#ReadWomenSF Book Review: ALL SYSTEMS RED (April 2018)

We had our first #ReadWomenSF chat this evening and it went great! Big thank you to everyone who joined in. It would be nice to see some more fellas in next month’s though. Tom doesn’t really count.

PERSONAL VERDICT: I thought All Systems Red by Martha Wells was a very strong read. The main character of MurderBot was an instant classic protagonist; it had won me over by the fourth page. It’s cynical, jaded, TV-loving, avoidant, doesn’t like humans much. I suspect I warmed to it so much because I could relate so well. But MurderBot is more than it seems. Not only is it a security bot (or SecUnit) tasked with protecting its human scientists, it has also overriden its safety protocols. As it says at the start of the novella – it could now be a serial killer if it wanted. If there weren’t so many TV shows it would rather watch.



I won’t go into story details (that’s what the blurbs are for on Amazon and Goodreads). I’ll just say, I’d give it a solid 8.5/10 or 4.5 stars out of 5. Here’s what some of the others thought:



We had an interesting chat about how we envisaged MuderBot, too. At no point does Wells refer to it as she or he (as far as I can remember), and yet most of us attributed a gender to the SecUnit. I found myself thinking of her as female, and had to constantly check myself.



So yep, we’re all brainwashed. I think we need a psychiatrist specialising in gender studies involved on our chat so they can explain all this stuff to us. Anyhow, our first read was a success! And there are more MurderBot novellas on the way (the next landing in May). It will definitely be going on a lot of our reading lists.

Check out my next blog for May’s #ReadWomenSF book choice. Cheers!


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