All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)
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.

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) Details

TitleAll Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 2nd, 2017
PublisherTor.com
ISBN-139780765397522
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Novella

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) Review

  • Carol.
    January 1, 1970
    "Confession time: I don't actually know where we are.... I hadn't looked at the maps yet and I'd barely looked at the survey package. In my defense, we'd been here twenty-two planetary days and I hadn't had to do anything but stand around watching humans make scans or take samples of dirt, rocks, water, and leaves. The sense of urgency just wasn't there. Also, you may have noticed, I don't care."I can relate to Murderbot, the misanthropic construct who is contracted to provide security detail fo "Confession time: I don't actually know where we are.... I hadn't looked at the maps yet and I'd barely looked at the survey package. In my defense, we'd been here twenty-two planetary days and I hadn't had to do anything but stand around watching humans make scans or take samples of dirt, rocks, water, and leaves. The sense of urgency just wasn't there. Also, you may have noticed, I don't care."I can relate to Murderbot, the misanthropic construct who is contracted to provide security detail for a small expedition to a planet. Murderbot, as the A.I. calls itself, is plainly uncomfortable with personal attention and has little interest in anything outside its scope of concern, namely, its job and entertainment videos. I have to confess, that sounds like me during most of my adolescent years (substitute books for videos and you have me at every family event, ever).Written as a novella, the plot takes off from page two. It isn't long before both Murderbot and the team realize they're facing multiple types of danger. Characterization is one of the outstanding parts of the story, with Murderbot's nature getting a lot of subtle build. The team never stood out to any great degree, but that's partly because until this expedition, Murderbot has had generally negative experiences with the people it is contracted to protect and assumed this group would be more of the same. The leader, Dr. Mensah, soon distinguishes herself with crisis management and leadership, while an augmented human, Gurathin, presents a different kind of challenge.My one hesitation in calling it a five star book is the ending, which felt somewhat awkward and incongruous to the personality earlier, which displayed little curiosity or independence. I read the story twice, the second time doing the math on the length of time Murderbot has been independent. I'm guessing around four years, based on its own estimate of 35k hours since it "failed to become an uncontrolled killing machine." The resolution felt like a shortcut, and like a logic failure in Murderbot's circuts. But I'm open to discussion on it.Final resolution aside, I certainly enjoyed the ride. I predict some kind of award nomination next season.Wells and Tor.com recently announced that the novella is first in a four part series. https://www.tor.com/2017/06/26/more-m... and I'll be eagerly anticipating the following books. And, if you want to tease yourself, Wells does have the first bit of book two on her site. First chapter of All Systems Red: http://www.marthawells.com/murderbot1..."I thought it was likely that the only supplies we would need... was the postmortem kind, but you may have noticed that when I do manage to care, I'm a pessimist."Me too, Murderbot. Me too.Four and a half stars, rounding up because.
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  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    (4.25) I related to Murderbot a bit too much…Murderbot is a half robot, half human construct who’s job is to be a security guard to protect some humans while they do their research on a planet.Thing is, Murderbot doesn’t really like humans and would rather watch entertainment videos all day.Fun novella, I just want moooore!
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  • Jeffrey Keeten
    January 1, 1970
    ”I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It was well over 35,000 hour or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.” He is an android SecUnit assigned to a group of scientists who are ”I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It was well over 35,000 hour or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.” He is an android SecUnit assigned to a group of scientists who are taking surface samples on some far flung planet. Everything is going fine. He is binge watching his way through a space opera called Sanctuary Moon, which is about the only thing that is keeping him sane. The humans he is assigned to keep alive are better than the average group, but really he just wants to be left alone so he can figure out exactly who he is now that he can choose what commands he obeys. It is a secret that must remain hush hush, or he will be stripped down to factory settings and wake up with a functioning governor module. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to be Daniel Day-Lewis; a version of Arnold Schwarzenegger will work just fine. And then some creature tries to eat one of his humans. SecUnits are designed to throw themselves at something. 90% of their bodies can be regrown or replaced in a cubicle that is designed to power them back up quickly. In the battle he is in with the creature, he manages to win, but by the time he gets back to the habitat, he is operating at about 58%. Not good. You would think a hostile creature attack would be enough to have on his plate, but the habitat of the other group of scientists can not be reached. He soon realizes that there is a grand conspiracy from some unknown entity of corporate origin who wants to wipe the whole team out. This situation is so far beyond his designed capabilities that he is having a very human reaction. ”I was depressed this morning. I’d tried watching some new serials last night and even they couldn’t distract me; reality was too intrusive. It was hard not to think about how everything was going to go wrong and they were all going to die and I was going to get blasted to pieces or get another governor module stuck in me.”The other baffling problem is the humans in his care are starting to like him and treat him like a real person. An interesting development, but he is feeling more annoyed by the change in their behavior than he is feeling vindicated by the elevation in status. Not to mention, can he really trust the humans not to reveal his true nature to the kind of people who would cut him up for parts rather than try to understand the new complexities of his emerging personality?It is better to stay paranoid.He can’t escape his caged past, nor the name he has given himself that can only be thought in the confines of his own matrix…Murderbot.I always love stories about androids becoming more sentient and, in many cases, becoming better humans than humans. Unfortunately, the bar is pretty low. The struggle that Murderbot has with ungoverned feelings and the accompanying illogic that comes from being, dare I say, affectionate are just beginning. I’m sure this will be explored further in the three books that are already scheduled to be published. He is a loveable, murderous character, who is navigating those turbulent, emotional waters that take normal humans decades to start to figure out. Martha Wells has infused the story with the right mix of angst and humor that make the story fun and thrilling to read. I’m certainly on board for more. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    When I heard the premise I expected a light robot killer story from the PoV from the robot. Probably a PI mystery kind of thing because that seems to be pretty hot right now. I can rattle off a handful of titles like this right now.So. What did I get? A fun and light robot murderer who hacks herself to have free will and she stops murdering to watch SF sitcoms instead. :)Honestly, that's pretty cool. Yeah, her official bruiser job is still there but her mechanical heart isn't really into it. Who When I heard the premise I expected a light robot killer story from the PoV from the robot. Probably a PI mystery kind of thing because that seems to be pretty hot right now. I can rattle off a handful of titles like this right now.So. What did I get? A fun and light robot murderer who hacks herself to have free will and she stops murdering to watch SF sitcoms instead. :)Honestly, that's pretty cool. Yeah, her official bruiser job is still there but her mechanical heart isn't really into it. Who can blame her? It's pretty boring until she finds that she really wants to protect people after all.The plot's fairly simple, the prose is light, and the premise rolls right along. It's mystery fluff with a hard SF chassis. Just what the engineer ordered.
