I had heard all sorts of wonderful things about All Systems Red before I picked it up (I have a lot of Goodreads friends who know their stuff when it comes to sci-fi! Yes, I’m looking at you, Caro M.) Now I trust their recommendations even more, because this book is easily my best February read.
5 Reasons To Read All Systems Red
“Murderbot” is a jailbroken security android (cyborg? Well, you know.) Basically, SecUnits (as they’re called) function as remotely controlled synthetic human slaves, and they don’t get a say in any of what they’re doing, which is mostly murdering hostiles and getting mashed in the process. Murderbot though, a name it has sarcastically given itself (and will be henceforth referred to as ‘them’ in this review), have jailbroken themselves and would rather just watch hours and hours of sci-fi soaps than interact with humans, who actually give them anxiety fits. Murderbot is incredibly introverted, you see. But in order to not disclose:
a) having a mind
b) having free will
c) their predilection towards sci-fi soap operas,
Murderbot still has to do their job. Which is how they end up on a ship with a crew they actually don’t hate, but… on a mission nobody should be on. Hint: it’s a mission that is kind of hard to survive, and it’s clearly rigged.
Murderbot Is More Human Than The Actual Humans
Murderbot comes across as an incredibly introverted personality who is empathetic like any other human being (maybe more so?), but shy of it and trying to hide it even from their own self. Seeing them turn to face the corner when talking to humans or panic while trying not to have their fave scrunch up into a mask of despair when being spoken to was incredibly amusing – and not in a mean way. Murderbot’s shyness is SO relatable! You will love this character to bits. I know I did.
It’s Like A Doctor Who Episode With David Tennant
For any Doctor Who fans, this book is like a good episode from the Tennant days – a hostile planet pretending to be neutral, and things slowly get worse and worse and he crew has to figure out what is up. It’s just so good! My interest didn’t drop even once, while reading this. And I realized how much I miss a good Doctor Who episode from the old days. (Well… the “newer old days”!)
I thought this was topical on the whole #FEELS topic. Ha. Topic. Topical. (Don’t hit me.)
This book has incredibly good virtues and such an amazing moral atmosphere. And it’s presented in such a self-deprecating manner as well (Shruti, you must read this!) Murderbot is willing to throw themselves in danger to protect the ones they care about, even though they’re aware humans are not really supposed to care “back”. It’s really touching how Murderbot calls them “my humans”. I would say Murderbot is a true sci-fi knight.
Murderbot’s Gender Or Lack Thereof
Well, this is going to be hard to formulate. So, have you ever felt underrepresented? If you’re a woman, you most likely have. Because we’ve got like maybe 2 heroes who jump in and save the day. Other than that, guys always do all the saving. Murderbot though? They don’t really have a gender (and are often referred to as ‘it’ in the book, but I refuse – Murderbot has too much personality for that!) Anyway, despite probably looking like Terminator, Murderbot is not referred to as male – which is why I found myself imagining them more female than male by the middle of the book! I was surprised, but I figure it comes from wanting to see myself represented as able to do stuff, you know? And Murderbot I’d a character that lets you do that. It’s pretty great.
It’s Just So Funny!
So maybe this should have been the number one reason. This book will keep you laughing throughout the entire time you’re reading it, I mean, when you’re not having #feels. The manner it is written, and especially the manner Murderbot talks in is just priceless. I can’t wait for further installments of The Murderbot diaries!
Other Books You Might Like
I wish I could recommend you more books like that! But such gems are not common. And I would be very happy if you recommended me something similar. Meanwhile, I can only think of two books that fit the style – in terms of humor, at least. Redshirts has the same kind of “I can’t stop laughing” thing going on, and also shares some moments of poignancy by the end. It’s also impossible to put down. As for The Martian, some of the topics might be unrelated at all, but the main character is similar to Murderbot – very resourcefull, brave and has the same vein of humor in the way he talks. It’s also written in first person. I enjoyed both of these a lot!
You can buy the book here at Book Depository and buying using this link supports the blog.
Have you read All Systems Red? Maybe you have some similar recommendations for me?