Monday, January 11, 2021

Review: ALL SYSTEMS RED (Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells


Rating: 2.5/5 stars

I liked this novella. It’s a sci-fi story about a robotic android whose main purpose is to protect people (by way of murdering enemies), but all it wants to do is be alone and watch the entertainment feed.

Murderbot, it calls itself, is not really a robot, although that’s what it wants the humans to believe. It is made up of half organic and half inorganic materials, like a person inside an armored suit it never takes off. I’m curious to know, as it was never stated, if Murderbot is a different species or if it is entirely manmade. Like is its organic matter human-like, or what does it look like inside its armor?

This story was a little confusing to me, and I sometimes honestly think I’m just too dumb to read science fiction because I have yet to read a story in this genre that really clicks with me or that I fully understand. There was a lot about the world and technology in this book that wasn’t explained, and there’s even information in the synopsis that wasn’t blatantly explained in the story (either that or I just missed it), which is a problem because I shouldn’t have to read the synopsis to learn stuff that the book itself didn’t cover. I’ve always had a hard time reading novellas because of the lack of worldbuilding and information present in the narrative, but this story is, at its core, about the character of Murderbot, so maybe there doesn’t need to be more information for me as a reader to still connect with its character.

This book was pretty funny but also emotionally relatable. I liked All Systems Red enough that I’m interested in reading the other novellas in this series. I don’t know if they will follow the same crew that Murderbot works with in this book or if each book will follow different side characters, but I feel like, regardless, I will enjoy the series more the further I read.

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