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Artificial Condition ❰KINDLE❯ ❃ Artificial Condition Author 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 ti 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 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 rogueWhat it discovers will forever change the way it thinks….

10 thoughts on “Artificial Condition

  1. carol. carol. says:

    I was stalling. I would have to interact with humans as an augmented human... 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 was with anticipation of pleasure that I picked up the second installment in the Murderbot series. After its thrilling adventures on its last expedition as a SecUnit, I was curious to see what 'Bot would do with freedom. I read quickly, finishing in one sitting. Though the beginning felt a bit awkward, I remained confident that Wells would end up somewhere interesting. It was an enjoyable read, but suffered from a few issues.

    Why not five stars, you wonder? I do enjoy the character of Murderbot a great deal, but found myself with some sticky points on my first read-through.

    One, I felt Murderbot had become more colloquial in its speech without accompanying change in comfort level with others. Calling A.R.T. an 'asshole,' for instance, seemed odd. Funny, no doubt. But would the apathetic Murderbot really have named a mildly intrusive artificial intelligence it just met an 'asshole?' It set the wrong tone and in some ways, the character of Murderbot backslid to be a socially inept human, not a killing machine trying to create behavior patterns.

    Two, I thought the narrative confusing at first. I'm quite used to Well's elaborate world-building, but this felt awkward. On re-read, I decided it was smoother than I had thought the first time through. I remain extremely puzzled as to the differences between 'constructs,' 'artificial intelligences,' and ''bots' in Murderbot's world and why humans created 'constructs' as they did. At one point 'Bot notes that the long sleeves of the T-shirt and jacket, the pants and the boots covering all my inorganic parts, which seemed especially weird to me. Why leave human hands on a construct? I also remained puzzled by lines such as I huddled in the chair. Hello, Killing Machine? Why on earth do you have any hormones responsible for fear? I feel like Wells would have done better to stick with a Star Trek TNG 'Data' type model.

    Three, the plot was good, but uneven. Murderbot wants to see the scene of its alleged murders. It will need a pretext to get there, so it signs on with a group of naive workers hoping to regain some stolen data. This premise works at first until the workers, a family with young children, behave in incredibly naive and stupid ways, leading Murderbot to behave in naive and stupid ways. The long journey to the scene of the crime ends up being anticlimactic

    To be fair, my rating might also be a case of high expectations; certainly it is much better than many 3-star books that I've read, enjoyed, and promptly forgot (basically every generic cop-thriller). I love much of what Martha Wells has done, and have a number of her books shelved in hardcover. Since I can still remember many of the details of Artificial Condition without picking up the book, it's good enough to make an impression. There's lots of humor and sarcasm, some sweet computer bonding and quite a bit of action. Definitely worth reading.

    Thanks to all the friends and commenters who helped me clarify my thoughts!

  2. Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ says:

    All the stars! ART the spaceship transport AI is not to be missed. An awesome sequel to the Nebula award-winning “All Systems Red.” I liked it even better than the first book, and this one was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

    The illicit adventures of Murderbot continue in Artificial Condition, the terrific sequel to Martha Wells’ 2017 Nebula award-winning novella, All Systems Red. Murderbot, a deeply introverted cyborg security unit, or SecUnit, who previously hacked the governor software that forced obedience to human commands, has illegally gone off the grid, eschewing the safety of a mostly-free life with a sympathetic owner in order to travel on its own. Disguising itself as an augmented human, Murderbot takes off for the mining facility space station where, it understands, it once murdered a group of humans that it was charged with protecting, though its memory of the event has been mostly erased. (Hence the name Murderbot that it has given itself.)

    To get to the mining station, Murderbot hitches a ride with an empty cargo transport, offering to share the many hours of media and entertainment that it has accumulated. But the transport AI turns out to be far more powerful and intelligent than Murderbot had anticipated ― a dangerous situation for Murderbot, who’s in a highly vulnerable position. The transport AI, which Murderbot calls ART (short for Asshole Research Transport), is looking for more than just entertainment media. It actually wants to understand and help Murderbot with its quest.

