Diversity, Fiction, Humor, Loved-it, Rising star, Scifi, Well known books

[Scifi+humour review] Ridiculously Introverted Murderbot vs Humanity – 1:0 All Systems Red by Martha Wells

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.)

The Virtues

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!

Redshirts   The Martian

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?

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Avada Kedavra
3 years ago

I enjoyed this book a lot too but the ending felt rushed, maybe because it’s a novella. The build up was great but it ended quite abruptly.

Avada Kedavra
3 years ago

Yeah that didn’t sit well with me. I wish the Murderbot had stayed with the team. I expected the team to have another adventure somewhere else in the next part. It was quite abrupt – the ending.

3 years ago
Reply to  Avada Kedavra

It is, after all, a novella, and the format is simply more limited than a novel. I loved every word of it, and am thrilled that there are more to come.

Avada Kedavra
3 years ago

And I agree with you – both Redshirts and Martian were like this book.

Avada Kedavra
3 years ago

None that I can think of. Let me see if I can find more.

Utopia State of mind
3 years ago

I AM SO EXCITED, I have this and the sequel on my shelf, but bumping it up now!

Utopia state of mind
3 years ago

It isn’t! I have an arc of it

Lisa @TenaciousReader
3 years ago

I think you had me just with “murderbot”

Lisa @TenaciousReader
3 years ago

I have seen the title//cover, but havent really read much about it before. 🙂

Jenn @ Bound to Writing

I’ve never heard of this book before, but it sounds awesome! I would read it just for Murderbot! Lovely review! 🙂

Tori @ InToriLex
3 years ago

This sounds like a great read, I definitely want to check out. I love sci-fi and am happy this explores gender in a unique way!

3 years ago

I haven’t read this book, nor the ones you recommended, but I’m intrigued by the story! Hopefully, I will get to it soon and like it as much as you did!

Brian Joseph
3 years ago

This sounds so good. It sounds like the kind of humor that I really like. I loved the David Tennet Doctor Who days. I also must read Red Shirts soon.

Ivyclad Ideas
3 years ago

I need to read more sci-fi! Maybe once I’m finished with uni…:(
Great review – I’ll try to keep this one in mind. 🙂

Daniela Ark
3 years ago

hell yeah for female robotic heroines that are more humans that humans. I have read very few AI books but I have loved everyone of them! I should read this one!

3 years ago

I haven’t read Illuminae!
“I, Robot” and “Six” are the first that come to mine Six is an AWESOME book where the most of the characters are disabled

Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

Oooh I didn’t realize it was funny, too! I bought this awhile back and keep meaning to read it. Now I definitely need to get to it ASAP! Fabulous review!

Aimee (Aimee, Always)
3 years ago

I love books that are funny, despite having lots of lessons to learn and good moral intentions to embrace–which is probably why I loved Rick Riordan’s books. Those are probably COMPLETELY different from All Systems Red, but the way you described this book tugged at my bookish heartstrings. Lovely review, Evelina!

3 years ago

Collapsing Empire by Scalzi was also hilarious! And he managed to write one of my fave female characters of all times (Kiva Lagos) 😀

I had all systems red on my tbr, but then i took it off during a purge. I’m gonna put it back now… 😀
Lovely review!

Laura Thomas
3 years ago

Okay. I loved your review and I’m going to give this one a shot. Don’t you just love armadillos! They’re like giant roly poly bugs. LOL

Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

Wait wait wait… the character is named Murderbot? OKAY, BUT I AM TOTALLY OKAY WITH THIS NAME. 😮

I haven’t read this one or any of the ones you’ve mentioned, though I’ve heard of the Martian (probably thanks to the movie – thanks pop culture). Wonderful review, Evelina! 🙂

Lara @ Words With Lara

I’ve heard so many good things about this! I neeeeeed to read it! Awesome review, you’ve just made me want to read it even more. I must get hold of a copy ASAP

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages

I haven’t heard about this book. But it is no surprise as I am way too less interested in sci-fi books 😛 I love sci-fi movies but to read a sci-fi book? well, that idea overwhelms me. But yes, this book definitely sounds interesting because of that Murderbot. It is such a funny name 😀
Oh I loved Martian. yeah the movie, because I haven’t read that either 😛

Lilyn George
3 years ago

Had no urge to read this book, at all, until I read your review. An episode of Dr. Who from the Tennant days sold me!

The Orangutan Librarian

I absolutely love your title for this review!! 😀 And your reasons make this sound like a must read! And I love the Martian as well, so to hear it compared makes me really keen to check it out as well 😀

Darque Dreamer
3 years ago

I’m going to have to give this a read because of your awesome review! Doctor Who nostalgia? Sign me up!

3 years ago


Genderless cyborg, funny stuff ongoing along side bad things happening YESS I WANT IT I VOLUNTEER TO READ IT!!

You probably all know when you read a review about a book and you already know that you would need it in your life right? This is how I feel after reading your review!! I need to see if it is translated in Bulgarian or if we have it in some bookshop so I could buy it!!

3 years ago

I love this review, and I want to read this book even more now! <3 (That being said, female and male aren't the only genders! If Murderbot's gender isn't specified in the book or by the author then I suppose you're free to see them as female, but not being male doesn't automatically equal being female :))

Ellie @ Books at the End of the Alphabet

This book has been on my TBR for aaaages, and your review has reminded me that I really need to read it soon – it sounds like exactly my kind of book!

Lashaan Balasingam
3 years ago

This sounds soooooooo gooood!!! I really want to give it a shot now. Murderbot being more human than a human sounds cute as hell though hahahah Absolutely awesome review, adding it to my TBR!!! 😀


[…] week we had a review for one of my surefire favorites of the year, All Systems Red by Martha Wells. I recommend this book wholeheartedly! Then we also had a review for The Feed, a […]

3 years ago

My goodness this book! I don’t quite know what to make of it, but I am LOVING the humour in it!

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

This sounds brilliant! I am always happy to get more scifi recs and this sounds like the exact kind of book I would enjoy. Scifi is one of my less read genres simply because there’s so much out there and it’s hard to find the really good books out there. I’ll be sure to add this one to my list. I love that it’s funny and that there’s a shy robot in it. I am totally down for this book.

3 years ago

I loved Murderbot! It was so good and when the next one comes out I’ll be dropping everything!

3 years ago

Awesome! Can’t wait to hear how it is!!!

Olivia-Savannah Roach
3 years ago

I LOVE that you specified it’s like a doctor who episode with David Tennant. The with David Tennant part is vital, of course 😉 I love sci-fi so I might pick this one up. And shy characters are so cuuuute.

Jenna @ Falling Letters

Hmmm, I’m usually resistant to scifi but this one sounds pretty creative! Your reference to David Tennant Doctor Who also has me intrigued. These kinds of episodes (crew exploring a hostile planet) were my favourite!


[…] sure you’ll love it. And if you haven’t read the first part, read my review of All Systems Red […]

2 years ago

Books with some similarity (and great books): the _Expendables_ series by James Alan Gardner. Most of them are more about the job-and-alienation part of Murderbot’s world, but _Commitment Hour_ thinks a lot about the assignment of gender roles.


[…] have to admit, it lacked the spark that the two previous episodes had. You can read my reviews of All Systems Red, aka Murderbot #1 here and Artificial Condition, aka Murderbot #2 here. For those who have not read my previous reviews, […]