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Book Rec: All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Character-driven SF)

All Systems Red CoverIt’s rare that I find a book that I want to re-read immediately after finishing it. I’m too old, too jaded, I’ve read too many great books to be swept away. Yet, All Systems Red swept me away, and I re-read it immediately after finishing.

I’ve now read it four times over two years, and it’s still great.

All Systems Red is the first installment of the Murderbot Diaries, featuring a surprisingly human killing machine on the run. I’ve seen people describe it as being inside the head of a neurodiverse protagonist, but, personally, I figure Murderbot is just your regular Joe take to the extreme.

Probably because I can identify with it.

Murderbot is competent enough to take down a house-sized snake, evade ultra-sophisticated surveillance systems, and defeat intergalactic corporations. Oh, it’s also pathologically introvert, incredibly snarky, and an unreliable narrator. Sort of.

I won’t say more, but if you’ve never read Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries, do yourself a favor and pick up All Systems Red. It’s short, it’s action-packed, it’s funny.

You’ll love it.


“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.


All Systems Red on Goodreads

Dreams of Futures Past Book Cover

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