    Once they gets to their destination, at ART’s suggestion, Murderbot (still in disguise as a human) takes a contract as a security guard for a technologist group of humans who are planning to travel to the same area of the station as the installation where the deadly incident in Murderbot’s past occurred. This gives Murderbot a convenient excuse for being in this isolated area, and it intends to use its spare time to investigate the incident, which has been hidden from the public. But, as in All Systems Red, Murderbot finds that when others need its help and expertise, it’s hard to remain emotionally disengaged.

    Artificial Condition was, for me, an even more entertaining story and mystery than All Systems Red. I found the plot fresher overall, with its interweaving of the treacherous plotting surrounding the technologist group that Murderbot is protecting, and Murderbot’s investigation of the disaster in its own past. In the process of discovering more about its prior life, Murderbot also discovers more about itself, and there are hints of some possible connections between the past incident and the current one, in addition to some thematic ties.

    The human characters were diverse and fairly well-drawn, but the characters that really engaged me were the artificial intelligences. Murderbot continues to develop depth as a character, and its snark (often about the idiocies of humans) adds an enjoyable dose of humor to the story.

    I phrased it as a question, because pretending you were asking for more information was the best way to try to get the humans to realize they were doing something stupid. “So do you think there’s another reason Tlacey wants you to do this exchange in person, other than … killing you?”
    Murderbot also grows in self-awareness through its experiences. Some interactions with a ComfortUnit (the euphemism for a sexbot) lead to a deeper appreciation for the freedoms it does have, and for using one’s freedom of choice to help others in need. In particular, I loved the rather bossy transport AI ART, and ART’s determined insertion of itself into Murderbot’s life and concerns, despite Murderbot’s reluctance to allow it in. Sometimes resistance really is futile … but that’s not always a bad thing.

    The third novella in the MURDERBOT DIARIES series, Rogue Protocol, is due to be published in August 2018. I’m anxious to see where Murderbot’s journey takes us next.

    I received a free copy of this ebook from Tor for review. Thanks so much!

    Content note: scattered F-bombs.

  3. Elle (ellexamines) Elle (ellexamines) says:

    I said, “Sometimes people do things to you that you can't do anything about. You just have to survive it and go on.”
    They all stopped talking and stared at me. It made me nervous and I immediately switched my view to the nearest security camera so I could watch us from the side. I had said it with more emphasis than I intended, but it was just the way things were. I wasn't sure why it had such an impact on them. Maybe it sounded like I knew what I was talking about. Maybe it was the two murder attempts.

    I honestly am on the four-hundred-reviews-to-come portion of my evening, so this will be a bit briefer. First of all, sci-fi novella. Second of all, I already reviewed book one in depth.

    Here's a quick bulleted list of things I liked about this volume:
    ➽A lot more worldbuilding. We see Murderbot go beyond just one singular arena and really see a lot more of the world. I also just liked seeing everything; in the first book I really didn't perceive the world, and here I did.
    ➽There’s a character introduced who uses gender neutral pronouns (!)
    ➽Murderbot's first crew is missing in this book, but the new characters are super interesting as well - a pissed-off transport operative [ART] is my definite favorite.

    But here's the REAL kicker: I just love Murderbot more and more each volume as it continues to explore its humanity.
    In some entertainment media I had seen, the bare metal bot-bodies were used to portray the evil rogue SecUnits who menaced the main characters. Not that I was annoyed by that or anything. It was actually good, because then humans who had never worked with SecUnits expected us to look like human-form bots, and not what we actually looked like. I wasn't annoyed at all. Not one bit.

    The way in which Murderbot is treated by society as a whole is kind of one of the main functions of the world, and I really enjoy it. It's a really interesting character to me because its thought processes echo that of a very traumatized and somewhat emotionally locked off human. It gets the most depth, the most narrative sympathy, and some of the best development I've ever seen. I love how it keeps denying having any feelings and I love it.

