All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1), by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And in their corner all they had was Murderbot, who just wanted everyone to shut up and leave it alone so it could watch the entertainment feed all day.

I’m not a Science Fiction fan. I’m not especially fond of novellas. This one, though…

I can’t even really explain what appealed to me about this novella: Murderbot neither really feels like a robot nor like a person but still strangely… plausible.
Murderbot’s actions feel logical, yet simple. It does what it has to do. It’s ambiguity as an artificial lifeform makes it feel both familiar in, e. g. its shyness and some other emotions – not to speak of its entertainment addiction.
Plus: An artificial lifeform that (sometimes) acts more humanely than its human counterparts? Fascinating!

Murderbot is literally strange enough to go through a contrasting melange of emotions as well. This contrast, the SecUnits conflicting feelings and survival strategies is probably what made this story so wondrously attractive for me.

All in all, the novella is based on an interesting premise with a good mixture of characters and a lot of suspense. Spice that up with Murderbot itself and its diverse clients and you get a modern, fresh approach to science fiction.

Highly recommended.

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