Thursday, December 17, 2020

Review: All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries

I randomly checked out Martha Well's All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries and was hooked after a few minutes of listening. From there, I devoured the book, squeezing in listening time whenever I had a free moment.

The book checked all my Sci-Fi boxes: likable characters, clever problem solving, a plot that moved and a future that felt both familiar and alien. I liked that it wasn't just the main character who had flashes of brilliance. The scientists, while out of their depth, step up to help fight for their survival. The book manages to explore lofty topics like what it means to be human and have free will, all while keeping a brisk pace and not losing focus on the the story.

There were other touches about the book that worked, too. It's short! Not exactly short-story-short, but at a little more than 3 hours it's a fraction of the length of most fiction I listen to. I also liked the implied diversity of the crew. From the names, I'm guessing that most of the characters are either of Indian or Asian descent. This, too, was a welcome variation from most of the fiction I read.

It's not unusual for me to finish a book in a series, truly love it, and then intentionally stop reading that series. Childish, yes, but it let's me savor what I just read. In the case of the Murderbot Diaries I'm too hooked: as soon as I finished book one, I reserved book two. This series is too well written to put down.

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