Book: Artificial Condition : The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Cover of Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries
by Martha Wells
published by Tor
2018

This is volume 2 of the 4-so-far series of novellas by Martha Wells, describing the ongoing adventures of a Security Unit with a bloody past.

In this book, our Murderbot journeys to investigate that ‘bloody past’ story, since its digital memory has been wiped, and its organic memory is confused. Can a lone bot, without funds or travel papers, visit the mining colony where things may have gone so wrong?

The short answer is YES, and Murderbot makes some friends along the way.

Ms. Wells writing is speedy, clear, and direct. (This is not a Lovecraft book, where many pages will be devoted to the way a coffee table was decorated in the middle of a conversation.) Key technologies are applied without dwelling on any boring details about specific codes, just like we use technology in real life – it works, we don’t need to overthink it. Murderbot has endearing qualities which it is largely unaware of, and lots of anxiety, which is completely plausible in its situation.

I also enjoy the depiction of… let’s call it friendship between synthetic intelligences, and their willingness to use their processing power to meddle favorable and to pass the time! The relationship between Murderbot and an assertive (and sensitive) Transport ship gave this story a charming tone.

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