Martha Wells: Network Effect (2020) 4 stars

WINNER of the 2021 Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards!

The first full-length novel in Martha …

Part of what I love about reading the Murderbot books is the sampler-box of competency porn. SecUnit themselves is a high tech assassin/RoboCop, ART is immensely clever, and all of Preservation is just chock-full of emotional and social intelligence, with all the Preservation humans demonstrating empathy, compassion, humility and emotional honesty.

I want to be adopted by Preservation. SecUnit is thus a tender combination of ruthless protector and vulnerable child — and so are the people of Preservation, in almost entirely complementary circumstances. it's so satisfying to see each of them displaying their competencies to protect each other.

It's genuinely a relationship novel, but without pair-bonding, jealousy, or sex — two different systems that need each other, in a long slow burn of trying to be together and be different at the same time.