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All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)
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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > All Systems Red -- Finished Reading **SPOILERS LIKELY**

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Nick (doily) | 977 comments If you've finished reading All Systems Red by Martha Wells, this is the place to share your thoughts with the group.

Caution: There will likely be **SPOILERS** in this thread.


Tizzy | 13 comments I read this a few months ago, shortly after release. Since it was less than a year ago, I saw no reason to reread for this comment.

I loved All Systems Red, mostly because I loved Murderbot. The novel is short, the story is light and rather uninteresting, but the main character more than makes up for it all and you just root for them. Every page I turned I did because I wanted to know what would happen to Murderbot and what it would think or how it would react to situations, as it was the character what made the novel.

It was just that type of science-fiction, one I had never read: Basically a character study. I loved it, and I also loved its sequel, and I can't recommend it enough. If you're looking for lots of action and shifting loyalties and "let's save the world" storylines, this isn't the book for you. But if character-driven books are your thing, and if you want to laugh and cry with one of the most peculiar protagonists in sci-fi, this is the book for you.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 237 comments I love Murderbot's snarky responses!


Suzanne | 98 comments I love Murderbot too! I swear I think the same things sometimes.


message 5: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Burke (sueburke) | 9 comments I thought this was an many ways a very standard kind of science fiction story (nothing wrong with that) except for Murderbot. It's physically strong but emotionally fragile, and that conflict drove the story.


message 6: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken (ogi8745) | 1367 comments I enjoyed it immensely. Murderbot was an interesting character. Guess my only problem with the book was it was too short. From the looks of things the whole Murderbot story is a series of Novellas


message 7: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken (ogi8745) | 1367 comments Something else came up during my reading

In my head I gave Murderbot female qualities. Her voice in my head was a womans. About halfway through Murderbot mentioned no sexual organs. I just thought it was an interesting way my mind went


Tizzy | 13 comments Ken wrote: "Something else came up during my reading

In my head I gave Murderbot female qualities. Her voice in my head was a womans. About halfway through Murderbot mentioned no sexual organs. I just thought..."


This happened to me too. I knew Murderbot had no gender, as it mentions it a couple times over the book, but I felt its voice was decidedly female and even today after reading the second novel I have a hard time not seeing it as a woman.


message 9: by Joelle.P.S (last edited Jul 08, 2018 05:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joelle.P.S | 41 comments Same here. I've found in the past that I tend to start a 1st-person-narrative book assuming protagonist gender = author gender. Most books quickly confirm or refute that assumption, but occasionally a book does neither, because gender is either not present in the character or not important to the story.
(Lock In)


message 10: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Burke (sueburke) | 9 comments I saw Murderbot as female, too, even though I knew it had no gender. I think I know why. Stereotypically, men are aggressive, but Murderbot tries to avoid frightening people or stepping out of its limited role. Women are dependent, and Murderbot is essentially a slave, which is as dependent as you can get. Women are stereotypically submissive, and Murderbot must follow orders (or pretend to). Women are emotional, and so is Murderbot -- in fact it's in emotional turmoil. And women are not self-confident, and Murderbot doesn't trust itself.

I repeat: These are stereotypes -- old stereotypes -- and they are not at all true in real life. Still, we are trained to expect men and women to act in certain ways, and unconsciously that will effect how we interpret behavior.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 237 comments Sue wrote: "I saw Murderbot as female, too, even though I knew it had no gender. I think I know why. Stereotypically, men are aggressive, but Murderbot tries to avoid frightening people or stepping out of its ..."

Completely agree.


message 12: by Chris, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (heroncfr) | 618 comments Mod
I love Murderbot! What a great character.

Like others, I “hear” the character as female, although I can’t quite say why. I’ll call her “she” below.

I think the most interesting aspect is Murderbot’s changing relationship with the crew. Saving the crew member makes her seem more human; her humanity is reinforced when they see her without her armor. Yet she doesn’t seem to want to be more human, as long as she can retain her free will.

I think my favorite character trait is that she likes trashy entertainment.

Like others, I am a bit daunted by the price of the subsequent novellas. For that price, I expect a novel! But I do like Murderbot....


