Cover image for Exit strategy / Martha Wells.
Exit strategy / Martha Wells.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 2018.
Physical Description:
172 pages ; 21 cm.
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."

Sequel to: Rogue protocol.
Murderbot wasn't programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right? Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah--its former owner (protector? friend?)--submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.


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WEL Book Adult Fantasy / Sci-Fi

On Order



"I love Murderbot!" --Ann LeckieThe fourth and final part of the Murderbot Diaries series that began with All Systems Red.Murderbot wasn't programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right? Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah--its former owner (protector? friend?)--submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit. But who's going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?And what will become of it when it's caught?

Reviews 2

New York Review of Books Review

IT'S THAT DEEPENING part of autumn where darkness spreads wetter and colder, paving a path for winter and illness, and eliciting a general reluctance to leave one's home. In other words, it's an especially excellent time to hole up with some fantastic books, so here's a roundup of recent robots, ghosts and a variety of monsters to take with one's tea. Martha Wells's EXIT STRATEGY (, $17.99) is the fourth and final part of her brilliant Murderbot Diaries, a series of far-future novellas set in a universe worn out by corporate indifference and bureaucratic inertia. A single grumpy security unit - Murderbot - fights for life, liberty, and the pursuit of hours and hours of soap operas. The first book, "All Systems Red," won both Nebula and Hugo Awards this year and is definitely the place to start. In "All Systems Red," Murderbot's hiding the fact that it's hacked its governor module and is a free agent, deflecting attention by serving the team of scientists that has engaged its services as if it were just another SecUnit - but when the team is attacked, Murderbot's autonomy is the only thing protecting its humans from hostile takeover by a corporation called GrayCris. In "Artificial Condition," Murderbot goes rogue, traveling across the galaxy in order to find out more about its past, in the company of a secretly sentient spaceship; in "Rogue Protocol," Murderbot meets Miki, another AI, one treated like family by its humans - something Murderbot has a hard time confronting and processing. All of this leads up to "Exit Strategy," where Murderbot has acquired enough proof of GrayCris's illegal activities to support a lawsuit against the company - one led by Dr. Mensah, Murderbot's former owner from "All Systems Red," and the first human to make Murderbot feel like a person. But GrayCris, aware of Murderbot's actions, if not exactly the motivation behind them, has kidnapped Dr. Mensah and is holding her hostage in the hope of settling out of court. It's up to Murderbot to stop running and rescue her - and in so doing confront the tumult of feelings about when they last parted, and how. I came late to these novellas, and during a difficult month this year I read almost nothing else. Murderbot's voice, a beautiful blend of exhausted cynicism and deep, helpless love, was the only thing that felt like both a match to my mood and an appropriate response to the events provoking it. Murderbot has no illusions about the way the world works and will say so blisteringly, but remains so passionately committed to the people it loves and doing what's right that I kept welling up in response. Its angry, poignant point of view, wrapped up in sharp, short bites of space adventure, is utterly addictive, and I'm genuinely delighted - as well as a little relieved - that the series' success has greenlit a full-length Murderbot novel, so that I don't yet have to bid it goodbye. Maria Romasco Moore's GHOSTOGRAPHS: An Album (Rose Metal Press, paper, $15.95) is an eerie, intimate sequence of flash fictions illuminating the author's carefully curated collection of vintage photographs. Each story takes up a single page opposite an image, and these linked snapshots offer glimpses into one child's life in a surreal small town where girls glow, people grow stalk-still in tall grass and babies are occasionally delivered by mail. A delicate thread of continuity connects these flashes of story, each complete and perfect in and of itself but accreting meaning like nacre on a pearl. Characters recur; the girl who glows becomes the girl whose light went out, while the woman who only appears in winter surprises everyone by staying through into spring. The narrator meditates on qualities of light and time throughout, and the impressions they make on us and each other: "You've got to be careful with light," the narrator's grandfather says, and then later, "Time is a kind of light," while in the last few pages the narrator reflects that "light dreamed us up. Light switched us on." Sometimes those musings put forward an argument ("Every story is a ghost story. Even the ones you tell about yourself"); sometimes they tap into deep, resonant experiences of childhood timelessness ("In the summer we never slept and no one could stop us"); frequently they overlap, entwining physics and optics and language into something moving and strange. Each vignette is effortlessly precise and endlessly evocative, a formula that's also a poem, and a story first and foremost. The photographs are, themselves, fascinating artifacts: some torn or cut, some in pieces, some overexposed or water- stained. They, too, have accreted layers over time, and one of the book's keen strengths comes from interacting with those layers instead of flattening them beneath label or frame. I forgot, reading it, that it's subtitled "An Album," but the significance of that returns by the end: The experience is very much that of sitting with a distant family member and turning fragile pages, telling tales as remote in time as they are rooted in memory. "Ghostographs" felt profoundly unsettling in its familiarity. I've never read anything like it. THE MONSTER BARU CORMORANT (Tor, $28.99), by Seth Dickinson, is the highly anticipated sequel to his brilliant 2015 debut, "The Traitor Baru Cormorant," a tense and mesmerizing geopolitical fantasy that asks whether it's possible to destroy an empire from within without it digesting you first. When Baru Cormorant was a child, her nation was colonized by the Republic of Falcrest (more commonly called the Masquerade), her three-parent family torn apart in accordance with its "incrastic" doctrines of sex and gender. Baru, at horrific cost, chose to attend its schools and rise up in the Masquerade's ranks in order to bring about the Masquerade's downfall from within. She cemented her position by leading and betraying a rebellion to bring the fractious nation of Aurdwynn more thoroughly under the Masquerade's control, culminating in the execution of her lover, the Duchess Tain Hu. "Monster" picks up where the first book leftoff, with a brain-injured Baru on the cusp of being exalted into the Masquerade's secret authority (called "cryptarchs") and taking the code name Agonist. "Monster" expands and deepens the world Baru inhabits. Where "Traitor" was closely focused on Baru, her own thoughts and machinations, "Monster" opens up new characters' points of view, new framing materials and flashbacks, adding multiple dimensions to the first book's initial game of chess. We are introduced to the Oriati Mbo, an ancient confederation the Masquerade finds impossible to consume; the history of Baru's mentor, Itinerant, and his rivalry with Hesychast, his equal and opposite cryptarch; Tau-indi, a third-gender Prince of the Oriati Mbo, and their obligation toward their estranged friend, the would-be revolutionary Abdumasi Abd. The machinations are often dizzying in their interlocking complexities, but always utterly absorbing - though readers may well want to refamiliarize themselves with the first book, or with the author's own primer on the subject, before diving in to this one. Undergirding the Oriati Mbo's resilience to the Masquerade is a philosophy revolving around "trim," a complex system governing the maintenance of relationships between people that contain and reflect the world. The Masquerade's weapons of currency and transaction are waves dashing against the rocks of Oriati investment in hospitality and balance, and the meat of "Monster" is an exploration of those differences through fascinating characters and their competing obsessions. It's a book that was difficult to keep in my head when I leftit, but utterly engrossing while I read - and, unlike "Traitor," it ends on a fascinating cliff-hanger. "Monster" is built of splintering oppositions, between the conflicted hemispheres of Baru's brain and the tactics of Itinerant and Hesychast, and between the core values of the Masquerade and the Oriati Mbo. This book, too, was split; initially intended to be the conclusion of a duology, it's now grown into a series with at least two more installments due. But given how richly these novels repay rereading, I can hardly fault Dickinson for that. AMAL EL-MOHTAR, the Book Review's science fiction and fantasy columnist, won the Nebula, Locus and Hugo awards for her short story "Seasons of Glass and Iron."

Library Journal Review

Having gathered a lot of pertinent information to take down GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot returns to its place of origin to help Dr. Mensch, who started this quest. However, with a special security team on its tail, Murderbot soon discovers that GrayCris is well on its way to covering its tracks. Mensch has been accused of corporate espionage and is being held at another station. Realizing Mensch's situation is a result of its own actions, Murderbot must help its former owner/friend escape, along with the rest of the Preservation team, even if it means this SecUnit will finally get caught. Coming full circle from the beginning of its journey to awareness, Murderbot once again works to save the fragile humans and discovers that trying to avoid humanity is one sure way to get caught in the midst of it. VERDICT The last of Hugo Award winner Wells's "Murderbot Diaries" (after Rogue Protocol) brings the concept of an AI's dealing with humanity-for better and worse-to a sarcastic, sharp, thrilling conclusion.-Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.