40 pages 1 hour read

Martha Wells

All Systems Red

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 2017

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Symbols & Motifs

Sanctuary Moon

Murderbot’s favorite serial is the drama series The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon, which it refers to as Sanctuary Moon throughout the text. Sanctuary Moon symbolizes Murderbot’s need for alone time. It also represents the private life that Murderbot does not share with the Preservation team. When the novella opens, Murderbot is looking forward to finishing the planetary survey so it can watch episode 397 of the series. This detail is humorous, but it also establishes watching the series as a form of self-care for Murderbot. Wells works Murderbot’s need for privacy into the narrative through references to watching media, listening to music, or accessing other forms of media. Murderbot’s desire to spend its time watching Sanctuary Moon hints at the emotional needs other SecUnits may have that their governor modules prevent them from expressing.

Sanctuary Moon allows Murderbot to experience relationships and emotional interactions safely, without overstepping its boundaries, in contrast to its job as a SecUnit, in which it must face uncomfortable situations with its human team members. Despite its reluctance to form bonds with the Preservation team, Murderbot’s emotions motivate it to do its job. In Chapter 6, Murderbot notes: “I pictured […] Arada or Ratthi trapped by rogue SecUnits, and felt my insides twist.

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By Martha Wells

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