I’ve read All Systems Red by Martha Wells over a dozen times over the last few years. I could pretend I’m rereading the series again in preparation for the newest book coming out in November – System Collapse – but I read the series a few times a year whether a new book is coming out or not.
Despite some of the less than lighthearted themes like murder, corporate owned space, generational indenture, and serious thoughts about what makes someone A Person, I find it is also quite optimistic and uplifting.
It’s like a cozy blanket when I’m feeling sort of grumpy or even when I’m not feeling grumpy – it’s full of real kindness, sarcasm that’s actually funny (and not just mean,) and told from the point of view of a sentient human-bot construct, Murderbot (pronouns it/its) that just wants to watch media serials (like the Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon) and the cute found family kind of thing that I’m a sucker for.
The Murderbot series also manages to be full of action and heroic battles that still manage to be somewhat self-effacing. The first book (novella) in the series is only 171 pages long – but there is expert level world building – and it sets the stage perfectly for future books. There is so much story going on, I’m simply impressed as a reader, but also from a craft perspective.
In addition to the text based books, I’ve also enjoyed the audiobooks – they’re narrated by Keven R Free, a prolific narrator, who has a fabulous voice, and brings the characters fully to life in his performance of the book.
For our anniversary last year, JC got me a collection of all of the Murderbot books, signed by the authour, and I thought that was a pretty thoughtful gift, especially considering how obsessed I am with the series. They are a welcome addition to my bookshelf.
This book may not be for you, but it’s very much for me, that said, I do know that if you like the first book, a commitment of a mere 171 pages, you’ll probably like the rest too.
I’ve pre-ordered System Collapse on Librofm (which is thankfully also being narrated by Kevin R Free) and I haven’t yet decided if I’ll get the hardcover on release day or someday down the line, but if I was going to pre-order or buy it, I’d recommend Bakka-Phoenix Books, Canada’s oldest Science Fiction and Fantasy bookstore. You can visit them in Toronto, or order online and they’ll ship it to you.