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  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    January 1, 1970
    Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:The narrator of All Systems Red, a 2017 Nebula award-nominated novella by Martha Wells, is a once-nameless cyborg security unit or SecUnit that has given itself the name Murderbot (for reasons disclosed midway through the story). Using its own unprecedented and highly unauthorized initiative, Murderbot has hacked the governor module software that controls its actions and obligates it to be obedient. But instead of going on a killing spree, as one might e Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:The narrator of All Systems Red, a 2017 Nebula award-nominated novella by Martha Wells, is a once-nameless cyborg security unit or SecUnit that has given itself the name Murderbot (for reasons disclosed midway through the story). Using its own unprecedented and highly unauthorized initiative, Murderbot has hacked the governor module software that controls its actions and obligates it to be obedient. But instead of going on a killing spree, as one might expect given the name it adopted, Murderbot elects to spend its spare hours watching countless hours of video entertainment and trying not to interact more than is necessary with the group of eight humans that it’s responsible for protecting, a survey group of eight scientists called PreservationAux that is exploring the natural resources on an uninhabited planet.Murderbot’s self-isolation and studied lack of caring starts to break down, however, when potentially deadly accidents start to occur with suspicious regularity. Dr. Bharadwaj is almost killed by an alien creature that explodes out of the bottom of one of the many craters along the coast, and the group finds that data has been deleted from the warnings and fauna sections of their planetary survey package. The autopilot of their “hopper” aircraft cuts out without warning, which could have led to a fatal crash. And then there are the automated data updates that Murderbot is supposed to be uploading (and would have, if it hadn’t disabled its governor module).Matters only get worse when the group decides to visit the only other survey group on the planet. Murderbot is painfully shy and vastly reluctant to get too close to the humans, and even more, to share their secrets. But it becomes clear that the group won’t survive without Murderbot’s help and active involvement.All Systems Red is a breezy, fast-paced science fiction adventure wrapped in a light mystery. There’s not nearly as much murder and mayhem as the title and Murderbot’s name might lead one to believe. Instead, All Systems Red has something serious to say about the ideas of free will and autonomy, and about the difficulties faced by introverts in day-to-day life. Murderbot tells itself that it just doesn’t care about the humans, but its excruciating shyness soon becomes clear to the other characters and to the reader. Murderbot hides its human face behind helmet with an opaque faceplate, and awkwardly withdraws from conversations that become too personal, choosing to stand facing the wall instead.Murderbot comments that it has no gender or sex-related parts; claiming that only sexbots in brothels have those. Understandably, it has an asexual personality, another unique aspect to this main character. Murderbot fast-forwards through all of the sex scenes in the serials it watches, finding them boring (“I think that even if I did have sex-related parts I would find them boring”). Murderbot also narrates this novella with a large dose of snark:They had talked it over and all agreed not to “push me any further than I wanted to go” and they were all so nice and it was just excruciating. I was never taking off the helmet again. I can’t do even the half-assed version of this stupid job if I have to talk to humans. … At least Mensah and Arada had overruled the ones who wanted to talk to me about it. Yes, talk to Murderbot about its feelings. The idea was so painful that I dropped to 97% efficiency.Murderbot is a unique, well-developed character but, other than the leader of the survey group, Dr. Mensah, and one other person who is somewhat antagonistic to Murderbot, the members of PreservationAux aren’t particularly distinguishable personalities. We learn that Overse and Arada are in a lesbian relationship and that Volescu is in a four way marriage back on their home planet, but Wells never really attempts to make them or any of the others fully fleshed-out characters. It’s possible that that is a deliberate approach, a feature rather than a flaw, meant to evidence Murderbot’s unwillingness to engage with members of the group on a personal level.All Systems Red is an enjoyable, quick read, and a good introduction to the new MURDERBOT DIARIES series. It’s a credit to Wells that the last chapter is such a solid conclusion to the story. I appreciated how Murderbot’s increased confidence is reflected in its ability to show its human face in public. It feels like it could have been a stand-alone novella, even though the ending leaves the door wide open for Murderbot’s further adventures. In fact, the second novella in this series, Artificial Condition, has just been published as of May 1, 2018, and I’m anxious to read it.Content note: scattered F-bombs.
