably wasn’t my favorite of the series- that would probably be the second or fourth one- but I did like the creepy feel of the abandoned station, and wondering what exactly was herding them along. I can’t wait for the Murderbot novel when it comes.


so far the 2nd one is my favorite, good to hear that the fourth one is really good! I’ve not gotten my hands on a copy of the fourth one yet. there is going to be a novel? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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