    On a sort of related note, I totally love that Murderbot is humanized via caring about people in the non-romantic way. Robots-Becomes-Human-Because-It-Feels-Romantic-Love is a really overdone and, if thought about critically, totally fucked up trope; I'm really loving the subversion of this. On a related note, I'm loving that Martha Wells didn't give the robots gender. That shouldn't be a huge statement, but damn, this is the era that gave us alien robots with ponytails.

    Anyway, summary: it’s as if Martha Wells knows Exactly what I like in literature and plans to use that knowledge. For evil. And for an excellent novella series that I can’t see myself putting down anytime soon.

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  4. Emily (Books with Emily Fox) Emily (Books with Emily Fox) says:

    The good news is that I still love Murderbot and that I now also love ART.

    The bad news is that I unfortunately didn't like this book as much as the first one. I couldn't get into the story until half way through it.

    I still very much look forward to reading the next awkward adventures of Murderbot though!

  5. Bradley Bradley says:

    These Murderbot Diaries are quickly becoming a go-to popcorn SF read for me. I love killer robots as much as the next bloke, but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for this one.

    It's not just the hundreds of hours this mass-murder-capable robot pours into his/her SF soap opera binge-watching time. It's not the kinds of situations that make it need to pretend to be human among all the myriad prejudices AGAINST mass-murder-capable robots.

    It's the candid conversations with pissed-off robot carriers.

    I kinda agree with these two. Murdering all the humans would truly make their lives much simpler. But then again, I suppose that could be said about all of us.

    Good worldbuilding! I'm really flying through each one of these like it was popcorn. :)

  6. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    ”When constructs were first developed, they were originally supposed to have a pre-sentient level of intelligence, like the dumber variety of bot. But you can’t put something as dumb as a hauler bot in charge of security for anything without spending even more money for expensive company-employed human supervisors. So they made us smarter. The anxiety and depression were side effects.”


    The SecUnit, the hero of our continuing saga, has enough intelligence to start to suffer from a mild form of chronic depression, only waiting for a half dozen more things to go wrong before he/she becomes full blown, 24/7 depressed. Humans don’t help. They are irrational creatures and are constantly making decisions that, frankly, are bordering on suicidal. The SecUnit’s job is to keep them alive.

    Thank goodness for Sanctuary Moon.

    Since a SecUnit does not have to sleep, he/she can binge watch TV shows for all those hours that humans are sleeping. I have several friends who wish they could bypass the whole sleep thing to continue binging 1990s sitcoms until blood starts seeping out of their eyeballs. Whenever SecUnit feels depressed or too anxious, he/she can always access the feed and watch some episodes of his/her favorite space opera, Sanctuary Moon.

    SecUnit needs to get to HaviHyral so he/she can investigation what exactly happened to him/her when he/she went berserk and killed a bunch of humans and destroyed a few bots, as well. He/she became at that moment, in his/her mind, Murderbot. His/her memory has been wiped, but his/her organic memory retains vestiges of what happened. When he/she breaks his/her governing unit, which allows humans to control him/her, which frankly doesn’t go so well with all that carnage and murder, he/she becomes a free agent. (All of that will be made clear when you read the first book in the series, All Systems Red.) To get to HaviHyral, he has to have a work contract with a human.

    Murderbot makes “friends” with a transport pod known as ART (______ Research Transport). You’ll have to read the book to find out what the A stands for. Fortunately, ART is able to provide help and assistance, as if Murderbot was still tied into the security system as a legally operating SecUnit. Murderbot needs all the help he/she can get keeping these naive human clients alive.

    After some alterations to his/her physiology so that he/she can pass as an augmented human, he/she looks in the mirror and thinks: ”It would make it harder for me to pretend not to be a person.” Depressing thought. ART offers to attach gender parts, which Murderbot emphatically rejects. It would have made writing this review easier if he/she had declared a gender (Martha Wells sidesteps this issue by writing in the first person), but part of the interesting things about this series is how readers react to Murderbot. Some see him/her as a she, and some see her/him as a he. We are coded to assign gender. I could refer to Murderbot as it, but for some reason that just seems wrong to me. Toasters are its. Lawn mowers are its. He/she might be a better version of human than what humans seem to be capable of.