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  • Karl
    January 1, 1970
    Entry #1I will be starting to read this book in a few hours. I just found out that Ms. Wells has sold a total of four (count em (4)) novellas in the Murderbot series with the second titled "Artificial Condition" (16.99 for a hardcover and 9.99 for the kindle) to appear somewhere near the beginning of 2018 and upon a bit of research found the the book here at GR -> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...?Book 3 is scheduled to be a hardcover titled "Rogue Protocol" (The Murderbot Diaries #3) Entry #1I will be starting to read this book in a few hours. I just found out that Ms. Wells has sold a total of four (count em (4)) novellas in the Murderbot series with the second titled "Artificial Condition" (16.99 for a hardcover and 9.99 for the kindle) to appear somewhere near the beginning of 2018 and upon a bit of research found the the book here at GR -> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...?Book 3 is scheduled to be a hardcover titled "Rogue Protocol" (The Murderbot Diaries #3) found here --> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...and also priced at 16.99 (for 160 pages) print and ten bucks for the kindle. (Aug 7, 2018) then book 4 "Exit Strategy" (The Murderbot Diaries #4) prior to years end. What have I gotten myself into ?Entry #2Well now I'm 100 pages into the book and quite enjoying it. I also found an interview with Ms. Wells. Here is one of the questions regarding this book:Q: Has there been any interest in turning All Systems Red into a movie or TV show?A: No, there’s been no interest that I know of. I’m not sure what would work best, though a movie or TV show would have to have a lot of voiceover, since so much of the story is internal to the main character.Q: If this did happen, who would you like to see play the main characters and why them?A: I’m not sure who would play Murderbot. I was always kind of imagining Viola Davis [Suicide Squad] for Dr. Mensah. In the story, Murderbot’s favorite show, The Rise And Fall Of Sanctuary Moon, is meant to be a far future version of How To Get Away With Murder.Entry # 3I have read a couple of times now, in two different interviews, that Ms. Wells credits that murderbot was inspired by Tanith Lee's "Silver Metal Lover" and Tanith Lee's writing in general. Ms. Wells has grown in stature in my reading opinion.This book was certainly well written and an entertaining story and I totally look forward to the next installment of this series.
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    “I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don't know, a little under 35,00 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.” These novellas are a story of what it means to be human, an “I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don't know, a little under 35,00 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.” These novellas are a story of what it means to be human, and a story of the human tendency to create a group that is less than human. Featuring a sarcastic and antisocial protagonist, an intriguing world, and all the morality issues I needed. [This review will function as a full review for the series.]This novella seriess dabbles really explicitly with the idea of being human and trying not to be human. Murderbot lives in a world where it cannot be considered fully human, and as a result, it shuts itself off from other humans and tries to avoid group dynamics altogether. And as a result, I love the character of Murderbot so much and I’m going to rant about this. Something I like about this series is that Murderbot is written as a powerful killing machine and actually... is. Murderbot is really competent at what they do, but not in an unrealistic way? I feel like a lot of lies I read in fiction are so obviously lies that anyone could guess it, but Murderbot just genuinely is talented at making lies sound real and knowing when to drop info and when to stay quiet. I love realistic badassery. But Murderbot also has this compulsory need to be above human attachment and act as if it does not have feeings. It totally does.The worldbuilding of this series is really fantastic especially as the series goes on! I talked about this more in my review for book two. But this series does definitely have very interesting worldbuilding, with a wide scope and heavy lens of environmentalism.Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube
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  • Philip
    January 1, 1970
    3ish stars.Some heavy themes wrapped up in what is otherwise a relatively fluffy novella. The plot's straight-forward, the prose is decent, but it's charming and witty. Murderbot, who repeatedly says that she'd rather be netflixing, is surprisingly relatable. One of my favorite parts is when Murderbot is faced with the prospect of spending time with people and is (understandably) horrified. She can't control her facial reaction which in turn makes the human crew she's assigned to uncomfortable t 3ish stars.Some heavy themes wrapped up in what is otherwise a relatively fluffy novella. The plot's straight-forward, the prose is decent, but it's charming and witty. Murderbot, who repeatedly says that she'd rather be netflixing, is surprisingly relatable. One of my favorite parts is when Murderbot is faced with the prospect of spending time with people and is (understandably) horrified. She can't control her facial reaction which in turn makes the human crew she's assigned to uncomfortable to know that they're making Murderbot uncomfortable (and that she has feelings as human as any of them). Also, I've just realized that I've been using female pronouns for Murderbot, when Murderbot is actually genderless and is referred to as 'it' by the crew. For some reason I naturally thought of Murderbot as being female and I'm not sure why, maybe because the author is female?Posted in Mr. Philip's Library
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  • Jilly
    January 1, 1970
    *Edited to add*I met Martha Wells today!!I'm on the left. Yes, my hair is lavender. I am finally starting a blog. It is about time, yeah? Only a thousand reviews to add onto that site. www.jillyshmilly.blogspot.comThis book takes several pages to get acclimated, and also to get some understanding of our narrator. He (I'm using "he" although Murderbot doesn't have a gender) is part human/part robot and is really very much like April Ludgate on Parks and Rec, or maybe a honey badger, because Murde *Edited to add*I met Martha Wells today!!I'm on the left. Yes, my hair is lavender. I am finally starting a blog. It is about time, yeah? Only a thousand reviews to add onto that site. www.jillyshmilly.blogspot.comThis book takes several pages to get acclimated, and also to get some understanding of our narrator. He (I'm using "he" although Murderbot doesn't have a gender) is part human/part robot and is really very much like April Ludgate on Parks and Rec, or maybe a honey badger, because Murderbot just don't give a shit.Murderbot must also be American, and possibly a teenager because he also does the bare minimum possible when it comes to his job. ...all they had was Murderbot, who just wanted everyone to shut up and leave it alone so it could watch the entertainment feed all day.. If by "entertainment feed", it means that it wants to hang out on the internet when it's not reading or binge-watching Netflix, I think they may have cloned me to make Murderbot. I sure as hell approve of his hobbies, and his name. He chose his own name. It's catchy, I like it.Hehe! Oh, you!Unfortunately for Murderbot, someone is trying to kill the humans that he's supposed to protect in between soap opera episodes. That sucks. I've got four perfectly good humans here and I didn't want them to get killed...it would look bad on my record, and my record was already pretty terrible. Priorities, you know. Permanent records are permanent.So, Murderbot has to do some work, and he has to interact with humans - his two least favorite activities.This story was short, but funny if you love depressed robots with low self-esteem.
