Artificial Condition By Martha Wells furthers The Murderbot Diaries with the second installment. Man is this series good, I described All Systems Red the first novella in the series as a character piece with burst of action, and this one continues in that same style. The story picks up exactly where the last one left off, where Murderbot, the A. I., is on a mission to find himself by unlocking his past. I love how Martha Wells wrote Murderbot’s personality as a nonconforming teenager who would rather spend copious amount of time consuming media than interacting with a person or another machine for that matter. The conversations about life and past really made me me think, and the humor of being more human and all the problems that come with it.
The Plot: Muderbot is a self aware A.I. (who calls himself Muderbot, but not out loud) is on a search to find out his past, a while ago he went on a murderous rampage killing and had his memory scrubbed, and the event covered up by the corporation that owned him. No that he is rogue droid a free from the companies grasp, he has decided to investigate the grounds to see if he can find out if was an accident of if he chose to murder willingly. The planet is heavily guarded and the only way he can get on the planet is by pretending to be an augmented human, which means changing everything about himself and trying to become more human.
What I Liked: My favorite new character is ART the operating unit of the transport vessel. ART is so powerful has grown bored of his day to day task and sees an opportunity in Murderbot to go rogue and have some fun. I loved the dynamic between ART and a begrudging Murderbot that just wants to be left alone. I loved that Murderbot is basically a teenager and in this novel he kind of has puberty as he has to turn on his hair growth. I loved the conversation about adding sex and Murderbot’s strong reaction to it. The action is less than the first novella but I enjoyed the writing of the action more in this one. The humor makes this novella flow really quickly.
What I Disliked: in the series so far the villains have all been very one-sided and all about corporate greed, it would be really nice to see a more dimensional villain in future installments. I felt the stakes weren’t high enough in the end, I never felt a true danger for Murderbot.
Recommendations: I am loving this series, and totally recommend it. I was just announced by Martha Well that the fifth Murderbot Diaries book will be a full novel not a novella called Network Effect and will out in 2020. I did recommend the last one for teens, this one does amp the use of curse words up, but if you’re okay with your kid reading them then I would recommend this book in the series. I would recommend reading All Systems Red first this novella starts off exactly where it left off and even gave me some closure for the last story. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and will be continuing this series soon.