Artificial Condition is the sequel to All Systems Red (in the Murderbot Diaries). In the sequel novella, we follow our favourite freed Murderbot on a mission to find out about something that happened in its past. In All Systems Red, we’re told that there was an accident at one of its previous jobs where it went rogue and killed a lot of people. However, as SecUnits are expensive, it just had the memory erased, was presumably fixed up and sent back out as a working unit.
So, if you found the first novella delightful, this will also be absolutely delightful. Murderbot is still brilliantly flippant, sweary, freaked out by humans and generally kick ass. The other main character is another bot, in the form of a research ship that is hired out to haul cargo. Murderbot dubs it ART or “Asshole Research Transport” which is hilarious. As well, it has its own preference for media but can’t take documentaries where humans are injured. The interplay between the two bots is brilliant. I love them both to bits.
The other main action takes place on a mining facility – the site where the Murderbot went rogue. However, to get there, it has to take a contract with some humans way out of their depth. And awkwardness, ass-kicking, mystery solving and swearing ensue. I don’t want to give too much away as the book isn’t out yet (it’ll hit shelves in May).
I think what is delightful about the novellas so far is that they are short, self-contained little stories. They aren’t complicated but that’s fine. It allows for the more funny interactions with humans, ART and Murderbot to take place. More importantly, each little vignette sees Murderbot grow more as a free-bot. I enjoy the juxtaposition between it being super efficient and lethal and just being uncomfortable with hugs.
This book was also very interesting in at least 2 other characters are bots that Murderbot interacts with (ART, who we’ve already described, and a ‘ComfortUnit’ or sexbot). I like how they interact different than with the humans – with their own set of awkward interactions.
Anyway, I laughed quite a bit reading this, it’s so great. It’s the series I will be recommending to everyone this year.
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