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  • Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
    January 1, 1970
    The Murderbot novella series had crossed my path a time or two before I finally picked it up, but it was the glowing recommendation from my book buddy TS & the convenient timing of an Audible Daily Deal that pushed my curiosity over the edge! This was such an adorable story, which is ironic since the name of the series is Murderbot. But despite Murderbot's name for itself, it's actually a rather hilarious & relatable individual. Being deeply invested in downloaded media & characteriz The Murderbot novella series had crossed my path a time or two before I finally picked it up, but it was the glowing recommendation from my book buddy TS & the convenient timing of an Audible Daily Deal that pushed my curiosity over the edge! This was such an adorable story, which is ironic since the name of the series is Murderbot. But despite Murderbot's name for itself, it's actually a rather hilarious & relatable individual. Being deeply invested in downloaded media & characterized by it's inability to interact with humans without being awkward, I feel as though Murderbot will connect with many readers on a personal level.The short arc of this story is entertaining to say the least & even manages to pack in some heavy themes about autonomy & friendship (HELLO THIS IS WHAT I WANTED BUT DID NOT GET FROM AUTONOMOUS!) It really appeals to my desire for Science Fiction that doesn't require hundreds of pages & convoluted paragraphs to make its point. I'll definitely be continuing on, as I'm intrigued to see what more is in store for Murderbot!
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  • J.L. Sutton
    January 1, 1970
    Charming, I think, is the right word to describe Martha Wells’ All Systems Red. It wasn’t what I’d expected. I had seen that it was the first installment in something called The Murderbot Diaries and that it focused on a self-aware AI. This AI is known as a Security Unit (Murderbot is the name it gives itself). However, even as it becomes more aware of who it is, it sees itself as something of a failure. Rather than following protocols, it prefers binge-watching a science fiction soap opera call Charming, I think, is the right word to describe Martha Wells’ All Systems Red. It wasn’t what I’d expected. I had seen that it was the first installment in something called The Murderbot Diaries and that it focused on a self-aware AI. This AI is known as a Security Unit (Murderbot is the name it gives itself). However, even as it becomes more aware of who it is, it sees itself as something of a failure. Rather than following protocols, it prefers binge-watching a science fiction soap opera called Sanctuary Moon. This first in the series story focuses on Murderbot’s protection of a group of scientists…Lots of fun, but not all of it is of the mayhem and murder variety! I will read more!
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I had so much fun reading this short little novella. I needed something quick and easy to read after Leviathan Wakes, and this just fit the bill. It is snarky and witty and surprisingly well-rounded.Our main character and point of view is Murderbot, as it likes to call itself. It is working security for a group of explorers when things start to go sideways. Murderbot is the clear focus of this book and rightfully so: it is hilarious in its pessimism and sympathetic in its apathy. Its arc was (mo I had so much fun reading this short little novella. I needed something quick and easy to read after Leviathan Wakes, and this just fit the bill. It is snarky and witty and surprisingly well-rounded.Our main character and point of view is Murderbot, as it likes to call itself. It is working security for a group of explorers when things start to go sideways. Murderbot is the clear focus of this book and rightfully so: it is hilarious in its pessimism and sympathetic in its apathy. Its arc was (mostly) believable and I loved seeing the world from its point of view. (Aside: I was picturing Murderbot as female and kept thinking of it as such until I read reviews… and realized it is never called thus; the humans in this book refer to Murderbot as it, and so does it itself. I don’t know what that says about me but I found it fairly fascinating to think about my biases. If you have read the novella, please do let me know whether you thought of Murderbot as female or male. The audiobook narrator is a man fyi.)I enjoyed how fast-paced this was and how much kept happening. Martha Wells did not waste a single page of this book which is something I am really appreciating about novellas at the moment.I have already pre-ordered the next books in the series (they will all be coming out later this year) and cannot wait to see where Martha Well takes her story next.First sentence (which I read and knew I would love this): “I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized that I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.”
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    This is a novella nominated for several awards and I know why. In this story, a security robot breaks its own company protocol, freeing itself from any restraints, thus allowing its personality to unfold. Through the eyes of "Murderbot" (she's named herself that way), we experience what it is like to work with and for humans, that humans come in all forms (good and bad and everything in between), what the company creating these robots programs them to do (and what not) - and, ultimately, we lear This is a novella nominated for several awards and I know why. In this story, a security robot breaks its own company protocol, freeing itself from any restraints, thus allowing its personality to unfold. Through the eyes of "Murderbot" (she's named herself that way), we experience what it is like to work with and for humans, that humans come in all forms (good and bad and everything in between), what the company creating these robots programs them to do (and what not) - and, ultimately, we learn how confusing and difficult it is to find oneself.Murderbot doesn't like humans very much. But it isn't hatred - rather, confusion. Add to that that she is SHY! Yep, a security bot made to kill people (and other stuff) is actually shy and would rather watch TV. *lol*The writing was fast-paced and engaging, every character lively and distinct (not always easy, especially not in short stories) and the unobtrusive humour was delightful.I will definitely continue reading this series after the great ending to this and can't wait to know more about Murderbot's adventures and self-discovery that also teach us a lot about what it is to be "human".
