All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)
By: Martha Wells
Format/Source: eBook; from Tor.com book club
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.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this novella for the last few months even as I was pretty busy with schoolwork and whatnot. Tor.com’s book club thankfully featured this book for the month of April so I got a copy of the book that way 🙂 The length was perfect to start off with post-school so here we are 🙂
Now I understand why everyone really enjoyed this story. It’s a mystery and a caper where something weird and sinister happens to a neighbouring unit and the Murderbot and its team have to figure out what’s going on. I suppose you can say it starts off running from the get go, and maybe it’s because I started reading this novella at work but it didn’t quite grab my whole attention until they found out what happened to the neighbouring unit and start investigating. I guess it’s because you start learing about the characters and how the team operates.
And then of course there’s Murderbot itself. It’s self-awareness was interesting, as was its interests in entertainment feeds and bearing its own brand of sassiness with the people it is interacting with. It also has a tortured past–it does refer to itself as Murderbot–with regards to its previous contract, so there’s that added depth to its character. I reckon we’ll be learning more about it in future installments.
Overall it was a pretty good read, I grew to care about the characters (illiciting an “Awww” 🙁 at the end of the book) and the pacing was pretty good. I look forward to reading more installments of the Murderbot diaries.