Book Reviews

Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Everyone who knows me and has read All Systems Red has told me I would love it. They both know exactly what my brand is and have distilled it down to an essence. All Systems Red was entirely my geeky and bookwyrm cup of tea. If it had been around when I was writing my thesis, you know it would have been in there!


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.


book review all systems red by martha wells(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

All Systems Red thrilled my intellect, entertained me, and moved my heart. Murderbot actively probes the boundary between human and machine. They poke that uncomfortable space where we don’t know how to react to those who transgress over the illusions we create. I need to read this book again, read some more articles, and geek over it with many many friends. I feel like even though I was blown away by this book, I need to read it over and over again so I pick up more and more.

All Systems Red uncovers issues of privacy and asks us what is the line between the behavior we expect from humans versus robots. The character of Murderbot has fantastic character development ripe with illuminating exchanges. I don’t want to speak a ton about the different themes and development, because this is such a unique experience that I don’t want to ruin your first reading with it. There’s a simplicity of many statements, all which contribute to this comprehensive constantly moving puzzle.


Murderbot tosses around ideas of blame, punishment and guilt. We actively explore issues of agency and person-hood through multiple lenses. And even days after finishing, I can’t get over how good this novella is. If you want another reason to read this, make sure you check out Evelina’s review. Make sure you don’t wait as long as I did, and find All Systems Red on Goodreads.


What thing will you constantly geek over?

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4 thoughts on “Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

  1. Thank you for sharing my review! OMG, this book was SO amazing. I just can’t help loving Murderbot so much – they’re such a kind person, and also so cynical at times, it’s hilarious. Just a really great character. I knew you’d love this!

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