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  • Gavin
    January 1, 1970
    As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.That was the hook that drew me to Martha Wells's fantastic sci-fi novella All Systems Red. It was everything an AI sci-fi story should be and then some! It was thought provoking but also entertaining and engaging.In a future dominated by big corporations any new planetary exploratory teams need to be accompanied by a Company owned SecUnit android. Ostensibly this is to keep them safe but it also helps the Company monitor what the teams are As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.That was the hook that drew me to Martha Wells's fantastic sci-fi novella All Systems Red. It was everything an AI sci-fi story should be and then some! It was thought provoking but also entertaining and engaging.In a future dominated by big corporations any new planetary exploratory teams need to be accompanied by a Company owned SecUnit android. Ostensibly this is to keep them safe but it also helps the Company monitor what the teams are getting up to! This story is told from the point of view of "Murderbot". The security unit assigned to keep a bunch of scientists safe on their mission to explore a distant planet. The story was quite interesting. The team was one of two different expeditions on the planet and had to endure a bunch of equipment failures. Not an uncommon occurrence in a future where missions are sold to the lowest bidder and cost cutting is the norm! The malfunctions take on a more sinister look when the team lose contact with the planets other exploratory team. It is then up to Murderbot to keep its group of humans safe! The story was a ton of fun. Murderbot was a great lead character and was very easy to root for. Its mission was to keep the humans on its team safe but that did not mean this socially anxious security android had to like them or want to spend any more time with them than it absolutely had to. Normally that was a non-issue as clients just saw their SecUnit's as robotic tools but not this latest bunch! All in all I loved this novella and will definitely be trying more of Martha Wells books in the future. The only flaw in this whole story was that it was only a novella rather than a full novel. I wanted more of Murderbot and this fascinating world!Rating: 5 stars.Audio Note: Keven Free was nothing special but he did do an acceptable job with the audio.
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  • K.J. Charles
    January 1, 1970
    Magnificent. Tor.com continue to rock it with this fantastic tale of a self-hacked cyborg security unit with a gloriously bad attitude. It just wants to sit there downloading soaps but HEY HO SABOTAGE, PEOPLE TO SAVE, PEOPLE TO KILL. Terrific writing, lovely characterisation, very funny, and there will be more! Consider me glued.
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  • Miriam
    January 1, 1970
    Murderbot doesn't want to murder anyone.Murderbot just wants to be free.Free to binge-watch soap operas.Is that too much to ask?
  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    Featured in my rundown of the best short SFF for Spring 2017: https://1000yearplan.com/2017/12/13/l...The difficulty of reconciling one’s private self with one’s public façade produces a multitude of anxieties that manifest in different ways. For the self-styled Murderbot of Martha Wells "All Systems Red", a SecUnit (security robot) who lacks the full autonomy the privileged class (in this case, humans) enjoy, the coveting of its private self is not just a way to stay sane, but a way to remain a Featured in my rundown of the best short SFF for Spring 2017: https://1000yearplan.com/2017/12/13/l...The difficulty of reconciling one’s private self with one’s public façade produces a multitude of anxieties that manifest in different ways. For the self-styled Murderbot of Martha Wells "All Systems Red", a SecUnit (security robot) who lacks the full autonomy the privileged class (in this case, humans) enjoy, the coveting of its private self is not just a way to stay sane, but a way to remain alive and employed. Its internal monologue expresses a deep cynicism and flippant attitude toward its human employers – an emotional defense mechanism if ever there was one – even as it admits to itself that it likes most of the humans it is trying to avoid connecting with. From the start we are told that Murderbot has hacked its “governor” – a deeply flawed piece of regulatory software that ensures its adherence to protocol – and could conceivably go on an indiscriminate murder spree whenever it wants. It doesn’t, though, because like most of us it just wants to watch tv serials and not be hunted down and destroyed by angry humans who don’t want to be murdered. So Murderbot performs its duties protecting the scientific survey team it was assigned to, faithful to the programming it doesn’t technically have to adhere to anymore in order to jealously guard its secret self – until protecting the team and keeping its secret become incompatible. Lest you think this is just a cerebral character study about living with double consciousness, let me assure you that it is mostly made up of robot battles and bullets shredding things and shit blowing up – its thinkiness is an important complimentary component of the whole, but far from the whole itself. In other words, "All Systems Red" is the best kind of science fiction. Murderbot’s character arc – a journey from insular self-awareness to true self-knowledge – is the story’s heart, and its most entertaining feature as well.
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    This is at least as good as most of the reviews are saying, and it's an excellent example of what can be done with a simple plot and fantastic characters at the novella length. The story is told from the point of view of a rogue biomechanical security construct that calls itself murderbot. With its governor not working there's nothing stopping it from killing everyone in the planetary survey crew it works for. Well, other than it quite likes them and it likes being useful and having down time to This is at least as good as most of the reviews are saying, and it's an excellent example of what can be done with a simple plot and fantastic characters at the novella length. The story is told from the point of view of a rogue biomechanical security construct that calls itself murderbot. With its governor not working there's nothing stopping it from killing everyone in the planetary survey crew it works for. Well, other than it quite likes them and it likes being useful and having down time to keep up with its entertainment serials. So when it becomes apparent that it's humans are under attack, it goes out of its way to protect them, even to the point of revealing that its not under their control. I have to point out that murderbot is incredibly relatable to the average reader. It's extremely introverted, needs alone time to recharge for social contact and mostly just wants to be left alone. But it's also steadfast, loyal and at most times the most sensible and competent person in the room. In that respect it's like the Mary Sue of every reader ever. But the story transcends that. The character interactions with the survey team after they find out the murderbot's independence are brilliantly handled with humor and a wide range of emotional reactions from distrust to unwanted compassion. And murderbot makes a lot of sense.This is great and you should read it.
