All Systems Red – Martha Wells



Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor

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.



All Systems Red is a story about a team surveying a new planet told from the perspective of a security robot. 

Murderbot’s perspective is a lot of fun. The robot is a hacked version of what it’s supposed to be, so instead of being focused on the contract/clients, it’s more focused on watching television shows. It’s sassy and has as carefree an attitude as a robot can have. 
The other characters served their purpose in the story. They filled the reader in on world building information and gave Murderbot a contract/purpose. Other than that, they were just sort of there. This is usually a negative, however for the purpose of this story it works and allows the focus to be placed on Murderbot. 

The exploration of a new planet is one of my all time favourite science fiction plot lines. The exploration in this story was decent. The “mystery” is satisfactory, however I would have liked to discover more information, but that wasn’t the purpose of the story. The focus of the story is on Murderbot as a “person” rather than what’s going on around it. 


Overall, All Systems Red was a unique novella that sets up future stories that I will be definitely checking out. If you’re looking for a quick read that’s fun and unique, look no further!

3 thoughts on “All Systems Red – Martha Wells

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