Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Summary: 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…
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: Artificial Condition continues the adventures of Murderbot as it attempts to uncover more about its past and how it went rogue. The sequel to the Murderbot Diaries delivers the humor and mystery that made All Systems Red so great, with the ongoing development of Murderbot!
If you didn’t know, I love Tor novellas! I easily get immersed in the unique stories delivered with each one and a novella that I fell in love with last year was Martha Wells, All Systems Red!
It followed an AI/SEC Unit that has called itself Murderbot and is part of a group of scientists on a distant planet filled with coastal islands and forests, conducting research!
It essentially introduced us to Murderbot and allowed us to learn more about it and what exactly it was looking for as it also clued us into its mysterious past.
Artificial Condition is even more character-driven than the previous novella as Murderbot, now on its own, takes charge to find the now abandoned mining facility, Ganaka Pit, where it went rogue and seek the answers its been searching for about its past.
It was great we were able to finally get more insight to the story we heard all about in All Systems Red!
Told through a first person POV, what makes this novella so unique is that we’re able to follow Murderbot’s perspective, which is both serious and funny!
Murderbot, being an AI knows a good amount about people, but still finds itself being awkward around them and just prefers to watch and marathon dramas, like Sanctuary Moon!
Murderbot’s perspective is funny and kind of relatable, with its seriousness/awkwardness/honesty about interacting with people! It never feels awkwardly written or too direct with Wells’ writing.
The exploration of this world though Murderbot delivers just enough about the new side to this world, from the setting, atmosphere, and especially technology.
The tech of this futuristic world gets expanded on a lot more which added more depth than just general world building, which was a unique angle for this story!
What I loved about this sequel was the introductions to new characters like its newest clients and ART, a transport bot, that becomes a new friend to Murderbot and exploring their dynamic change and grow while in the beginning they didn’t really start off on the right foot.
One of the best parts of this novella, was definitely the dynamic between Murderbot & ART.
Wells also explored, in a really great way, the unique tech. through different bots and units!
While story mainly follows Murderbot’s journey to seek answers, there’s also an overarching story in which it gets a new set of clients as a security consultant + gets involved in an interesting case that involves getting a group’s research files back from untrustworthy mining director, Tlacey.
It was interesting to see more of the setting and different side of scientific research in this novella and especially through Murderbot’s new job.
I did find that the group Murderbot works with this time around wasn’t as memorable as the group from All Systems Red, and felt the plot was a bit slow. Though that is because I had hoped there would be even more page-time dedicated to Murderbot’s journey to uncover the mystery of its past. (But there was a minor cameo to a character from the All Systems Red crew, which did make me so happy!)
However, I really cannot wait to read novella 3, Rogue Protocol, because what also makes the Murderbot Diaries so great is that they always leave on an open + somewhat unexpected note, where your left wondering what will happen next!
Artificial Condition is a character-driven follow-up to All Systems Red! This science fiction/ speculative fiction novella series is immersive, thought-provoking, and entertaining all around! With character-development, unique world-building, and so much mystery, The Murderbot Diaries continues to be such a great sci-fi novella series!
The ending will definitely leave you wanting to uncover even more in Murderbot’s story!