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 neighbouring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
I had seen so many good reviews of this book and the series that I decided I had to read it so I downloaded the first book onto my Kindle ready for my summer holidays and devoured it in one sitting.
I found Murderbot such an endearing character in this book. Murderbot was designed and built for a purpose and that purpose is a security unit for whoever needs it. Muderbot is part machine and part organic and is built sexless so has no chosen pronoun. SecUnits which is what Murderbot is, have choice in where they go or what they do, they just have to follow orders from the humans and most importantly protect the humans. However, Murderbot is special because it has become self aware, it has hacked its governor module and now it needs to work out exactly what it is and what it is going to do. It has also downloaded a lot of media and become somewhat of a TV addict.
Even though Murderbot is rather scornful of the humans it is there to protect, it still does anything it can to protect the humans and as the story goes on it becomes quite clear that Murderbot becomes quite attached to its humans and the humans become quite attached to Murderbot.
When the neighbouring mission goes dark it soon becomes clear a rescue mission must take place and this worries Murderbot who knows there could be trouble but the humans say a rescue mission is needed so Murderbot follows orders.
Murderbot is uncomfortable around humans and quite shy so it only feels comfortable when hidden behind its helmet in full armour. Without the armour and helmet Murderbot feels vulnerable around the humans. Murderbot even uses cameras to look at the humans rather than face them directly.
I loved this story and although it is really only the length of a novella the action kicks off straight away on page 2. I loved the characters but my favourite was Murderbot, I loved seeing it grow and develop and start to work out what exactly it is and what it wants to do with its existence. As soon as I finished this book I downloaded and started to read the next book because I just could not leave Murderbot behind. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.
About the author
Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, two Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in eighteen languages.
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