Silvana (silvaubrey) Yeah, the price is what stops me from buying the second book. Way too expensive. I will wait till it reaches 5 bucks at least.


Christine | 620 comments Silvana wrote: "Yeah, the price is what stops me from buying the second book. Way too expensive. I will wait till it reaches 5 bucks at least."
Get it from your local library


message 15: by Silvana (last edited Jul 09, 2018 05:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Silvana (silvaubrey) Christine wrote: "Silvana wrote: "Yeah, the price is what stops me from buying the second book. Way too expensive. I will wait till it reaches 5 bucks at least."
Get it from your local library"


We don't have the luxury of great libraries with SFF books here in Indonesia. The nearest library is two hours away, state owned, with outdated reference books.


Christine | 620 comments Silvana wrote: "Christine wrote: "Silvana wrote: "Yeah, the price is what stops me from buying the second book. Way too expensive. I will wait till it reaches 5 bucks at least."
Get it from your local library"

W..."


Too bad


message 17: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jul 09, 2018 06:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 237 comments Silvana, this makes me sad about your access to libraries.

I only recently became aware, that while my area has more access to books than can be read in a lifetime, the part of my country called the South has vast areas without any libraries, too. I had believed my country fully supported access to 'free' (must live in the area of a library to ask for a checkout card) public libraries, but actually not even in a rich country are libraries available to all citizens. Many states have refused the building of local libraries, believe it or not, because, they say, they refuse to raise local taxes, but the real reason, of course, is to keep their local folk uneducated as much as possible. Politicians and their games.

I live in an area of America called the Pacific Northwest. I can go to three library systems, and two of them have dozens and dozens of branches. I can also request a book if these three systems do not have a book, and through mutual arrangement between libraries systems (systems being under control of a city or county) I can get a book transfered to my system. For instance, I recently requested a book which came from a distant University's library, which I saw from the attached delivery slip when I picked up the book from my local library. From what I have read in our newspapers (also available in our libraries free of charge to read) my area is the number one area of America in reading books. It puzzled me until I learned areas of America did not have any libraries at all.

It is a matter of politics and poverty. Is it a correlation the poorest places have the least educated voters and no libraries? I don't know, but it makes me feel sad.


Silvana (silvaubrey) Thank you, April. This could be another thread on its own, talking about libraries :)

Back to Murderbot, I also automatically 'assign' it as a her in my mind, I guess you guys have mentioned some reasons that I could definitely relate to. With the novel Lock In, I also found myself assigning a gender role. But in a novelette I read recently The Secret Life of Bots I did not assign anything. Do you think it is because of the writing, or because we got more personality details from the Murderbot?

Anyway, this book definitely opened the gateway for more bot-related works lately. I also like the idea of a novella series.


Tizzy | 13 comments Silvana wrote: "Thank you, April. This could be another thread on its own, talking about libraries :)

Back to Murderbot, I also automatically 'assign' it as a her in my mind, I guess you guys have mentioned some ..."


If you know any other great bot-related works, I'm open for suggestions.

As for the novella series, I like the idea but I'm not too fond of the price. However, since I'm all about impulse restraint I bought the second book on release, read it, and never looked back (it is very good). And will do likewise with the third book, releasing next month.

Guys, don't be like me.


message 20: by Silvana (last edited Jul 10, 2018 12:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Silvana (silvaubrey) Tizzy wrote: "Silvana wrote: "Thank you, April. This could be another thread on its own, talking about libraries :)

Back to Murderbot, I also automatically 'assign' it as a her in my mind, I guess you guys have..."


For starters, anything Asimov robot novels. For latest works, try Autonomous (interesting gender discussion in there) and the Hugo-nominated fluffy short story Fandom for Robots.

For prices, let's see the comparison. Binti series books are all 3.39. JY Yang's Tensorate series are also in that price range.

However, Murderbot and Wayward Children are mostly above 9 bucks. What is going on, Tor.com? :D


message 21: by Bruce (new)

Bruce (bruce1984) Silvana wrote: "Back to Murderbot, I also automatically 'assign' it as a her in my mind, I guess you guys have mentioned some ..."

I don't know about Murderbot being a "her", but definitely an introvert. The Audible reader was male, so I just assumed a guy.


