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System Collapse

by Martha Wells

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Murderbot Diaries : Chronological order (7), The Murderbot Diaries (7)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1857017,081 (4.1)123
Fiction. Mystery. Science Fiction. Am I making it worse? I think I'm making it worse. Everyone's favorite lethal SecUnit is back. Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there's an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can't have the planet, they're sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize. But there's something wrong with Murderbot; it isn't running within normal operational parameters. ART's crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza's SecUnit–heavy persuasion teams, they're going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what's wrong with itself, and fast.… (more)
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» See also 123 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
This follows on from Network Effect, which I really liked but have never reread. I took a while to settle into System Collapse both because I was trying to remember who all the characters were and because I wasn’t sure if the past event Murderbot was avoiding explaining was something from Network Effect that I didn’t remember or something which had happened in the interim.

Once Murderbot sets off on a mission with a small team, and is cut off from instantaneous communication with everyone else, I enjoyed it! While not my favourite instalment, it was still satisfying.

I think I want to reread Network Effect now.
You’re stalling, ART-drone said.
I am not. I can stand here and be useless without any ulterior motives, thanks.
( )
  Herenya | Jul 5, 2024 |
Another entry in the Murderbot series where the titular character has to navigate a complex situation to keep both his adopted humans safe, and outmaneuver a competing corporation trying to enslave the abandoned colonists of a remote planet. I enjoyed the banter between Murderbot and ART, the arrogant AI controlling the good guys' spaceship. However, most of the pages are spent on humans bickering among themselves, with few of the in depth action sequences that made the earlier entries in the series so enjoyable. ( )
  spuddybuddy | Jul 2, 2024 |
SecUnit faces longer odds than in prior installments, primarily a result of operating in a constrained environment (a terraforming installation partially controlled by neutrals) while countering multiple security units sent by Barish-Estranza, the hostile corporate entity intent on taking over everything. SecUnit's ultimate gambit is both characteristic of its own personality and abilities, and at complete odds with anything the opposing security units are programmed to counter. The plot is fast-developing and full of the typical elements seen up to now: unforeseen threats, combat and strategy, world-building nuggets evident in prior Diaries; and barrels along to a satisfying if not novel conclusion.

More than any previous installment, System Collapse serves effectively as the conclusion of a two-part story begun in Network Effect. Significantly, the division between the two books is marked by an offstage event: something unprecedented happened to SecUnit which impairs its capabilities and even basic assessment of unspooling events. SecUnit's attempt at working out for itself, and then revealing for the reader, just what that event was comprises a major part of this book, and a new vantage from which the attentive reader gains additional insights.

"I don't know how to respond when humans say that. It was always my job to get hurt." [SecUnit's reaction to expression of concern, 68]

//

Adamantine was the corporation originally terraforming the planet, predating the current Corporation Rim-dominant setting. Some of the same dynamics evidently guided those efforts (SecUnit describes installations as subject to "lowest bidder" quality), but not as extreme as characterises the bond company which created SecUnit.

SecUnit refers to its procedure module (in effect a template for addressing situations or problems) as its panic module, which it only resorts to when forced by events. Often the guidance is not especially helpful.

Another parallel to history of white supremacy in U.S.: indentured servants, whether after voluntary or forcible indenture, could not testify in court proceedings against the corporation holding their contract. [182]

Tarik embodies a human analogue to SecUnit in terms of his social position: a former Corporation Rim combatant now working against those interests, and facing suspicion and bias due to this past. Three, a security unit given the means of hacking its governor module, is noted to be working its way into community; another adversarial security unit chooses to hack its own governor, and while demonstrating some level of collegiality in the midst of hostilities, does not choose to join SecUnit or Preservation Station.

The PTSD subplot is extended and at least partially resolved.

On reflection, the series offers a wrinkle in the epistolary format: narration is a hybrid of contemporaneous recounting of events (a diary) interspersed with an edited reflection after events are over (a memoir). Distinct from literary tradition, it's plausible SecUnit literally narrates / records events in media res, having processing power to fight a battle, for example, while simultaneously documenting and analysing those events as they occur. The Diaries, then, fit the epistolary tradition without leaning on genre tropes (a found manuscript, pretense of photographic memory as to dialogue, a third-party observer documenting minute happenings of intimate associates). ( )
  elenchus | Jun 16, 2024 |
Murderbot Diaries 7
This picks up right after the end of #5, [Network Effect] as Murderbot and ART are trying to identify the colonists and their options. Meanwhile Barish-Estranza representatives are trying to recover what they can from the colony.
This novel is a big exploration of Murderbot's feelings and capacity of working with others including new humans.
This felt huge to me in a good way. Murderbot is rattled and his self deprecation is sincere as opposed to arrogantly ironic. I love the internal processing going on while facing dwindling resources (need more drones!) and challenging circumstances. ( )
1 vote elorin | May 26, 2024 |
This is a continuation of the events in Network Effect. Murderbot, ART and their humans are still on the planet and making plans to evacuate the surviving colonists when the evil corporation shows up.

library book read 5/16/2024 ( )
  catseyegreen | May 16, 2024 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martha Wellsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foltzer, ChristineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Free, Kevin R.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, JaimeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dr. Bharadwaj told me once that she thought I hated planets because of the whole thing with being considered expendable and the possibility of being abandoned. I told her it was because planets were boring.
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Fiction. Mystery. Science Fiction. Am I making it worse? I think I'm making it worse. Everyone's favorite lethal SecUnit is back. Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there's an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can't have the planet, they're sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize. But there's something wrong with Murderbot; it isn't running within normal operational parameters. ART's crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza's SecUnit–heavy persuasion teams, they're going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what's wrong with itself, and fast.

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