Series: The Murderbot Diaries #1
Published by Tor.com on May 2, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction
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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.
There were three reasons I picked up All Systems Red. #1 – It was sci-fi and I was participating in #SciFiJune when I read it. #2 – It’s short and I’m behind on my Goodreads challenge by 4 books. #3 – It had good reviews. In the end, I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s a good story with a truly relatable main character.
That relatable character calls itself Murderbot. It is a sentient security robot who has hacked its governor’s module. It’s essentially rogue, but still pretends to be the security robot it is expected to be. The scientists it’s working for run into a dangerous situation and Murderbot does the best it can to protect them. They, in turn, begin to see Muderbot as more of a person and less of a robot. Murderbot though is extremely shy and introverted, interacting with humans in any meaningful way fills it with anxiety. It would much rather watch television shows than do much of anything else. It’s also funny and sarcastic and a robot I would like to hang out with, especially since it doesn’t seem to have much desire or ambition to injure anyone, in spite of its name.
Murderbot is awesome. The scientists on the team are a good group of people, but Murderbot, who tells the story in first-person, definitely steals the show. The plot is well-done and moves along quickly.
All Systems Red is a fun, light sci-fi novel, but it also brings up some interesting discussion points, which I think is a hallmark of good science fiction. It brings up the ideas of free will, autonomy, and independence, what it means to be human, and about the difficulties faced by introverts on a daily basis.
I admit that I downloaded #2 immediately after finishing this one.