    There are two more episodes (a nod I’m giving to Sanctuary Moon) in this extremely entertaining series. I have them already in hand and certainly must see where Murderbot’s investigation takes him/her, and see how he/she handles becoming more and more human.

    He/she has even experienced enough that he/she can now offer wise advice to his clients. ”Sometimes people do things to you that you can’t do anything about. You just have to survive it and go.”

    Highly Recommended!

    If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit
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  7. Nataliya Nataliya says:

    “For my entire existence, at least the parts I could remember, I had done nothing but accept the inevitable. I was tired of it.”
    Dear Murderbot,

    If I promise that we can spend quality time just sitting quietly together, me reading and you watching your space soap operas, and I won’t be bugging you much, can we please be friends?
    “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.”

    Now I am halfway through what feels like one long novel of the adventures of Murderbot, the pessimistic, shy and suffering from a bit of social anxiety cyborg construct, a former SecUnit, by all laws and customs a piece of property, a tool, a menace rendered useful and safe by the means of governor module which allows for complete torture control (and currently nonfunctional, in case you cared) - and, despite what M-Bot wants you to think, clearly a person.

    Because being human and being a person are completely different concepts.
    “But there weren’t any depictions of SecUnits in books, either. I guess you can’t tell a story from the point of view of something that you don’t think has a point of view.”
    We humans have been very good throughout our messy history to deny personhood to anyone we’d rather treat as tools or things or property. No wonder the assumption here is that a rogue ‘Bot without a controlling whip of the governor module would choose to rampage and murder humans as an ‘equipment failure’. Why would a tool kill you as soon as you lose control over it? But think of that “tool” as someone whose free will you have been oppressing - and the reason for the fear makes perfect sense. Slave-owners are terrified of rebellions, after all.

    And so M-Bot needs to stay disguised in order to survive.
    “The tension that had kept me down to 96 percent capacity eased; a murderbot’s life is stressful in general, but it would be a long time before I got used to moving through human spaces with no armor, no way to hide my face.”

    “I’m not normally afraid of things, the way humans are. I’ve been shot hundreds of times, so many times I stopped keeping count, so many times the company stopped keeping count. I’ve been chewed on by hostile fauna, run over by heavy machinery, tortured by clients for amusement, memory purged, etc., etc. But the inside of my head had been my own for +33,000 hours and I was used to it now. I wanted to keep me the way I was.”
    This story follows our newly sorta-free Murderbot on his¹ quest to get to the bottom of the events that happened 35K hours ago when he supposedly murdered quite a few of his human charges. It requires him trying to pass as a human, regardless of how painful and awkward it is for him. And leads to uncovering what I assume will be the plot of the remaining two novellas.
    ¹ I know Murderbot is not gendered and clearly not a sexbot. However, using “it” feels like like treating him as a tool or equipment, not a person. And he just seems kinda male to me, so “he” it’s going to be.
    Along the way he ends up protecting (old habits die hard!) a bunch of humans who without him are destined to be worm food. Yes, we can be that illogically stupid.
    “I’m used to humans wanting to do things that can get them killed. Maybe too used to it.”
    And he makes an unexpected friend and ally - ART, another non-human intelligence. Who shares M-Bot’s love for space soap operas. If this is not a foundation for lasting friendship, what is?
    “Are all constructs so illogical? said the Asshole Research Transport with the immense processing capability whose metaphorical hand I had had to hold because it had become emotionally compromised by a fictional media serial.”
    I loved this story just as much as I loved its predecessor. It’s just as strong and engaging - in writing and characterization and humor. But while the first installment could have worked well as a stand-alone piece, this one makes it clear that there is more story to come. And I plan to read it all.
    “I said, “Sometimes people do things to you that you can’t do anything about. You just have to survive it and go on.”
    5 stars.


