BINGO – Rec’d by nearly every Cannonballer at this point
There is a Security Unit (SecUnit) assigned to protect a group of scientific researchers made up of humans and augmented humans. Typically, these SecUnits are cyborgs with a strong governor unit that very carefully controls the actions and decisions of the cyborg. And for good reason. SecUnits are designed and built to provide deadly security if needed. What this group of researchers don’t know is their SecUnit has broken his governor unit, watches soap operas at every available moment, and has a lot more control over his choices than is typical. He calls himself Murderbot.
Murderbot has to be one of the best characters that I’ve read in a very long time. The rest of the cast are also wonderfully developed for a work that is as short as this novella is. Dr. Menseh is particularly wonderful as the leader of this research group. She is simultaneously strong and resolute in her role but also compassionate towards her team, including Muderbot. Those two facets of Dr. Menseh never feel contradictory.
This was easy sci-fi. Not to mean that the writing was lazy or boring (far from it), but this was sci-fi that didn’t take itself too seriously. All Systems Red is set on a different planet with politics, economy and culture that are all different from our own, yet everyone is very relatable. The situations that Murderbot finds himself in and how he navigates those moments are so human despite the constant reminders that he is not. There’s something so wonderfully charming and endearing about his outsider view with an insider perspective, if that makes sense. The story itself is entertaining enough, but the real star of the novella is Murderbot. I cannot wait to read more.