May 8, 2018
Artificial Condition, by 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…
I moved Artificial Condition to the top of my reading list after getting the approval email from NetGalley because I absolutely love The Murderbot Diaries. Wells’ writing is superb, and her wit and subtle snark shines in the form of a rogue SecUnit who would probably slay humanity if only it could finish watching the future’s version of Netflix.
In Artificial Condition, we see more of Eden’s world, and the behind-the-scenes politics and machinations that push the story forward. I love that although Eden can totally murder all humans, it’s still afraid of other sentient constructs. She and ART bond over their love of space soap operas, and Eden’s allies increase.
Eden needs allies, because its rouge slaughter of the miners doesn’t hold water, and the truth just may be more criminal than the story. Humans are so much worse than Eden originally thought, and as Eden examines the artificial condition, so too must we examine the human condition.
Artificial Condition is another home run from Martha Wells, and the wait for Rogue Protocol will be a difficult one. Five stars, get it now!
Martha Wells has written many fantasy novels, including The Books of the Raksura series, the Ile-Rien series as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, media tie-ins, and non-fiction. Her most recent fantasy novels are The Edge of Worlds in 2016 and The Harbors of the Sun in 2017, the final novel in The Books of the Raksura series. She has a new series of SF novellas, The Murderbot Diaries, forthcoming from Tor.com. She was the lead writer for the story team of Magic: the Gathering’s Dominaria expansion in 2018. Her work has appeared on the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Award ballots, and her books have been published in eleven languages.