My “award winner” bingo square belongs to Martha Wells’ murderbot opener “All Systems Red,” purchased from another CBR review, but I’m a bad person and can’t remember who to credit. Let’s just give the glory to Emmalita.
Anyway, I was charmed by the plot description of an AI gone unexpectedly rogue who uses their newfound sentience to… laze about, hide their feelings, and binge watch a soap opera. My conciousness is neither unique nor hard-won, and I pretty much spend my life doing the same, honestly. How could I not buy this book with that synopsis?
The execution was somewhat hampered by the length, however. I managed to overlook that this won the Hugo for best novella, and it is a short 150 pages. There are also too many human characters to keep track of, when murderbot is really the only one worth knowing. I’d feel worse about that assessment of the characters, except it’s obvious Wells feels the same. There’s the good guy, the jerk, murderbot, and everything else is set dressing. How am I supposed to care about six interchangeable meat bags (plus or minus a well-meaning clueless ally or gruff semi-villain) when our hero passes a slacker Turing test by getting righteously indignant about plot points from their favorite tv show.
This is one of a series, so I’m intrigued enough for more; even if I could’ve done with far more the next time around.