Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

Welcome to Short Fiction Friday! Every Friday, Black Forest Basilisks will be shining a spotlight on a new short story, novelette, or flash fic in addition to our regular posts. These stories will usually be available for free online, but occasionally stories from published anthologies will also be featured. 

This story is available online for free at: tor.com – Click through to read!

Please note that this story contains spoilers for the previous books in the Murderbot Diaries. Read my review of All Systems RedArtificial Condition, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy.

“Is this really a good idea?”

This story was originally only available as a preorder exclusive for Network Effect, and I’m so glad Tor.com has finally made it available online to read for free. Set shortly after the events of Exit Strategy, “Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory” is told from the point of view of Dr. Ayda Mensah.

We’ve been in Murderbot’s head for four novellas and have fallen in love with its snark, anxiety, and aversion to feelings. But as Murderbot is not human, there’s often a lot of expressed confusion about human behaviour and emotions. Murderbot accidentally made some friends/allies/business associates during the trauma of everything that went down with GrayCris. But this is the first time we get a sense of what one of the humans who care about Murderbot feels about what happened with GrayCris.

I really like how Wells doesn’t shy away from the trauma that Dr. Mensah has experienced after almost being killed, the kidnapped, and almost killed again. “Home” is a rather short story, but provides a clear view of Dr. Mensah’s voice and throws out some details about the difficulties she and Murderbot will face in the future as Preservation Planetary Council has some reservations letting a SecUnit roam around the station and planet.

This short story is a great bridge between Exit Strategy and Fugitive Telemetry. Although Murderbot is the star of this series, I would happily read anything Wells writes in this universe from the perspective of Dr. Mensah or other characters.

Past featured short stories can be viewed here.

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About the Author

Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-in fiction for Star WarsStargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, two Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in twenty languages.

You can find her at marthawells.com or on Twitter at @marthawells1.

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