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What am I Reading
May 2021
Through the Eyes of Murderbot: All Systems Red
Wells, M. (2017). All systems red. Tor.

All Systems Red is the first book (of five) in Martha Wells' The Murderbot Diaries. This science fiction series focuses on a security bot with human bits that has hacked its control module, making is self-governing, rather than at the beck-and-call of its owner. The books are generally short, about 150 pages (the final block is twice that), and the stories move quickly. All Systems Red won both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award.

The books are told from the perspective of "Murderbot" itself (Murderbot is the name the cyborg has given itself). In All Systems Red the Murderbot is assigned to a group of scientists exploring a particular location on a particular planet (no actual planet names are given) as security (a SecBot). This narrative position makes the unfolding of the bot's personality, as well as the plot, particularly interesting. There is mystery and intrigue, as well as shooting and killing, as it become apparent that the science unit has been misled.

The story is short and swift, and the development of the bot is fun and entertaining. Given the 150+ page length, the book was just what I was looking for as a diversion from the technical reading I've been immersed in. There are five more books 😀 so more diversion to come.

The Murderbot Diaries

  1. All Systems Red (2017)

  2. Artificial Condition (2018)

  3. Rogue Protocol (2018)

  4. Network Effect (2020)

  5. Fugitive Telemetry (2021)

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Contact Information

Peter Doolittle
Blacksburg, VA 24060
pdoo@vt.edu