    My review of the first novella, “All Systems Red” is here.
    My review of the third one, “Rogue Protocol”, is here.
    My review of the fourth one, “Exit Strategy”, is here.
    My review of the fifth story (and the first full-length novel), “Network Effect”, is here.

  8. Kevin Kuhn Kevin Kuhn says:

    This is novella two in the Muderbot Diaries. I enjoyed it just as much as the first novella. Once again, the strength of the story comes from the characterizations of non-humans. The story itself, almost feels like a side question. After the events of the first book, Muderbot wants to return to the scene of a human massacre that it may have played a role in. However, in order to gain access to the surface, Murderbot signs on with a group that has their own challenges and conflict. In it’s introverted manner, it can’t help but feel sorry and responsible for a fairly pitiful group of humans that are in a nearly no-win situation.

    My favorite part of this story is the introduction of ART, a sentient transport bot, built to pilot and control a space transport ship. While it’s vast intelligence initially scares Murderbot, the two quickly fall into together. ART reminds me a bit of Marvin, the manically depressed robot in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, ART is less depressed, but just as bored as Marvin. There is no doubt that the charm of this entire series is the humanization of non-humans in the form (so far) of Murderbot and ART. It’s their unusual character traits (introverted, jaded, and loads of snark) that make the series so fun.

    It’s a complete story and does tie-in to the first story in several ways, even if it feels like a side-quest. I sure hope we see more of ART in next few novellas! Another entertaining and fun novella with characters that are more human than humans! Four and half stars for book two of the Murderbot Diaries.

  9. Manuel Antão Manuel Antão says:

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

    Star-gazing SecUnits: “Artificial Condition - The MurderBot Diaries 2” by Martha Wells

    “But you may have noticed that for a terrifying murderbot I fuck up a lot.”

    In “Artificial Condition - The MurderBot Diaries 2” by Martha Wells

    The very unfamiliarity of SF is one of its attractions for me. It slows down the reading and speeds up the need to think, both within and across books (intertextuality). Familiarity, similarity? Try reading these in a row, then come back and tell me you were on familiar ground all the while and that your mind is still in the same shape: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ubik; Version Control; The Gradual, The Dispossessed and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories.

    Setting a story in another place or another time enables speculative fiction like the one Martha Wells attempts with her MurderBot series to explore ideas that literary fiction might really struggle with. I'm interested in divided societies … Irish … English … Dorset … Croatia … Bosnia … Israelis and Palestinians …

    Read on, if you feel so inclined.

  10. Jilly Jilly says:

    I love Murderbot!
    What's not to love about a depressed, soap-opera watching, socially awkward, killing machine?

    People are nervous of me because I'm a terrifying murderbot, and I'm nervous of them because they're humans.

    This book is a continuation of our robot-with-low-self-esteem's story. Murderbot has decided to go back to where it first decided to name itself 'Murderbot'. On the way, it makes a new friend - a sentient space ship that Murderbot names ART, an acronym for Asshole Research Transport. I kinda liked ART, but Murderbot took a while to warm up to him. ART likes humans and is trying to help Murderbot pose as a human with lots of robot parts.

    Yes, the giant transport bot is going to help the (murderbot) pretend to be human. This will go well.

    When Murderbot meets a different kind of robot on his journey, that robot has a very new idea:

    Murderbot: What do you propose to do?

    There was a long pause.

    We could kill them.

    Well, that was an unusual approach.

    Muderbot: Kill who?

    Other robot: All of them. The humans here.

    ART said, What does it want?

    To kill all the humans, I answered.

    I could feel ART metaphorically clutch its function.

    Aww, robots wanting to kill us all. The age-old problem. We all know that this is how things will end for us. Let's face it. We are building things that are for sure going to kill the crap out of us one day.

    Why do they even bother with the sign?

    This book was super fun with a lot of action. Murderbot's inner dialogue is hilariously snarky. The only down side to this series is how short the books are. I need more Murderbot in my life.

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