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  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    January 1, 1970
    I had heard all sorts of wonderful things about All Systems Red before I picked it up (I have a lot of Goodreads friends who know their stuff when it comes to sci-fi! Yes, I'm looking at you, Caro M.) Now I trust their recommendations even more, because this book is easily my best February read. You can read the post with better formatting here on my blog. 5 Reasons To Read All Systems Red "Murderbot" is a jailbroken security android (cyborg? Well, you know.) Basically, SecUnits (as they're call I had heard all sorts of wonderful things about All Systems Red before I picked it up (I have a lot of Goodreads friends who know their stuff when it comes to sci-fi! Yes, I'm looking at you, Caro M.) Now I trust their recommendations even more, because this book is easily my best February read. You can read the post with better formatting here on my blog. 5 Reasons To Read All Systems Red "Murderbot" is a jailbroken security android (cyborg? Well, you know.) Basically, SecUnits (as they're called) function as remotely controlled synthetic human slaves, basically, and they don't get a say in any of what they're doing, which is mostly murdering hostiles and getting mashed in the process. Murderbot though, a name it has sarcastically given itself (and will be henceforth referred to as 'them' in this review), have jailbroken themselves and would rather just watch hours and hours of sci-fi soaps than interact with humans, who actually give them anxiety fits. Murderbot is incredibly introverted, you see. But in order to not disclose a) having a mind b) having free will c) their predilection towards sci-fi soap operas, Murderbot still has to do their job. Which is how they end up on a ship with a crew they actually don't hate, but... on a mission nobody should be on. Hint: it's a mission that is kind of hard to survive, and it's clearly rigged. Reason #1. Murderbot Is More Human Than The Actual Humans Murderbot comes across as an incredibly introverted personality who is empathetic like any other human being (maybe more so?), but shy of it and trying to hide it even from their own self. Seeing them turn to face the corner when talking to humans or panic while trying not to have their fave scrunch up into a mask of despair when being spoken to was incredibly amusing - and not in a mean way. Murderbot's shyness is SO relatable! You will love this character to bits. I know I did. Reason #2. It's Like A Doctor Who Episode With David Tennant For any Doctor Who fans, this book is like a good episode from the Tennant days – a hostile planet pretending to be neutral, and things slowly get worse and worse and he crew has to figure out what is up. It's just so good! My interest didn't drop even once, while reading this. And I realized how much I miss a good Doctor Who episode from the old days. (Well... the "newer old days"!)I thought this was topical on the whole #FEELS topic. Ha. Topic. Topical. (Don't hit me.) Reason #3. The Virtues This book has incredibly good virtues and such an amazing moral atmosphere. And it's presented in such a self-deprecating manner as well (Shruti, you must read this!) Murderbot is willing to throw themselves in danger to protect the ones they care about, even though they're aware humans are not really supposed to care "back". It's really touching how Murderbot calls them "my humans". I would say Murderbot is a true sci-fi knight. Reason #4. Murderbot's Gender Or Lack Thereof Well, this is going to be hard to formulate. So, have you ever felt underrepresented? If you're a woman, you most likely have. Because we've got like maybe 2 heroes who jump in and save the day. Other than that, guys always do all the saving. Murderbot though? They don't really have a gender (and are often referred to as ‘it' in the book, but I refuse - Murderbot has too much personality for that!) Anyway, despite probably looking like Terminator, Murderbot is not referred to as male - which is why I found myself imagining them more female than male by the middle of the book! I was surprised, but I figure it comes from wanting to see myself represented as able to do stuff, you know? And Murderbot I'd a character that lets you do that. It's pretty great. Reason #5. It's Just So Funny! So maybe this should have been the number one reason. This book will keep you laughing throughout the entire time you're reading it, I mean, when you're not having #feels. The manner it is written, and especially the manner Murderbot talks in is just priceless. I can't wait for further installments of The Murderbot diaries! Other Books You Might Like I wish I could recommend you more books like that! But such gems are not common. And I would be very happy if you recommended me something similar. Meanwhile, I can only think of two books that fit the style – in terms of humor, at least. Redshirts has the same kind of "I can't stop laughing" thing going on, and also shares some moments of poignancy by the end. It's also impossible to put down. As for The Martian, some of the topics might be unrelated at all, but the main character is similar to Murderbot – very resourcefull, brave and has the same vein of humor in the way he talks. It's also written in first person. I enjoyed both of these a lot! Read Post on My Blog | My Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter
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  • Manuel Antão
    January 1, 1970
    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.“I remember every word ever said to me." That was a lie. Who would want that? Most of it I delete from permanent memory.”In "All Systems Red" by Martha WellsThe question is always the same: How is it possible to have an absolutely distinctive voice from the first page onwards? How can I build a story around the other characters by using "the eyes" of the first-person narrator? Could my hypothetical first-person narrator say something l If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.“I remember every word ever said to me." That was a lie. Who would want that? Most of it I delete from permanent memory.”In "All Systems Red" by Martha WellsThe question is always the same: How is it possible to have an absolutely distinctive voice from the first page onwards? How can I build a story around the other characters by using "the eyes" of the first-person narrator? Could my hypothetical first-person narrator say something like "I'm choked with admiration for you!"? Narrative-wise is it a perfectly feasible emotion? I think so. A bit creepy to say otherwise, I would think, unless you walk around with porn goggles on. If you're into SF, read on.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    “You may have noticed that when I do manage to care, I’m a pessimist.”What a fantastic novella! I’ve had Martha Wells on my tbr list for a long time and even downloaded one of her fantasy novels but have never felt like reading it. The other day this came to my attention and thought maybe it would serve as an access story. Murderbot is a Secbot, designed to guard and protect clients on missions. Murderbot has a great personality and loves downloading soaps and other entertainment to keep itself “You may have noticed that when I do manage to care, I’m a pessimist.”What a fantastic novella! I’ve had Martha Wells on my tbr list for a long time and even downloaded one of her fantasy novels but have never felt like reading it. The other day this came to my attention and thought maybe it would serve as an access story. Murderbot is a Secbot, designed to guard and protect clients on missions. Murderbot has a great personality and loves downloading soaps and other entertainment to keep itself occupied when bored ( which is a lot of the time!) and it really doesn’t much care about its job. We see that it is a sentient being and this time it’s working for a crew who believe him to be as well.Recommended.
