Science Fiction Book Reviews

Review: Artificial Condition, The Murderbot Diaries

Wow, Artificial Condition was a wonderful book. I love this series. Great main character with a dark back story and hilarious habits. Tight writing with fast-paced incidents and a longer narrative stretching between books. It’s sci-fi meets mystery meets action adventure. Dare I say this second book was even better than the first…

ARTIFICIAL CONDITION: THE MURDERBOT DIARIES

Martha Wells
Tor.com, 2018

5 out of 5 Robots

UPDATE: It was pointed out on Twitter that I erroneously assigned a gender to the main character. I apologize for this mishap. I’ve updated the pronoun to ‘it’ following my review of the first Murderbot book.

QUICK SUMMARY

Murderbot is back! Traveling in search of answers to its dark past. Finds an unexpected ally on its journey. Converts them to soap opera fandom. Helps some humans overcome their stupidity. Kicks some ass and finds answers along the way

WHY I LOVED IT

ALREADY WELL ESTABLISHED

I was already a big fan of Murderbot after reading All Systems Red. It’s such a brilliant concept – a security robot capable of horrifying violence who only wants to watch soap operas and avoid human contact. Its introversion is admirable. In this next entry to the Murderbot Diaries, it’s opening up a bit and becoming more human, something that it loathes. It tells itself that it just wants to watch feeds until the end of time, getting up to date on its stories, but in reality, it can’t handle leaving innocent humans in the lurch when it could be helping them. It seems as though it’s moving beyond the typical feelings of anger, frustration and annoyance – something that would make it human for sure. After this entry, I’m just as excited to continue reading Murderbot stories (two more entries to the series are scheduled for later this year).

INTRODUCTION OF A NEW BOT

Murderbot unexpectedly encounters an all-powerful bot on the transport ship it sneaks onto. While it seems scary at first, it eventually becomes the ally Murderbot needs to get the answers it’s looking for on a mildly dangerous planet. As an added bonus, it seems to love soap operas just as much (if not more) than Murderbot, and there’s a hilarious exchange where Murderbot is forced to play episodes repeatedly in order to help the bot calm down. It becomes very invested in the shows. Look for the point where it uses this newfound soap opera knowledge in one of Murderbot’s missions. All in all, a great addition to the story.

FAST PACED STORY

My favorite thing about the first book was Murderbot as a character. The story was interesting and well thought out, but it wasn’t as powerful as I wanted it to be. In Artificial Condition, the story shines, pulling the reader in as we try to figure out what lies in its past and how it is going to pass as a human, especially now that its gone rogue. The author does a great job of adding a new story into the continuous dialogue of its past. It gave me long term implications to mull over while Murderbot destroys a few enemies in the current story. The fight scenes are tight and well done, and the intrigue is tense as we follow Murderbot through situations where it could potentially be discovered.

ROOM FOR MORE

Artificial Condition is a complete story unto itself and doesn’t feel like it’s lacking because it’s a part of a series. The author has me excited to see where the story will end and how his status as a rogue SecUnit will end. Will Murderbot achieve its dream of traveling through the universe watching soap operas at his leisure? Will it meet up with the team from the first book to get more answers? Is there some deeper conspiracy hiding under all of this? Will the brilliant ship come back to save its ass? I look forward to finding answers to at least a few of these questions soon.

CONCEPTS

Robots, Space, Artificial Intelligence, Action Adventure, Mystery

WHERE TO BUY

Barnes & Noble
Amazon

CITATION

Wells, Martha. Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries. Tor.com, 2018.

Interested in the other Murderbot reviews? Read them here.
Interested in more book reviews? Check our all of our reviews here.

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

3 comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.