Tor.com content by

Martha Wells

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
All

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

All Systems Red

|| On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid. Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

The One Book That Inspired Me Before I Knew I Wanted to Write

One of my absolute favorite books when I was a kid in the 70s was Star Gate by Andre Norton, published in 1958. I found it first in the junior high school library, then managed to buy a used paperback copy — probably secretly; my father didn’t believe in letting me buy books I’d already read, even when they were only $1.00 or so. Even as a kid I was careful with books no matter how many times I read them, and it’s on my shelf today.

It’s one of those books that I didn’t realize was deeply encoded in my writing DNA until I went back and looked at it recently. It’s not like I ever forgot about the book, but it and the others like it were so deep under my skin I forgot there was a time before I read them. They formed my understanding of what SF/F should be. I read Tolkien and other epic fantasies, but Andre Norton got to me first, and planted seeds that eventually grew into mountain-trees.

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All Systems Red

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.

A tense science fiction adventure, Martha Wells’ All Systems Red is available May 2nd from Tor.com Publishing.

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Five Books with Unusual Methods of Travel

I’ve always loved books that take place in unfamiliar worlds, places with no creative or physical boundaries, as wide or wider than our own world. And the more territory that the characters and the reader can explore, the better! So here are five of my favorite books that use unconventional magical or super-science methods of travel.

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Series: Five Books About…

Five Books About Exploring and Communicating with Alien Cultures

Many of my favorite stories in science fiction and fantasy deal with exploring an alien culture. I really like to see different species learning to communicate with each other, or an alien viewpoint on a more familiar human culture. It often requires the writer to step outside the box and create a point of view that takes into account different physical and mental abilities, a different environment, a different way of thinking.

I’ve always been drawn to these kinds of stories, especially the ones that are told through alien viewpoints, especially non-human aliens. I’ve always liked getting into the point of view of characters that are different from me, and seeing the world through their eyes.

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Series: Five Books About…