All Systems Red
This was recommended to me by a friend, and a Hacker News thread. It was recommended as a short work of fiction, and it is – it’s a novella, at best.
“Murderbot” (a name she gave herself) is a SecUnit – a cyborg security unit, hired to protected a surveying crew on a wilderness planet. Near as I can tell, Murderbot’s gender is never revealed. I imagined her as female, though I have no idea why.
Murderbot disabled her “governor module,” making her a “free agent,” though no one knows this. She downloads a bunch of soap operas and watches them when she’s bored.
In her past, something very bad happened – she went crazy one day and killed an entire mining colony. She has no idea why. She protects her humans, but thinks they’re kind of silly. Throughout the book, she bonds a little with the team of surveyors, and that stresses her about a bit. She’s the strong, silent, distant type.
The plot is…thin. Bad Things start happening on the planet, and there’s intrigue afoot. Someone wants to surveyors dead. The reasoning gets into economics a bit.
The book is written in the first person. You’re inside Murderbot’s head and hearing her thoughts. And, again, it’s quite short. You could probably read it in 90 minutes, straight through.
I enjoyed it for what it was. I would have been let down if I made a bigger time investment, but it was a short, fun read.