Select one of the keywords
All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries #1    by Martha Wells order for
All Systems Red
by Martha Wells
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2021 (2017)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Having been quickly hooked on later entries in this brilliant series, I was delighted to read the first, All Systems Red, which won Hugo, Nebula, Locus and more awards. The lead is a sentient machine (with organic neural tissue). A SecUnit programmed for destruction, they have hacked their governor module and call themselves Murderbot. Here readers see where it all started.

It's a future, in which the Company dominates space exploration. Teams are accompanied by corporate SecUnits, ordered to protect them. Murderbot - who spend their spare time watching entertainment channels carried on company satellites - is assigned a contract with Dr. Mensah. After they save one of the team from a hostile that erupts from the ground, the humans become more interested in Murderbot, much to their dismay - an invitation to stay in the crew area gets a reaction of 'dismayed horror'.

Mensah's team find deletions in the planetary warnings against fauna. Then a neighboring exploratory mission goes dark. Murderbot ends up having to fight SecUnits that have killed over a dozen humans, to keep their own humans safe. After Murderbot is severely injured in the process, Mensah and her team learn that they overrode their governor module. But, since Murderbot protected them, while a free agent, they decide to trust - and keep the secret.

Murderbot does manage to keep them safe and, in return, Dr. Mensah permanently buys their contract and prevents the Company from purging their memory. But what would Murderbot do under her guardianship? They choose another path, hitching a ride on a bot-driven cargo transport - and the series continues.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews