‘All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries)’ by Martha Wells

All Systems Red


When I was recommended this book, the synopsis immediately drew me in. The main protagonist is an apathetic, lazy, pessimistic, socially awkward android that refers to itself as ‘Murderbot’, who after hacking their governing control systems could easily have gone on a murdering spree, but preferred to watch TV instead.

Despite all that, ‘Murderbot’ is a surprisingly relatable character who I felt genuinely connected to. It spends the majority of the story having a bit of an existential crisis about not knowing what it wants or what it wants to do, just wanting to be left alone and not have to deal with talking to people. This isn’t the futuristic all-knowing A.I. that I have come to expect from these types of stories, but is instead a character who just happens to be an android.

The story itself isn’t particularly mind-blowing, but it’s well written. There aren’t any particular weaknesses to the book, boring bits or parts which feel like they are dragging down the plot. It keeps a good pace throughout and is ultimately fairly satisfying. It’s a good book without being a great one. The only problem it does have is that the world feels a little unoriginal, futuristic corporations who essentially are the powers behind colonising new planets. It didn’t feel particularly clear to me why the main conflict was happening in the book however. I couldn’t really understand the motives of the group who were killing and hunting the other colonists groups on the planet other than some vague mentions of previous civilisations being found.

That being said however, I did enjoy the book. I found the story simple, yet page turning, and I really liked the idea and character of ‘Murderbot’. I will probably look into reading the next book in the series because I would like to see what happens with ‘Murderbot’ now he has gone off alone into the universe. ‘All Systems Red’ is well worth a read if you’re a fan of the science fiction genre, but fancy something a little different to the usual.