Murderbot has become one of my all time favourite characters and by far my favorite artificial intelligence. When I first read All Systems Red by Martha Wells I didn’t read many novellas, yet. But this book kicked up a whole novella reading spree for me. Today it is one of my favourite format of books, especially the novella series.
Novellas can give you just as deep characters and world building as a full novel, while being faster to read and having a simpler story structure. This mean that they are easier to read when tired or stressed. Which years since All System Red was first published has brought a lot of.
The original review of All Systems Red from 2018
Opening sentence :
“I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.”
My review of All Systems Red
I don’t read novellas in one sitting, especially not 150 pages novellas – well apparently unless they are All Systems Red. The book was fast paced and funny. I have already pre-ordered the next one and am very much looking forward to May.
“As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.”
I really enjoyed the voice of MurderBot – they are so snarky and has the most dry sense of humor.
“Yes, talk to Murderbot about its feelings. The idea was so painful I dropped to 97 percent efficiency. I’d rather climb back into Hostile One’s mouth.
I got my helmet on and opaqued it. The relief was intense, about even with finding out that the combat override module had been removed. I love you, armor, and I’m never leaving you again.”
They is also suffering form social anxiety when dealing with humans, they are literally using their armor as a social armour, so they don’t have to have people looking at them. So MurderBot hides t in media consumption. They feel like a giant geek – it’s wonderful. The human clients are also pretty great.
“My education modules were such cheap crap; most of the useful things I knew about security I learned from the edutainment programming on the entertainment feeds. (…) we’re cheaply produced and we suck.”
All Systems Red is very much about free will, when the people around you don’t see you as human and have convicted you to dehumanize yourself. The plot is moving along at a high clip but I was very much there for MurderBot’s commentary on the situations, more than the situations. Can we please hang out in a café and you can hide in your helmet and comment on people?
“I hate having emotions about reality; I’d much rather have them about Sanctuary Moon.”
I would love to hear from someone with social anxiety how they feel about MurderBot – it seems a bit problematic that we get a cyborg with the issue, and no humans with any kind of mental or physical disability, however the potrail does feel real and authentic – but what do I know – I don’t have that kind anxiety.
The book is so crazy quotable – I found myself wanting to post huge chunks of it on social media – highlighting lots of it on my kindle.
Published: 2017 by Tor.com
Read: February 15, 2018
The author: female, United States
The protagonist: Cyborg, security guard, genderless
This review was originally posted: February 19, 2018, Updated June 23, 2023