Artificial Condition

- Martha Wells


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.



SecUnits don’t care about the news. Even after I hacked my governor module and got access to the feeds, I never paid much attention to it. Partly because downloading the entertainment media was less likely to trigger any alarms that might be set up on satellite and station networks; political and economic news was carried on different levels, closer to the protected data exchanges. But mostly because the news was boring and I didn’t care what humans were doing to each other as long as I didn’t have to a) stop it or b) clean up after it.


absolute favourite:
I’m calling it: this might be the peak of the series. It’s a bold claim two books in, I know, but damn, that was good.

I would take an entire series about Murderbot and ART taking on the world together. Vigilante security work? Travelling hackers? Bank robbers? Comedy duo? Honestly, I’m open to any option. I loved their give and take, the way they ended up working together, and the absolute powerhouses they each are in their unique ways. They could do anything.

My crew hires consultants for every voyage. ART was impatient that I wasn't complimenting it yet on its great idea. The procedure is simple.

"For humans and augmented humans, yes." I was stalling. I would have to interact with humans as an augmented human. I know that's what altering my configuration was supposed to be for, but I had imagined it as taking place from a distance, or in the spaces of a crowded transit ring. Interacting meant talking, and eye contact. I could already feel my performance capacity dropping.

It will be simple, ART insisted. I'll assist you.

Yes, the giant transport bot is going to help the construct SecUnit pretend to be human. This will go well.

There is going to be a gaping hole moving forward without ART. It’s clear early in the book that they will be separating, but Artificial Condition was almost better knowing their time together was limited.

After gushing about ART, I have to admit I wasn’t super interested in Murderbot’s search for answers. Playing the augmented human security contractor was much more interesting, even if the humans were dumb as usual and doing their best to die when Murderbot isn’t looking (but Murderbot is always looking). I get why Murderbot felt the need to get to the bottom of past events – having your memory wiped would be incredibly frustrating, even if it wasn’t about traumatic, horrific actions that may or may not have been a personal choice rather than an order. At the same time, I doubted any real answers would be buried in this abandoned location. I suspect Murderbot will need to go higher up to get the answers it wants.

You would think a SecUnit who had been shot to pieces multiple times, blown up, memory purged, and once partially dismantled by accident wouldn't be on the verge of panic under these circumstances. You'd be wrong.

While I’m sure it’s all downhill from here, I can’t wait to see where Murderbot is headed next in Rogue Protocol.




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