Review: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

August 20, 2018
All Systems Red, (The Murderbot Diaries #1), Martha Wells, InToriLex
Published By: Tor.com on May 2,  2017
Format Read: Kindle Edition (144 pages)
Genre: Sci-fi/ Adult/ Novella
Series: Book One of the Murderbot Diaries
Source: Purchased
All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)
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.


Content Warning: Graphic Violence, Morose Humor


This is a small novella that lived up to it's hype. It follows a SecUnit (who calls himself Murderbot) protecting a crew while they explore a planet. Along the way he encounters danger, tolerates humans, and shares his witty point of view. The novella is engaging, funny and action packed. As Murderbot slowly starts to reveal he in a sentient A.I. he describes the strangeness of human social interactions. Through his eyes the nature of the crew's mission unravels, with suspense, as they face danger and threats no one was prepared for.
"The humans hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep last night, from the crowding and the strong possibility of dying."
The pacing, story and plot flowed together effortlessly. You will quickly become immersed with Murderbot who is not human,  but has a soft spot for them. In a short amount of pages I cared about the characters and enjoyed the simply explained sci-fi elemenst. In this future where humans are not constrained to their planet, I was happy to see diverse characters included. I really wanted more of everything, but had to reminded myself there will be more books. I will be continuing on with the series and hope it maintains its great momentum.
"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."
Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy funny action packed stories
- want a quick entertaining read
- want to cheer for a socially awkward sentient robot


Martha Wells, InToriLex
Martha Wells has written many fantasy novels, including The Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads), the Ile-Rien series (including The Death of the Necromancer) as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, media tie-ins (for Star Wars and Stargate: Atlantis), and non-fiction. Her most recent fantasy novel is The Harbors of the Sun in 2017, the final novel in The Books of the Raksura series. She has a new series of SF novellas, The Murderbot Diaries, published by Tor.com in 2017 and 2018. She was also the lead writer for the story team of Magic: the Gathering's Dominaria expansion in 2018. She has won a Nebula Award, an ALA/YALSA Alex Award, a Locus Award, and her work has appeared on the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Award ballots, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in eleven languages.

She has had short stories in the magazines Black Gate, Realms of Fantasy, Lone Star Stories, Lightspeed Magazine, and Stargate Magazine, and in the Tsunami Relief anthology Elemental, The Other Half of the Sky, Tales of the Emerald Serpent, Mech: Age of Steel, and The Gods of Lovecraft.

She has essays in the nonfiction anthologies Farscape Forever, Mapping the World of Harry Potter, Chicks Unravel Time, and The Kobold Guide to Magic.  


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