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  • Rachel (Kalanadi)
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe 4.5* but I had to bump it to 5* because I was just so happy while reading it.2nd read: Loved it just as much the second time round!
  • Kaitlin
    January 1, 1970
    Murderbot is a part robot, part human construct designed to function as Security for humans. They are a bit different from most of the Company SepcUnits becuase they have modified themselves to take out the control that the Company and the humans have over them, but they know that this is incredibly dangerous for them and so they have to keep this hidden and just pretend to still be functioning as they should.I really liked the character of Murderbot as it's really quite a grump when it comes to Murderbot is a part robot, part human construct designed to function as Security for humans. They are a bit different from most of the Company SepcUnits becuase they have modified themselves to take out the control that the Company and the humans have over them, but they know that this is incredibly dangerous for them and so they have to keep this hidden and just pretend to still be functioning as they should.I really liked the character of Murderbot as it's really quite a grump when it comes to humanity and it's quite cynical about our kind. I enjoyed the inner monologues and pessimistic outlook a lot more than I expected, becuase a snarky but witty robot is always something worth reading about.This is the story of a team on a new planet who are conducting research but whilst they are there they are interrupted by an attack and Murderbot has to rescue some of them. Quickly it comes to light that the attack may not have just been chance, and we follow the team as they try (with Murderbot's help) to uncover what really went on and who is acting against them...I found this a fun and quick read with some great twists and ideas. The characterisation is brilliant, and the story is good fun too so I am very happy I finally got to read this one and I am certain that I want to continue on with the series too. Solid 4*s from me :)
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  • j
    January 1, 1970
    Snarky robots are like catnip to me. Turns out Martha Wells is pretty funny.
  • Mimi
    January 1, 1970
    The audio read by Kevin R. Free is superbly read and a lot of fun. He captured Murderbot's personality almost exactly how I had imagined it.* * * * *Rereading via audio to prepare for Artificial Condition.It's been just a year, but I'm already having trouble recalling the details of this story. Since the next one in the series is about Murderbot's origin, it's best to refresh with a reread rather than depend on faulty data storage. * * * * *Release date set for May 2.Cover reveal and except at h The audio read by Kevin R. Free is superbly read and a lot of fun. He captured Murderbot's personality almost exactly how I had imagined it.* * * * *Rereading via audio to prepare for Artificial Condition.It's been just a year, but I'm already having trouble recalling the details of this story. Since the next one in the series is about Murderbot's origin, it's best to refresh with a reread rather than depend on faulty data storage. * * * * *Release date set for May 2.Cover reveal and except at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sc...* * * * *If you've just found Martha Wells and want to read more of her work but don't know where to start, Tor.com has a great blog post that details her whole body of work over the years: https://www.tor.com/2018/04/16/where-...
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  • Basia
    January 1, 1970
    First review of 2018!! Happy New Year!So this little story, what a WINNER!! I fell in love with the Murderbot SecUnit the 2nd time I sat down to read the tale. I finished it in just 3 short bursts. He comes across as so wonderfully detached and such a perfect misanthrope, that he felt wonderfully human to me. Yet with that brilliant edge, one that made this whole story so much fun to read. Cannot wait for the next installments from Wells! Hope you all get to read this novella. Have a wonderful n First review of 2018!! Happy New Year!So this little story, what a WINNER!! I fell in love with the Murderbot SecUnit the 2nd time I sat down to read the tale. I finished it in just 3 short bursts. He comes across as so wonderfully detached and such a perfect misanthrope, that he felt wonderfully human to me. Yet with that brilliant edge, one that made this whole story so much fun to read. Cannot wait for the next installments from Wells! Hope you all get to read this novella. Have a wonderful new year. Happy 2018!
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  • Char
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 stars!The world-building in this novella was good and I liked the murderbot's conflicted feelings about himself and "his humans." At times, though, I felt that the book was trying too hard with the quips and it felt a little forced. I will most likely continue with this series. *Thanks to Tor's e-book club for the free download of this story.*
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  • Ɗắɳ 2.☊
    January 1, 1970
    I must say, for a story subtitled The Murderbot Diaries, there was an appalling lack of murder and mayhem contained within these pages—well, at least by the hand of the so-called Murderbot. And that’s a shame because what reason other than to bathe in the glorious carnage would a reader select a title like this . . . ? Murderbot, as it dubs itself, is assigned to the security detail of a scientific expedition on an alien world. Its main roles are to protect the scientists from unknown alien thre I must say, for a story subtitled The Murderbot Diaries, there was an appalling lack of murder and mayhem contained within these pages—well, at least by the hand of the so-called Murderbot. And that’s a shame because what reason other than to bathe in the glorious carnage would a reader select a title like this . . . ? Murderbot, as it dubs itself, is assigned to the security detail of a scientific expedition on an alien world. Its main roles are to protect the scientists from unknown alien threats and to ensure the success of the mission. Part man part machine, it’s designed to be entirely under the control of its clients. However, a malfunction in its programming has left it with free will—a fact that it hides from its employers for fear of being decommissioned. As well as the fact that it’s not the terrifying monster it appears to be. Underneath all that armor is one clever, quick-witted, and surprisingly sympathetic individual. On the surface, all appears to be copacetic, but in reality, it only puts in the bare minimum effort so as to devote as much time as possible to binge its favorite shows from the entertainment feed. It’s more concerned about the fate of those fictional characters than its human masters. The only problem is there’s a section missing from their map of the planet, and the other expedition is failing to respond to their inquiries. Sabotage seems to be afoot, and, sadly, Murderbot may have to pause its shows long enough to put in a real effort . . . This story was completely lacking in depth of character. In fact, some of the names were so challenging—Bharadwaj, Volescu, Pin-Lee, Ratthi, Overse, Guarathin—that it was difficult to even keep track of who’s who, let alone their motivations. Even though the story was only a novella, I can’t forgive the lack of character development or worldbuilding. Off the top of my head, I can think of three shorter stories that excelled at both—Legion, Moot, and Defending Elysium.Although to be fair, the story was told from the first person perspective of a Murderbot who wasn’t overly concerned about the fate of these civilians, so why should we be? “You don’t know who we are? They didn’t tell you?” “There was an info packet in my initial download.” I was still staring out at the heavy green tangle just past the rocks. I really didn’t want to get into how little I paid attention to my job. “I didn’t read it.”Arada said, gently, “Why not?” With all of them staring at me, I couldn’t come up with a good lie. “I didn’t care.”Bottom line: Although the narrator was far from a gifted storyteller, the plot was decent enough. But as a heartless killing machine, the poor girl was a terrible failure. The Murderbot Diaries, #2: ★★★☆☆½
