This first installment in the popular Murderbot Diaries, All Systems Red is an exciting, suspense-filled science fiction story It also won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for best novella (~150 pages). I read it ahead of the WisCon46 convention where Martha Wells was a Guest of Honor.
The author gave a powerful speech, reminding everyone that progress is a moving target. She likened the task of broadening the inclusiveness of the science fiction/fantasy field to the labor of Sisyphus: no matter how far we’ve come, we have to keep pushing that boulder up the mountain.
Murderbot is a fun and fascinating character: ultracompetent with security (and hacking the system to download soap operas), painfully uncomfortable interacting with the human survey team.
I struggled to keep the eight survey members clear in my mind. The team leader and an augmented human who didn’t trust Murderbot were the most memorable; one was almost as good as Murderbot at hacking things--the others blended together. This was the only weak point in the book for me.
I don’t want to give any of the delightful plot twists away in All Systems Red, but I will say this was an absolute page-turner.
Hoping to dissect the author’s technique, I read it twice--but got sucked into the story both times.
I’ll have to buy a copy (this one came from my local library) in the hopes that if I read it enough times, I might be able to actually study the author’s writing methods. Meanwhile, I’ve already ordered the second in the series from my library.