Book Review: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

Some titles really make the exact correct promise for the package within. A diary is a personal thing, filled with longing and private thoughts, free of judgment. Murder…. Well, that evokes a different feeling. And -bot As a technological suffix, it makes you think of a particularly whimsical subgenre of sci-fi, doesn’t it? Nothing serious calls its synthetic beings anything -bot They’re androids, cybords, synths, cylons, or any of a number of other titles, but -bot… that’s Saturday Morning Cartoon stuff.

Everyone who I have personally run across who has read this delightfully irreverent series has loved it. Let’s dive in.

The Basics:

Title: The Murderbot Diaries
Author: Martha Wells
Genre: Science Fiction Space Opera, Action, Parody
Published: Tor, 2017

Spoiler-Free Summary:

SecUnit is a security cyborg. It is obvious to the reader from page 1 that they are a being, not an object (I won’t spoil why, it’s a treat), but they are considered property in a futuristic corporation-controlled dystopia. They are rented to a routine planetary survey mission when everything goes wrong. Missing information in their dossiers leads to deadly mistakes. Glitches ruin equipment. Nothing seems right. Isolated a lightyears from help, SecUnit and what they think of as their humans must solve the mystery of who wants them dead and why before their shadowy enemies catch up with them.

Why This Book Is For You:

If you love sci-fi but are tired of hauling around text books, these novella-length snacks are for you. I devoured this title in two days.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

Murderbot is just funny. It’s a fantastic example of voice-driven storytelling. Any introvert will deeply connect with SecUnit’s anxiety every time the humans speak to them, and envy its ability to use its technological enhancements to escape. You can almost hear the deep sigh behind every word. It’s irreverent, it’s snarky, it’s charming, at the same time that it keeps the pages turning with fast-paced action.

Read it. You’ll love it.

Where Can You Learn More?

You can explore Mrs. Wells’ deep backlist on her website. You can get to know her on her blog hosted on Dreamwidth.

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