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ALL SYSTEMS RED (Murderbot Diaries) Paperback – 2 May 2017
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"I love Murderbot!" --Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice
"The Murderbot series is a heart-pounding thriller that never lets up, but it's also one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I've ever read. Come for the gunfights on other planets, but stay for the finely drawn portrait of a deadly robot whose smartass goodness will give you hope for the future of humanity." --Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous
"Clever, inventive, brutal when it needs to be, and compassionate without ever being sentimental." --Kate Elliott, author of the Spirit Walker trilogy
"Endearing, funny, action-packed, and murderous." --Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion
"Not only a fun, fast-paced space-thriller, but also a sharp, sometimes moving character study that will resonate with introverts even if they're not lethal AI machines." --Malka Older, author of Infomocracy
"Wells 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." --Publishers Weekly starred review
"I already can't wait for the next one." --The Verge
"Meet your favorite depressed A.I. since Marvin." --B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog
"A great kick-off for a continuing series." --Locus
"Wells imbued Murderbot with extraordinary humanity, and while this is a fun read, don't make the mistake of thinking it's not a profound one."--LA Times
PRAISE FOR MARTHA WELLS
"Martha Wells writes fantasy the way it was meant to be--poignant, evocative, and astonishing. Prepare to be captivated 'til the sun comes up." --Kameron Hurley, author of The Mirror Empire and God's War
"The Cloud Roads has wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It's that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn't go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can't wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!" --N. K. Jemisin, author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
"Breathtakingly surprising and fun. For readers who missed earlier entry points to this delightful series, now is the time to get on board." --The New York Times on The Edge of Worlds
"That rarity--a completely unique and stunning fantasy world." --Hugo Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear on The Edge of Worlds
About the Author
MARTHA WELLS has written many fantasy novels, including The Wizard Hunters, Wheel of the Infinite, the Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads and ending with The Harbors of the Sun), and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer, as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, and non-fiction.
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And when ‘useful’ includes rescuing your survey team from a monster that wasn’t listed on the planetary survey, that unfortunately leads to more work. Like figuring out why the second survey team now aren’t talking to anyone. Or checking who deleted areas of the map. And then when your survey team start treating you like an actual team member as opposed to a rented murderbot, that means you have to interact with them, when really just being left alone to watch shows would be just great….
Luckily this is a trilogy, as my major complaint was that it’s too short; it ends quite abruptly, and I want to know what happens next! The characterisation is brilliant, and the main character (the previously-mentioned murderbot) made me laugh. The survey team are interesting, and I loved the way the motivations and plot are woven together. It never feels overwhelming or too complex, but the unfolding events are a brilliant mix of action and thought.
I’m eagerly waiting for the next one!
Our 'hero' would rather be watching TV than looking after a bunch of scientists doing a planetary survey, especially as it's hacked it's control system so it doesn't actually have to follow orders any more. Still, when trouble comes calling, our self-styled Murderbot gets involved regardless and things carry on from there. All of this set in a universe where the line seems blurred between augmented humans and actual androids, especially those who can either hack themselves or be hacked to override their usual controls.
The main issue I had with this book was that I was happily enjoying the story, then I turned the last page and it was over. Hoping for more instalments and soon!
It seems like the author is trying too hard to write a genre that they're not fully familiar with.
The style is completely strange, like the baffling use of 'kilos' instead of 'clicks' or 'kilometers'. Does the author really think 'kilos' is a measure of length? (hint: it's a kilogram, a measure of mass)
One of the reasons I’ve avoided novellas is that I feel like there just aren’t enough words and the story doesn’t reach its full potential. This really felt like the case with All Systems Red. I absolutely love the concept of “Murderbot” — a security robot created of organic and inorganic parts that hacks its own system, gains sentience and a sort of freedom, becomes socially awkward, and wants all the humans to just shut up so it can watch its soap operas — but I didn’t feel like the book fell a little short because of the word count. One of the things that I loved about Every Heart a Doorway, another recent novella read, is that the author manages to create a beautiful, fully realised world in under 200 pages. I don’t feel like this is the case with All Systems Red.
While I didn’t connect with the human characters — they basically have little to no development and are treated more like window dressings than anything else — what I did love about this book is Murderbot. I’m not sure how, but Wells has managed to create a character that calls itself ‘Murderbot’ and still manages to be one of the most delightfully relatable characters I’ve read in sci-fi. Murderbot does its duty to protect the scientists, but still longs for downtime to watch its vast collection of videos. I love any character that struggles to discover what it means to be human, and that is exactly what Murderbot is trying to do. Their attempts to control their emotion and reactions to the hazardous situation and their knowledge of how the crew must feel about having such a being onboard with them were all really well done. I don’t want to say too much, but Murderbot’s character arc is just wonderful to read and has a sense of completion while opening the opportunity for a series.
Overall, I liked All Systems Red, but I wish it was a longer book. I feel like there’s so much left unexplored in this world. The plot reads like a thriller and should be filled with twists and turns, but is fairly straightforward — I would have loved a little more mystery. I did love Murderbot themselves, and will continue to read this series if I find the other books on sale for Kindle or from my local library.
This is a zippy little novella, just 150pp of snark as we listen to Murderbot narrate its story, and discover more about its background. There’s not time for a lot of character development other than the first person narrator, but we get an interesting world, an engaging protagonist, and the set-up for a lot more action and robot-soul-searching.
This makes a good contrast with that other recent ‘robot learning to live in a human world’ tale, "A Closed and Common Orbit" by Becky Chambers. They are quite different in feel, but both are thought-provoking.