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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Damn Murderbot! Where have you been all my life?
Big shout-out to Jessica who has tried to get me to read these books for at least a year. She was right.

Last night I looked at all the books I've downloaded onto my iPad and I didn't want to read any of them. But I had just been working on Tor books for work, including the upcoming latest Murderbot novel, and it jumped into my head as a book that wouldn't be depressing, wouldn't be about anything relevant to today, and it's short. So I downloaded it (it's published by Tor, part of my employer. I am supposed to be reading books coming out in "winter 2021" aka Jan-April which the latest book is but not the first book.) And damn!

I read the whole thing at once. It's a short novella (86 pages) so that's very do-able. And I immediately downloaded the second book. I am in love!

Murderbot is a SecBot (security bot) and it is half robot, half human. Although as it explains, it isn't a half-and-half, it's a full entity that has struggled. (Also, it's an it. It has no gender identifiers of any kind as it's not a sexbot.) Murderbot has hacked its OS, in particular it's regulator system. It is assigned to a crew of scientists who have traveled to a distant planet and are taking samples. Murderbot does a half-assed job, which is usually fine, as all Murderbot really wants is to watch its soap-operas. Then a giant creature comes out of the ground and tried to eat two of the scientists. Murderbot saves them, but then it's obvious that the information the crew got about this planet is incorrect--who deleted the information about the giant dangerous creatures and why?

Sure, this book could have been the length of a regular novel with a lot of backstory to the scientists and Murderbot, but I'm glad it wasn't. We don't need all that backstory. It was exactly perfect. There wasn't a single extra or wasted word. 

I will be reading ALL of the Murderbot Diaries in the next few weeks. So excited I still have 2 novellas and 2 full-length novels to go.

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