Review: All Systems Red

Series: The Murderbot Diaries: #1

Okay, I get what all the hype is about. Take a heavily armed cyborg/clone, designed entirely as muscle to defend the more squishy ’traditional’ humans, have it turn off the software constraining it from killing everyone, add in a wonderfully snarky sense of humor… and see what happens.

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. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

I love the character of Murderbot (as they call themself). They’re super uncomfortable with people and trying desperately to hide the fact that they can actually lie, don’t particularly like people, and doesn’t have to listen to anyone if they don’t want to–which that feels an awful lot like imposter syndrome / masking. But in the end, they’re still going to end up doing the ‘right thing’ in the end.

I walked out a little way, past a couple of the lakes, almost expecting to see something under the surface. Dead bodies, maybe. I’d seen plenty of those (and caused plenty of those) on past contracts, but this one had been dead-body-lacking, so far. It made for a nice change.

Plotwise, it’s a relatively standard sci-fi affair. The novella structure really works. You get enough of the characters to get to know them–Murderbot’s personality helps here–but the action takes off and just keeps right on going. I’m looking forward to the rest!