Artificial Condition is the follow-up to Martha Wells’s Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning, New York Times bestselling All Systems Red It has a dark past–one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot.” But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
I am starting this review with a thought, it is simply how much I am loving reading Murderbot. I said in my previous review that I have struggled with Sci-Fi as a genre, I am still not sure why but Murderbot has really reignited my love of the genre. Now Artificial Condition picks up not long after All Systems Red ends, we find Murderbot travelling and still consuming media. After an event sparks it to find out more about its past, it meets the wonderful character of ART and its latest adventure begins.
Wells really develops the character of Murderbot in this installment, it is very much a character on a journey and questioning itself. This in itself is remarkably human, Murderbot is still one of the best depictions of Artificial Intelligence that you can read at the moment. One of the most important things for me in this book is that Wells develops the world. Coming from ASR, you will know that this universe is dominated by an organisation known as The Company. Wells pushes this further, you will find out more about the company, more about this corporate dominated world and the society that exists within it. This was and still is something I am very curious about, Wells is very good at universe development. We keep getting bits and pieces about this world, and in this book shows how society has developed, in every good, cool, and not so good way.
Murderbot at the moment seems to end up with humans, it will find a group in this book that will help it on its journey to discover itself. I personally feel that humans so far in this series are helping Murderbot to discover itself, they are there to help it realise what it means to be human. This is ultimately what I have taken from the series so far, what it means to be human and this in itself can be a profound and important question for many. The character is wonderful, it is a curious being and still an avid viewer of TV and media, being led into a situation it realises is connected to its past.
I enjoyed every moment of this installment, the banter between Murderbot and the ART is wonderful to begin with, they slowly begin to trust each other and form up as a team. I am really happy that I have made the decision to read this series, this one easily gets my seal of approval and if you haven’t started Murderbot then I highly recommend that you do.
Murderbot Diaries #2
TOR Books, 2020
Novella, 158 pages