All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries
by Martha Wells
Cover Artist: Jaime Jones
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor.com Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765397539
Date: 02 May 2017 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
SecUnits, Robotic-Organic Security guards, are assigned to various tasks. All Systems Red is the story of one such murderbot. This particular unit has somehow hacked its governor giving it more freedom than most such units. It is responsible for protecting a scientific survey team examining an area on an unexplored, uninhabited planet. After an attack by an underground creature, the team questions the information they were provided about the survey.
They soon discover the planetary maps provided are incomplete. Another exploration unit is in another sector, so they contact it to learn whether they have more complete maps.
The crux of the story revolves around interactions between the SecUnit and the humans it protects. Wells reveals the story through the eyes of the SecUnit. Initially, it interacts as little as possible with humans, preferring instead to watch downloaded adventure programs.
Unable to contact the other survey unit via communication systems, the humans decide to go there and find out what has happened. After they are attacked, the SecUnit is forced to interact more closely with the humans. However, the threat to the humans is not over.
The ending, while predictable, will satisfy most readers. Wells is a prolific author with a number of science fiction and fantasy novels in print.