Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells



“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.


I’ve been trying to get into more sci-fi this year, so choosing novellas is a logical choice to ease me into the genre. And choosing this particular one was also easy because I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and it’s also a Hugo winner. I don’t know what I was expecting going into it, but I didn’t expect to be delighted so much.


I won’t deny that the first half of this book was more fun, with the main character Murderbot being all sardonic and pessimistic, just wanting to be left alone to watch tv shows. It was so much fun watching it trying so hard to learn how to interact with humans. I mean, the whole dichotomy of a shy introverted tv obsessed Murderbot is hilarious and I’m totally here for it. The author does a wonderful job setting up the main character as well as the group of human scientists it has to interact with. I thought their conversations were equal parts awkward and endearing. The plot itself isn’t very significant here, because it’s mostly about the setup of the character and a bit of the world.


To conclude, I’m already half in love with Murderbot and can’t wait to read the next novella whenever I get it from the library. If you wanna try out the sci-fi genre and are looking for some fun easy to read books, this book is perfect for you. But I sincerely can’t say what hardcore sci-fi readers would feel about it. It’s definitely short, sweet and entertaining, so pick it up if that sounds interesting to you.

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