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review 2017-12-12 21:38
β€œAll Systems Red – The Murderbot Diaries #1” by Martha Wells – fresh, fun, science fiction novella
All Systems Red - Martha Wells

I picked up “All Systems Red” because it was one of the Best Science Fiction Nominees in the GoodReads Choice Awards 2017   It’s my first Martha Wells book, but I’m sure it won’t be my last.

 

I’ve been reading Science Fiction for more than forty years and it’s rare for me to come across a novella as fresh, engaging and original as “All Systems Red”.

 

Told from the point of view of a part machine, part organic, Security Bot that secretly refers to itself as “Murderbot”, “All Systems Red” is a turn-the-page-I have-to-know-what-happens-next read. Murderbot has gone rogue, is proud of himself for not having murdered everybody yet and mostly wants to be left alone to watch entertainment videos. Strange and violent happenings that threaten “his” humans mean that he has to put the entertainments aside and take risks to keep his humans alive.

 

Murderbot’s interior monologue is simple, alien and compelling. He is not human but he is not just a machine either. He’s a person that you end up rooting for.

 

The mystery at the heart of the book is relatively simple and is soon resolved but a whole universe of expectations and rules and behaviours are revealed along the way.

 

The ending is pretty much perfect. It allows “All Systems Red” to work as a standalone novel while leaving me hoping that there will be a sequel soon..

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review 2017-12-10 20:04
McDuff Comes Home - Rosemary Wells,Susan Jeffers

 

A nice, simple story with a happy ending.

Like the first book in the series, McDuff finds himself in a bit of a predicament, but everything works out in the end. Very simple writing, but a cute story.

For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

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review 2017-12-10 16:05
McDuff Moves In - Rosemary Wells,Susan Jeffers

 

A simple story about a dog's journey to find a home. Heartwarming and enduring.

The narration is very simple, but it is a cute story.

 

For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle.

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review 2017-12-07 00:38
ARC Review: A Christmas Promise by K.C. Wells
A Christmas Promise - K.C. Wells

It's no secret to anyone who follows and/or knows me that I adore the books this author writes, and this Christmas story is no exception.

The book begins with Micah Trant, early 20s, driving home at night, in the snow, somewhere in Wyoming, when the lights of his car shine upon what looks to be just a bundle of clothing. Micah stops the car and realizes that he has found a badly beaten young man who's nearly frozen to death. 

Micah immediately takes the young man to the nearest hospital and refuses to leave him. Greg, the young man, may be a stranger, but Micah will not abandon him alone in a hospital, and certainly not once he finds out the extent of Greg's injuries. 

Greg came to Wyoming to deliver a letter from his late father to Joshua Trant - who just happens to be Micah's father. Once that information is revealed, both Micah and Joshua convince Greg to come home with them to recuperate. Micah and his father and sister are still grieving the loss of their mother and wife not quite two years ago, while Greg is still struggling with the more recent loss of his father and the many years he missed out on truly knowing the man, since he was so very young when they divorced. 

This story is a sweet and quiet romance as feelings start to develop between Micah and Greg, and also a tale of lost love, not just once but twice, bittersweet memories and grief for what might have been, if it hadn't been for societal norms and disapproving parents. It's about family, the one you're born into and the one you choose for yourself. It's about missing what you've lost, but also learning to live again. 

Joshua, Micah's father, and Naomi, Micah's younger sister, play a huge role in this book as well - the focus isn't on the slowly developing romance - and they were both very supportive of Micah, his art, and his sexuality. I would love for Joshua to get his own story in a future book, one in which he learns to open himself up to living again and perhaps finding someone to spend the rest of his life with. My heart broke while reading about his grief, and the deep and abiding love he had for both Greg's father when they were mere teenage boys, and his wife, whom he lost too soon.

There are many poignant moments within, and as days turn into weeks, and the Trants and Greg prepare for Christmas, the story becomes about shared laughs and smiles, and finding joy again.

This is not a story filled with sexy times - while Micah may be a bit more experienced than Greg, neither has been in a relationship before, and Greg has only recently come to terms with his own sexuality. He's not out to his mother, and never had a chance to come out to his father either. There are tentative hugs that turn into sweet kisses and nights spent in the same bed, cuddling. And it's not about the sex - I think having Micah and Greg go at it repeatedly and explicitly would have been very detrimental to the story and the message of this book.

I think this book truly showcases the talent of this author - conveying real emotions with realistic, fully developed and complex characters that the reader can connect with and cheer on. 

Recommend holiday reading!


** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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text 2017-12-05 03:55
I really enjoyed this novella
All Systems Red - Martha Wells

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

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

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

 

Review:

 

Dear Martha Wells,

 

I found out about this novella in the same place where I get most of my SFF recommendations - Mike Glyer's "File 770".

 

I was always drawn to the stories featuring androids of all kinds and enjoyed reading about how those characters perceive themselves in the stories and what made them tick.

 

I thought Murderbot was a great character, I loved Its voice so much. The character has It pronoun in the books and when others say It the Murderbot does not seem to mind, so I am going to continue referring to them as It.

 

Basically blurb gives you a perfect set up. Murderbot is assigned to the team who has important stuff to do on the certain planet , but somebody or certain somebodies decides to sabotage them and Murderbot does its best to help "my humans".

 

We are in Murderbot's head all the time and the story is written from Its first person POV, therefore it makes sense to me that Murderbot has the most in-depth characterization. I did not think any of the human characters came even close to that depth, but they were okay, definitely interesting chess pieces who had potential if the writer would decide to give them bigger parts to play in the series ( yes it is a series, at least two more books are coming up next year based on what I saw on Amazon).

 

So, who is Murderbot? This droid has a dark past and for that reason refers to itself as Murderbot. It was however a wonderful character who wanted to do the job well and protect the humans to the best of its ability.

 

Murderbot also did not want to have any ( or as little as possible) social interactions with the team it was protecting and just wanted to be left alone to watch the serial it loved for many hours. In other words Murderbot was shy and it made for some delightfully snarky monologues we were privy to.

 

"Confession time: I don’t actually know where we are. We have, or are supposed to have, a complete satellite map of the planet in the survey package. That was how the humans decided where to do their assessments. I hadn’t looked at the maps yet and I’d barely looked at the survey package. In my defense, we’d been here twenty-two planetary days and I hadn’t had to do anything but stand around watching humans make scans or take samples of dirt, rocks, water, and leaves. The sense of urgency just wasn’t there. Also, you may have noticed, I don’t care."

 

 

"What was I supposed to do, kill all humans because the ones in charge of constructs in the company were callous? Granted, I liked the imaginary people on the entertainment feed way more than I liked real ones, but you can’t have one without the other."

 

"Yes, talk to Murderbot about its feelings. The idea was so painful I dropped to 97 percent efficiency. I’d rather climb back into Hostile One’s mouth."

 

 

We get to see how action/adventure plot makes our narrator (Murderbot) not grow up exactly, because its not a child, but I guess figuring out something more than they want from life and I thought it was a lot of fun and look forward to their new adventures.

 

Grade B/B+

 

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