Book Reviews · POPSUGAR Reading Challenge · Science Fiction

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Week Eight

In last week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update, I mentioned that I was anticipating a very busy week. Those words turned out to be even more accurate than I could have predicted. Last Saturday evening, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital after a fall caused a burst fracture in one of her vertebrae. She underwent a procedure on Wednesday morning to cement that fracture together, and is recovering well. We’re very thankful for the excellent care that she has received from her doctors and nurses. They’ve been wonderful!

It was a good thing that I didn’t have a specific reading goal for this week, because I definitely would not have met it. Unsurprisingly, reading has not been very high on my list of priorities. I did have the opportunity to finish one book that fulfilled a POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompt, however, which I am excited to share with you.

A book with a robot, cyborg, or AI character…

All Systems Red is the first in a series of books called The Murderbot Diaries, written by Martha Wells. The main character and narrator is a SecUnit, a biological/machine construct whose job is to act as security for a team of humans as they survey an unnamed planet. The SecUnit, who privately refers to itself as “Murderbot,” has managed to hack the system that is supposed to control its actions, giving it the ability to make decisions for itself…which is fortunate for the humans it is supposed to protect.

“I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.”

All Systems Red, Martha Wells (page 9)

This was my second time reading All Systems Red, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. There is a lot to love about this novella. All Systems Red is a very exciting book, and it is extremely hard to put down for long periods of time.

In addition to creating a great story, Martha Wells also created a very relatable narrator. Despite the fact that Murderbot is a machine, its desires are so human. It wants many of the same things that we as human beings want: personal liberty, the right to make our own decisions, the chance to escape from uncomfortable social interactions, and the opportunity to go home after a rough day and watch a favorite television show without interruption.

If you’re a fan of science fiction and you haven’t had a chance to read All Systems Red, I highly recommend it. I’m sure that you will enjoy it just as much as I did. I’m really looking forward to continuing The Murderbot Diaries series, especially since the fifth book is due to be released in May of this year.

As of this week, I have completed a total of 18 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompts (out of 50). While I am anticipating another very busy week, I am also determined to continue making progress on the Reading Challenge. My reading goal for the upcoming week is to complete two additional POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompts.

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