All Systems Red

(The Murderbot Diaries #1)

156 pages

Published May 2, 2017 by Tor.com.

ISBN:
9780765397522

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (28 reviews)

"As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure."

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On 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.

1 edition

Go Murderbot

4 stars

From the plot alone, this novella would be a bit of perhaps cliche science fiction. What makes it both unique and compelling is that the story being told from the perspective of the "Murderbot" (hence The Murderbot Diaries), a cyborg generally treated by society as a piece of equipment.

Martha Wells's writing does a good job of showing Murderbot's personality, its particular anxieties, its relationships towards humans, and general attitudes towards life. Even if the plot is cliche, Murderbot as a character is the opposite.

A great intro to Murderbot.

4 stars

A fun story about an AI construct who calls itself 'Murderbot' that has secretly hacked its governor module, so it doesn't follow any orders (in other words, it's a free agent). It's also a 'SecUnit' (security unit) leased out by the Company to provide security to a small group of scientists doing a field survey on an unfamiliar planet. While not performing its duties, Murderbot likes nothing better than to immerse itself in entertainment streams, mainly the future equivalent of current day 'soap operas' and to avoid interacting with its human clients as much as possible.

But things change dramatically when some members of the group get attacked by native wildlife. That wasn't in the planetary briefing. A closer look reveals missing information due to probable hacking. Then, a rival planetary survey on another part of the planet goes dark and things start to escalate rather violently.

In all this, …

Review of 'All Systems Red' on 'GoodReads'

3 stars

I don't read too many novellas because the format is really hard to do well. This book isn't an exception. It's good, sure; but I really want a novel length version of exactly the same story.



The characters are thrust into a situation that is mostly out of their control, and for most of the time they have no idea of the motivations behind the actors causing all the problems they are facing. We only get two sentences ourselves to explain the entire story - it's just not that satisfying in this format.



Perhaps the rest of the series will be able to explore parts of Murder-bots character in more depth. This novella is at least interesting enough to warrant reading the rest, so hopefully I can come back to this review and alter it once I've finished the other parts.

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