Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Alex Award
Winner: 2018 Locus Award
One of the Verge's Best Books of 2017
A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller
A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.
"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.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A security android has quietly hacked its system to gain freedom, but instead of going rogue it really just wants to be left alone to watch soap operas. Meet the narrator of the fast and funny first book in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries series. All Systems Red imagines the perilous, corporate future of space exploration while building on a super-catchy premise: what if A.I., like humans, went through an awkward adolescent stage where everyone else struck them as dumb and annoying? Wells’ book will delight anyone whose favorite Douglas Adams character is Marvin the Paranoid Android. Or anyone who remembers being a teenager.
SecUnit, aka Murderbot, is a semiorganic corporate profit center, genderless and constructed of cheap parts to perform contract bodyguard services for clients who mostly don't want them. SecUnit can choose its attitude because it has hacked its governor (a hat-tip to Susan R. Matthews), blocking the functions that would punish it for anything but robotic obedience. Disgusted by humans and secretly addicted to a video serial called Sanctuary Moon, SecUnit is simply enduring another assignment until something completely outside of its data parameters tries to kill its humans. Nebula finalist Wells (Edge of Worlds) gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity. The creepy panopticon of SecUnit's multiple interfaces allows a hybrid first-person/omniscient perspective that contextualizes its experience without ever giving center stage to the humans.
What do soap-operas and high-stakes security have in common?
Do cyborgs scare you? Then be prepared to laugh out loud. This cyborg is a shy introvert who, by its definition, is lazy and bad at their job, providing security on an exploratory mission. In the first story in the series, the construct refers to itself as Murderbot. At one point in the tale, you get the story behind the name from an oblique angle during a conversation.
If you focus on the lowest bid contracts, you could see this story as a morality tale. Much of this story's humor results from contract bids and awards based on price. You could also see this as an extension of the singularity progression. Are cybernetic organisms (Cyborgs) machines or beings? What is their legal status and ability to self-determine? What would a shy, introverted, lazy, and wholly misunderstood life do to protect its existence and ensure its freedom to do as it wishes?
This tale has very limited hard science fiction and is more a fantasy story set on a planet that is not earth (there is no reference to earth). It is more an extension of the argument that we, the people, to form a perfect union, have opps, to maximize our benefit/laziness and reduce our costs, letting the capitalists and their corporations become our governments. What is the impact when human greed is left only marginally corralled?
I recommend this quick, easy, and enjoyable read.
I expected more...
Don't expect any real character development. I felt as though it was rushed through and the writer then had to explain the missing information away. By using her character as a scapegoat, Murderbot has a nonchalant attitude and doesn't care, we're expected not to ask too many questions. Also known as the author was too lazy to write it out or give it much thought and expected the reader to "just deal with it." However, it's a nice spin on ideas and thoughts we already know to be tried and true.
I enjoyed reading this. It reads like a stream of consciousness because it kind of is. The beginning was difficult to read because there was a lot of run-ons compounding new vocab. However, the book kept my attention from start to finish and was a quick read. I like the main character, even if I didn’t always understand him. My biggest complaint is the ending felt rushed. This is a novel crammed into novella size. The lead up to the climax had more tension than the actual climax so the payoff fell short for me. That part was rushed too.
My favorite part is the character and his voice. Murderbot is sarcastic and I love it. 😊 Hilarious in many places.