Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
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Humans should really do more research. There were operating manuals that would have warned her not to fuck with us.

All Systems Red lit the fuse, this one exploded. i am now fully on team murderbot.

murrrrrderbotttt—saving pesky humans from their foolhardiness, giving sexbots some dang agency, and dispensing hard-won life lessons along the way:

“Sometimes people do things to you that you can’t do anything about. You just have to survive it and go on.”

it’s exhausting being a murderbot on the lam—pulling an irish goodbye on the crew from their last job and trying to pass for (augmented) human long enough to return to the place where a routine job went horribly wrong and they became murderbot, seeking answers about whether or not they were culpable, and if they could be a danger to others—which is, it must be said, a pretty human concern for a murderbot. it’s a very stressful situation, and requires plenty of self-soothing with entertainment feeds, the murderbot equivalent of ‘netflix and chill’—a method of self-soothing THIS (unaugmented) human lady did plenty of during The Great Lockdown of 2020.

but on the way to the scene of the incident, murderbot makes a FRIEND! ART is the transport’s snarky AI, and their buddy-watching of shows—and their varying reactions to them—was a slick way for wells to flesh out their respective characters. i particularly enjoyed murderbot’s love of the programs despite the lack of SecUnit representation, or their misrepresentation—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, and i’m glad they’re getting the chance to correct that wrong through these delightful books; telling the story of exhausting humans, sarcastic transport bots, and all the emotional discomfort of being a rogue murderbot in the world.

it’s funny and charming and unexpectedly warm, as murderbot, with their newly-acquired free will, begins developing their own value system—choosing to help their new human acquaintances get out of the dangerous situations they’ve blundered themselves into, although not without some impatient grumbles and eyerolling grouchiness.

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?”

it is subtly adorable that this condescending jab is an echo of one of murderbot’s first interactions with ART:

“I’m not your crew. I’m not a human. I’m a construct. Constructs and bots can’t trust each other.”

It was quiet for ten precious seconds, though I could tell from the spike in its feed activity it was doing something. I realized it must be searching its databases, looking for a way to refute my statement. Then it said, Why not?

I had spent so much time pretending to be patient with humans asking stupid questions. I should have more self-control than this. “Because we both have to follow human orders. A human could tell you to purge my memory. A human could tell me to destroy your systems.”

I thought it would argue that I couldn’t possibly hurt it, which would derail the whole conversation.

But it said, There are no humans here now.

I realized I had been trapped into this conversational dead end, with the transport pretending to need this explained in order to get me to articulate it to myself. I didn’t know who I was more annoyed at, myself or it. No, I was definitely more annoyed at it.

m-bot has learned how to pay that shit forward, and i’m eager to see what comes next.


what better way to celebrate the release day of murderbot #6 than to…read murderbot #2?

imma catch up to all of you murderbots someday!!

review to come!!

read my book reviews on goodreads

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