Tizzy | 13 comments Silvana wrote: "For starters, anything Asimov robot novels. For latest works, try Autonomous (interesting gender discussion in there) and the Hugo-nominated fluffy short story Fandom for Robots.

For prices, let's see the comparison. Binti series books are all 3.39. JY Yang's Tensorate series are also in that price range.

However, Murderbot and Wayward Children are mostly above 9 bucks. What is going on, Tor.com? :D "


Thanks! Added some of that stuff to my Amazon wishlist/deal hunting list :P

I've been meaning to get into Asimov for a while, but his books are on the pricier side for ebooks written decades ago by a man who's long gone and seem to rarely go on sale, so I keep waiting :(


message 23: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken (ogi8745) | 1367 comments The price seems expensive, I was thinking about the second book, only out in hardcover, roughly about half (a bit higher) than a full book, the ebook prices are strange. 10.99 for the second book, 3.99 for the first. I am going to assume when it comes out as tradepaper the price will drop accordingly. Unless they are reeling us in with the cheap first book, only time will tell

As for the first person voice, I just assumed the author's name, but I have to assume her style has a lot to say too.

Another book great with non gender indicators is Anne Leckie's Ancillary books.


message 24: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick (doily) | 977 comments Silvana wrote: "Thank you, April. This could be another thread on its own, talking about libraries :)

Back to Murderbot, I also automatically 'assign' it as a her in my mind, I guess you guys have mentioned some ..."


Silvana,

If you would like to comment on the access to library situation, especially concerning this particular series, with members who have not read the book yet, I have set up a conversational topic in the "Roll Call" thread which you can respond to. I find the whole subject fascinating -- I do not know what I would do without access to a good library.


Random (rand0m1s) | 900 comments I read this while on vacation. Both the book and vacation were way too short.

Have to say I loved it. Humorous, sarcastic, and am engaging character study.

Not only women are interested in trashy tv. My brothers and all of their friends got hopelessly addicted to soaps during their college years. In fact, one of the friends still watches them 35 years later.

I have to admit, by default I usually assume male unless something triggers me otherwise. My age coining through I assume. Interestingly enough, I never hear the character voices when I read text. Or, for that matter, see or visualizer them. All aspects I normally consider unimportant unless there is something very specific to say otherwise.

Funny given my love of audio books really.

The price of the second story is ridiculous. I'd grumble on that price for a full sized book. For a novella, there is no way in the world. Which is a pity. It's the publisher who sets price, not the author. It's seems weird for TOR to do this.

In regards to libraries, I'm in a weird situation. I leave in a greater metropolitan area and the King County Public Library is great from what I understand. However there are three towns in king county that are not part of that system and I happen to live in one of them. Technically it's not a problem because I work in a town that is and all I would have to do is prove that to get my card.

The library in my town is basically small, difficult to get to, no real parking, and pretty useless. When I was a teen, I can remember spending hours and hours at the library just reading. Here ta1ahere are like 5 chairs in that place and you wouldn't want to sit in one for more than 5 minutes. You can find more comfortable seats at a McDonalds.

However that then comes back to my biggest problem. Once I get a book, I do not want to give it back. :D


Christine | 620 comments Random wrote: "I read this while on vacation. Both the book and vacation were way too short.

Have to say I loved it. Humorous, sarcastic, and am engaging character study.

Not only women are interested in trashy..."


Random, KCLS is the biggest library system in the country and is worth going out of your way to get a library card


message 27: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kathi | 3381 comments Mod
Finally got to this novella today—a quick read, for sure!

I thought the dialog was great, especially some of Murderbot’s comments to itself. I had just watched an episode of The Expanse before I read this, and had the image of Bobbie Draper, the Martian Marine, in my mind as I started reading. But somewhere along the way, I started seeing a more male, or at least, more androgynous character. I’m not sure why.

Certainly the story is really character-driven. That fact, and the length of the book, give short shrift to both Murderbot’s backstory and the reasons behind the conflict on the planet.

I am uncertain about purchasing more books in the series—they are a bit high priced for novellas.

I am biased toward novels and have never much cared for short stories and novellas—I nearly always feel like too much is missing or left out. That probably accounts for my rating of 3 stars rather than 4.


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