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All Systems Red

by Martha Wells

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Murderbot Diaries (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,8801336,148 (4.14)291
A murderous android discovers itself in "All Systems Red", a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial intelligence. 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.… (more)
  1. 60
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    chlorine: Main protagonists are at least somewhat AI, and both books have a neutral take on gender.
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    MyriadBooks: Construct, check. Evil Corporation, check. Action, check. Squishy emotional center, check. Trust me, you'll love it.
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» See also 291 mentions

English (129)  French (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
A cyber-being, mostly robot but with some human "'parts" as they* like to call them (like skin etc.) manages to disable the program that forces him to obey; he goes 'rogue', only, not really as he has a soft spot for humans who treat him like a person, even if, at the same time, it terrifies him when they do. Something terrible happened to him yonks ago but he is now assigned to a surprisingly kindly outfit, from a non-corporate entity who are doing research on a new planet. Of course, things go awry and our hero (who knows about heroes because they adore human entertainment feeds) has to decide: is he out for himself or to help these folks?

*As this being has no, um, "parts" they really are a they, indeterminate. ( )
  sibylline | Jul 4, 2020 |
All Systems Red is the story of MurderBot, a corporate security android (SecUnit), tasked with taking care of a group of human scientists who are exploring a distant planet. When another group of scientists on the planet do not respond to communications, MurderBot (a self-given name) goes out with his scientists to investigate. They discover that the other scientists have all been murdered, apparently by rogue androids. MurderBot’s scientists realize that they are next to come under attack. They flee. It’s up to MurderBot to make sure that they stay safe until they can escape the planet.
This is a fascinating look at a creature that is both human and not human. He (he? she? it?) feels distinctly uncomfortable interacting directly with his charges and yet refers to them possessively as “my humans.” He’d much rather be watching thousands of hours of downloaded soap operas. Yet he’s determined to protect them from murderous androids that are under the control of competing corporate interests.
The lethal intentions of competing corporations are not so much of a surprise. What is a surprise is the superb way in which author Martha Wells draws the personality and character of an android with thoughts and emotions of his own, and yet still under the control of humans. Or is he? In a time in which artificial intelligence gains significance, Wells give us a superb fictional opportunity to think about androids and how we might be dealing with them in the future. Great storytelling! ( )
  C.J.Shane | Jun 28, 2020 |
Bot with simple needs
tasks to do, some alone time
no chit-chat, thank you. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
Murderbot is a SecUnit – a security unit designed by humans to be mostly enhanced robot with some cloned human bits. It has the sole purpose of defending whatever humans currently have rented its contract. There is an internally implanted governor unit to ensure SecUnits can’t disobey orders.

But Murderbot is different. It has been able to hack and disconnect its governor unit and so, unknown to humans, it has free will. It also has some memories of its past in which it was involved in an incident where many humans were killed – the reason it has given itself the name Murderbot.

On its newest contract, Murderbot finds that even without the governor, it wants to see its human contract holders succeed and avoid injury and death. When hostilities break out on the remote planet they are researching, Murderbot knows that it is their only chance against very tough odds..

Murderbot is a sympathic, self-aware character that downloads reams of human media shows to binge watch when it is bored or stressed. It also has a lovely, snarky sense of humor, and is very shy when humans see it without its armor, especially its opaque helmet which Murderbot enjoys hiding within.

A short, enjoyable novella. I have the sequel in hand, and am looking forward it. ( )
  streamsong | Jun 22, 2020 |
Fun short read

My first novella in a long time, and boy did I enjoy it!

Being a novella it is very fast paced, and yet Wells managed to develop Murderbot quite well. We get to understand its character, choices, and motives. It is one of the best character work I've seen and to pull it off in less than 200 pages it's simply amazing.

The action is clean and neat and not obfuscated with overtly complex descriptions. Shots were fired, injuries were made. It works because Murderbot is not driven by its action scenes, but by its character work and while the action is fun it is the character that makes this such a brilliant read.

Great novella, it deserves every recognition it gets. ( )
  Miguel.Arvelo | Jun 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
But this book is sneaky. As much as you want to think this is just some lightweight little confection made of robot fights and space murder — and as much as All Systems Red wants to present itself as nothing but robot fights and space murder — Martha Wells did something really clever. She hid a delicate, nuanced and deeply, grumpily human story inside these pulp trappings, by making her murderous robot story primarily character-driven. And the character doing the driving?


» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wells, Marthaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Böhmert, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foltzer, ChristineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Free, Kevin R.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, LeeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, JaimeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montier, MathildeTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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.
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Average: (4.14)
1 4
2 15
2.5 6
3 86
3.5 44
4 308
4.5 62
5 231


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