“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…”
-Synopsis from inside front cover
Artificial Condition (The Murderboth Diaries #2) by Martha Wells is an excellent followup to All Systems Red, book one in the series. I read the first book a few weeks ago, and was so excited to see that the second book, and the entire series in fact, is offered digitally through my library as both an e-book and an e-audiobook!
I ended up listening to half the book on audio and reading the latter half in the physical copy. I am still fairly new to audiobooks and there were certain parts of the story that were easier for me to digest in print than audio.
I thought it was interesting that the story began with Murderbot wondering what had happened in its recent past and wanting to learn about what happened. I loved seeing Murderbot make a new “friend” with a new acquaintance whom it refers to as ART. The banter between Murderbot and ART, and their pseudo-friendship that forms was probably my favorite part of this book.
Murderbot has to make some alterations to itself in order to better pass off as an augmented human, which led to many humorous moments as ART helped get Murderbot’s human characteristics just right in order to be believable.
“The most correctable behavior was restless movement. Humans and augmented humans shift their weight when they stand, they react to sudden sounds and bright lights, they scratch themselves, they adjust their hair, they look in their pockets or bags to check for things that they already know are in there.
SecUnites don’t move. Our default is to stand and stare at the things we’re guarding. Partly this is because our non-organic parts don’t need movement the way organic parts do. But mostly it’s because we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves.”from Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
I found that entire section to be so entertaining. Murderbot is very perceptive and at the end of the day, just wants to be left alone to watch The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon, its favorite drama. You can really tell that it doesn’t want to get anymore involved with humans, or anything for that matter, than absolutely necessary. But, it will be necessary once it joins a new team of humans as their security consultant.
That’s the gist of the story, and I don’t think I’m giving too much away for those who wish to read it on their own. This novella was under two-hundred pages, and about a three-hour listen on audio.
I would highly recommend this to those who enjoy wry humor, and science fiction. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.