Review: All Systems Red, The Murderbot Diaries


Martha Wells
Tor, 2017

4.5 out of 5 Robots


Indifferent robot gone rogue. A team stranded with an unknown enemy. Search and report. Murderous robots and a huge helping of conspiracy.


The Protagonist

Holy hell, this protagonist is one of my FAVORITE robots. Hands down. And I love robots. Here’s why it rocks:

  1. It’s sassy
  2. It couldn’t care less about anything
  3. It uses its autonomy to watch space operas (as opposed to overcoming its human oppressors, trying to control the universe, etc.)
  4. It’s good when given full control

The story is pretty simple, a point A to point B story without too much of a surprise. It’s a good story, but the real shine comes from this hilarious character, who is hilarious because of his subtleties. It reminds me of the indifferent robot in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, except it can actually do things and ends up saving the humans. To top it all off, it calls itself Murderbot, which couldn’t fit less with its personality and priorities.

Everything About the Narration

More of the protagonist. It’s great first-person narration by an indifferent robot who doesn’t want to be there, but still tells the story. You can trust the narrative because Murderbot doesn’t have a reason to lie. The story is clear and fun to follow, while not being super complex.


Robot, Murder Mystery, Space Opera, Colonization


“As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.” – Page 1

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