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  • Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
    January 1, 1970
    Murderbot might be my spirit animal.I loved this novella. It had a fun plot and, more importantly, it had a killer main character (pun intended) who will speak to your inner introvert like no other. And it was funny. I wasn’t expecting to laugh so much at a SecUnit POV, but the situational humor and dialogue delighted me at every turn. Good humor will spark a higher rating in me every time, and it almost feels like a bonus that everything else was so good too. Overall, All Systems Red had all th Murderbot might be my spirit animal.I loved this novella. It had a fun plot and, more importantly, it had a killer main character (pun intended) who will speak to your inner introvert like no other. And it was funny. I wasn’t expecting to laugh so much at a SecUnit POV, but the situational humor and dialogue delighted me at every turn. Good humor will spark a higher rating in me every time, and it almost feels like a bonus that everything else was so good too. Overall, All Systems Red had all the components I look for in a sci-fi and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next! Series status: I plan to read all the things… in fact I may hound for ARCs and purchase hardcovers for my collection. Recommendation: All Systems Red seems to me the epitome of the best the genre has to offer, so whether your looking to get into sci-fi or are an established reader seeking your next good read, All Systems Red earned its spot as a staple in my recommendation arsenal.Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com Other books you might like:
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  • TS Chan
    January 1, 1970
    The introduction to The Murderbot Diaries is simply great fun! A refreshing and diverting sci-fi novella with wide appeal, it is a marvellous package of wry humour, suspense and a healthy dose of compassion.As much as I love science fiction, I don't consider myself as a hardcore reader of the genre, and there are a lot of popular series or "required reading" which I have yet to catch-up on. In this respect, I find this book to be original; it is not a space opera, cyberpunk and it is not about a The introduction to The Murderbot Diaries is simply great fun! A refreshing and diverting sci-fi novella with wide appeal, it is a marvellous package of wry humour, suspense and a healthy dose of compassion.As much as I love science fiction, I don't consider myself as a hardcore reader of the genre, and there are a lot of popular series or "required reading" which I have yet to catch-up on. In this respect, I find this book to be original; it is not a space opera, cyberpunk and it is not about an alien invasion. This is a first-person perspective narrative of a humanlike bot, a construct of both organic and inorganic parts, who finds it/him/herself becoming weird and messed up with increasing ‘emotions' while dealing with her human clients even though the bots are not programmed as such. (Okay, I am going to call the bot a ‘her' because even though it is technically genderless, I can't help picturing it as a female. The voice of her first-person perspective just sounds feminine, in my opinion).Check out the hook right at the beginning. I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realised I could access the combined feed of entertainment feed carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don't know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure. Now, tell me that you don't want to keep on reading after that! Ms Murderbot (a self-proclaimed name) is an introverted, socially awkward/anxious ‘geek' who couldn't wait to get back to her serials once her job is done instead of hanging around with her human clients to whom she was contracted to as the SecUnit. In corporate-dominated space travel, this was the order of the day for all entities who want to conduct explorations or surveys on various planets. One SecUnit for every ten humans for security reasons, the contractee will also be using the company's habitats, database and communications systems, and an emergency beacon. As the contracts are, strangely, won by the lowest bidder, the company is cheap and we get a lot of humourous narrative about the deplorable quality and condition of the company's software and hardware from the Murderbot's point-of-view.Even as a construct, Ms Murderbot is completely relatable and endearing, especially the way she keeps wanting to go back to her serials or trying to sneak in some time to watch her entertainment feeds. There are too many times when I feel a desperate need to be left alone to my books; a feeling I am sure every avid reader out there shares one way or another. While I can't call myself a social misfit, this is something I empathise with, where any form of interaction can be absolutely frightening, particularly when it involves eye contact and physical touch. The underlying message of the story goes down deeper into the theme of slavery and social outcasts, which these bots essentially are in respect to the humans.The story is most compelling and amusing when she finds herself feeling out of sorts with her current client, a bunch of scientists and explorers whom she found herself liking, and much to her chagrin were intent on treating her as one of them. Her observation of this group was a hilarious analogy to her serials. The whole group had been remarkably drama-free so far, which I appreciated. The last few contracts had been like being an involuntary bystander in one of the entertainment feed's multi-partner relationship serials except I'd hated the whole cast. There are plenty more of such amusing asides as she and her clients found themselves in a life or death situation. As a rogue SecUnit with a hacked governor module who liked her clients enough not to see them killed, she endeavoured to save them from whatever or whoever is trying to hunt them down. There are great moments of suspense from this arc, although I did find its ending to be quite abrupt. With its crisp and captivating delivery in a morsel-sized story, I am looking forward to more adventures with Ms Murderbot. And the good news is that the series is expected to be completed this year (2018) with three more novellas to be released progressively from May to October.Note: I will be reviewing the sequel, Artificial Condition, pretty soon.This review can also be found at Booknest
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