Review – All Systems Red

Posted June 20, 2019 by Nicky in Reviews / 6 Comments

Cover of All Systems Red by Martha WellsAll Systems Red, Martha Wells

“Oh no, I’m having a feeling” just about sums up poor Murderbot’s life. But I’m starting in the middle here. Let’s go back to the beginning: All Systems Red is the first novella in a series. Murderbot is the main character, an organic/machine hybrid created for guard duty and overall security. Murderbot is, as of this novella, deployed with a group of overall quite decent humans who are surveying a planet. When things start to go wrong, it turns out that Murderbot is their best chance. You see, Murderbot’s hacked its own governer module, and that means it has a degree of free will not normally enjoyed by constructs like itself.

(It has no illusions about what it is, hence the name “Murderbot”, which it has given itself.)

Dr Mensah and her team turn out to be rather great human beings, and they react well to Murderbot’s free will, allowing it to help them and ultimately… well, no spoilers! Suffice it to say that Murderbot spends quite a bit of time with them, to its own dismay. Humans are difficult, and it would much rather be watching the equivalent of Netflix.

It’s just all… so charming, despite being murdery — Murderbot has a lot of anxiety and yet also cares about the humans its meant to be protecting. It doesn’t have to take risks to help them, but it does. I would say I want to give Murderbot a hug, but the poor thing would be utterly horrified at the idea.

I’ve read All Systems Red before, of course, but I haven’t read the final novella in the series, so a reread seemed like a great idea. I agree, past self! It was a great idea. Murderbot makes me happy.

Rating: 4/5

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6 responses to “Review – All Systems Red

    • Right?? For some reason I didn’t get round to the final novella at the time, so I’m excited to get the whole story in one go now.

  1. “I would say I want to give Murderbot a hug, but the poor thing would be utterly horrified at the idea”

    …that pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? I really enjoyed my reread, and am now moving on to the rest of the novellas for the first time. I just love Murderbot’s narrative tone of voice.
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