All Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

32758901On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


Almost every novella I’ve read has been wonderful (see Passing Strange and Every Heart a Doorway), and All Systems Red is no exception.

Before I started I was confused by reviews, which often boil down to, “SQUEEE I love Murderbot!”  Kind of a scary name for a lovable character, no?

All Systems RedAfter reading I get it – Murderbot is one of the most relatable narrators I’ve read in a while.  Part machine and part organic components and referred to with the pronoun “it”, Murderbot is like many of us.  Socially anxious, it would like nothing more than to be left alone with 35,000 hours of video programming, thank you. The people it’s protecting are being targeted by someone who would rather them dead, though, so there’s a job to do.

The story is short at 144 pages but it fits its length perfectly.  Wells manages some great characterization despite the page count, and the plot pulls you all the way through.  This would have been a one sitting read for me if I didn’t have to make dinner. 😛

All in all I’m glad I jumped on the Murderbot train – great for any fan of science fiction.

4 thoughts on “All Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

  1. Yes! Now in addition to squeeing about murderbot, I’m going to squee about someone else discovering how wonderful murderbot is. I love how surprisingly relatable murderbot is 🙂

    1. Murderbot is so squee-able! “Surprisingly relatable” is the perfect way to describe the character. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second novella.

    1. Hmmmmm. I guess it depends on what you don’t like in sf. While the main character is very relatable the setting is foreign and there is a bunch of worldbuilding going on. It’s a novella, though, so it’s not as crazy as a 600+ page sf odyssey. If there’s something you specifically avoid let me know and I can advise further. Ooo, or maybe hop on Amazon and have a look at the free sample -you’ll probably know if you like it by the time you finish the first chapter.

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