All Systems Red – Martha Wells

This is the first book in the The Murderbot Diaries series.

The novel relates, in first person robot, a mission to an unremarkable planet. The scientists – on contract to a large corporation – conducting surface tests, have been assigned a security android – a Murderbot – to protect the company’s assets.

This particular Murderbot has hacked its own governor module, but nobody else knows about it. It free to make its own decisions.

As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

All the Murderbot wants is to be left alone to learn more about itself; preferably away from humans that it has a strong aversion to. In its almost impregnable armoured suit and opaque helmet faceplate, it is able to keep a distance from the scientists, but can’t even stand being cooped up in the same room as them.

When larger science team on the same planet drop off the map, the lead scientist decides to investigate, taking her reluctant Murderbot with her. All the Murderbot’s entreaties to stay at home and leave well enough alone, come to nowt.

The main character is the Murderbot, and its dessicatingly dry and dead pan humour makes All Systems Red a very compelling and funny SF book.

Something, only ever alluded to in this Murderbot’s past – an episode at a mining colony when many people died –  hangs over the Murderbot, but its files have been compromised about the incident. The second book, Artificial Condition, deals with that incident. Both books I would recommend as very readable, snappy Science Fiction.  4/5 Globular Clusters