Diversity, Fiction, Humor, Loved-it, Rising star, Scifi

[Scifi] Episode 2: Murderbot Is Free, But Not Free From Caring Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Murderbot finally returns in Artificial Condition, and I’ve been impatiently waiting for it ever since I read the first installment. It’s by far the most exciting novella series I am following right now. I did not expect this direction! And I definitely approve. It was slow going at first and I wasn’t sure what was happening, took a little while to take off so it made me skeptical, BUT… When it did, it was wonderful. So, if you’re serious about reading this book, stop reading this review right now – press like (I didn’t just say that muahaha) and click away. Because you will have THE BEST reading experience if you go into it not knowing what’s going on at all. If you want to keep reading, it’s not my fault if you get spoiled! (I must also warn that this will surely contain spoilers for the first book, and possibly even this one.)

Warned you. Ready?

5 Reasons To Read Artificial Condition

Episode one has concluded with Murderbot saving their crew and acquiring freedom. But faced with the prospect of ‘half-freedom’ and how inevitably boring that will be, even given all the media shows they could watch, Murderbot decided to ditch it – quite spontaneously. They still don’t know whether it was the right decision, cause despite it being completely illogical and not helpful at all, deep down Murderbot really does care about humans and has a more developed conscience than most of them. But before settling down, Murderbot needs to find out something about their own past…

You Still Love Murderbot, Don’t You?

So what if Murderbot leaves their crew and runs? They’re still Murderbot. They’re still just as much a grumpy cat as they were! And yet, they still care just as much. My heart will always sing for Murderbot. Reason one why I’ll always want to come back to this series. But let’s agree that this reason is a little bit obvious – and move on.

Some Tough Decisions

I really feel like this series is a keeper – it’s not just episodic, it’s long term. If Murderbot wants to blend into society, or just the world – and not get caught – they have to make some tough decisions and change themselves. This brings up a whole load of problems to do with misrepresentation – people see SecUnits as heartless, cruel and inhuman beings, when that really is the biggest lie ever, at least, in the case of our Murderbot here. If you have been misrepresented, you will be able to relate here. It’s also beautiful how Martha Wells manages to put tough topics like these in a novella about, well, basically “robots and sh*t”, to simplify it. It’s fascinating.

So You Love Reading About AI

Any AIDAN fans out there? (Hey, I know you’re there. AIDAN was great.) Basically, in Artificial Condition, we meet ART (…Asshole Research Transport) and it’s loveable. It’s smart. It knows it’s smarter than you. It’s sarcastic and dominating. And it cares. It cares so much it can’t watch shows about spaceship crews dying without going into overload. Oh, and it needs a companion to watch the shows. Without a companion, it doesn’t quite know how to work out the emotions it should feel.

It’s absolutely adorable. I loved ART. You’ll love it too.

Mighty Fine On Diversity

In my review of the first book, I talked about how easy it is to identify with Murderbot whoever you are – because they don’t really have a gender. Aside from this obviously continuing, there is some other stuff in Artificial Condition. Like collective marriages. Non-binary genders. Murderbot also happens to be both emotionally and even functionally ace (they don’t have any reproductive system at all) – so while it’s not contemporary or human rep, it discusses many problems aces face in society, like Murderbot does too. People tend to think Moderbot is cold, feelingless and inhuman – when in fact, they are more caring and human than many people. This fits well with the rep and societal attitudes aces tend to have to deal with. (I know Murderbot isn’t actually human, so that might pose a problem for some of you – but that didn’t stop me from identifying with them, so I’m not using it in a negative context at all.) I really appreciated this in the story – Murderbot wants to stay ace (I mean physically, cause that’s the only changeable part. Another things aces struggle to get everyone to understand. You can’t change your mind about who you are.) They don’t want to change, god forbid – even if it means it will be more dangerous that way and harder to hide. And it’s okay not to have to change.

It’s Different, But The Same??

See, that’s the oddest thing about Artificial Condition. It starts off very different, there are no humans. Nothing biologically alive even (I only said biologically!) And yet..? It’s still the same story. Even though the dynamics is so different, you get the same feel. It’s unexpected and beautiful. You’re definitely still getting the same Murderbot experience here.


There are upsides and downsides to being a reviewer. The upsides are definitely in the fact that you get to read books early. The downsides… Well, you still have to wait for the next one, and since you’ve read this one even before it comes out… Waiting for the next one will be longer. AND I JUST NEED IT NOW. So, need I tell you I absolutely loved Artificial Condition? Read it. I’m sure you’ll love it. And if you haven’t read the first part, read my review of All Systems Red here.

Other Books You Might Like

I feel like you would love Artificial Condition if you loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, as well as A Closed and Common Orbit – but Orbit would be closer, because it deals a lot of with augmented or artificial life, as well as AI. Chances are, you’d even like it a lot if you liked Illuminae (that’s the AIDAN bit.)

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2)   Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

I thank Tor.com for giving me a copy of the book in exchange to my honest opinion. Receiving the book for free does not affect my opinion. You can buy the book here at Book Depository and buying using this link supports the blog.

Have you read Artificial Condition or All Systems Red? Are you planning to start this awesome series?

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Jackie B
3 years ago

Okay, I will admit, I clicked “Like” and I’m running away! I haven’t read the first book yet, but I am definitely excited to start reading this soon. It’s on my short list (along with about 15,000 other books…), but I need ALL the books to be published first. How many do we expect in this series? How long will I have to wait?!

3 years ago

I won a giveaway recently and I chose all systems red as my giveaway prize cause you keep raving about it and you make it look so interesting. Looking forward to reading it.

Lisa @TenaciousReader
3 years ago

I’m really excited to read this, the first one was so much fun!

Lashaan Balasingam
3 years ago

You sure do make a brilliant case and make me feel super bad for not having picked up this series yet! I need me some murderbots! Great review!

Jennifer | Book Den
3 years ago

I am 100% planning to read the first one this month. I can’t wait.

Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
3 years ago

More love for Artificial Condition! I can’t wait to read it!

Laura Thomas
3 years ago

I’m in. I’ve been seeing this everywhere. The first time I came across it I added to my must read and follow series list!

Daniela Ark
3 years ago

I got the freebie when you mentioned because you seem to love it so much! I started sampling it but had to stop because mini slump but cannot wait to go back to it

3 years ago

So this just made me want to put Murderbot and Artificial Condition onto my already oversized TBR pile…

Uptown Oracle

3 years ago

I’m jealous you’ve read it! I have it on my Kindle now but I’m reading Sky in the Deep so I’m gonna finish that, although I’m tempted to chuck it aside for my beloved Murderbot lolol. Glad it was awesomesauce.

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages

I haven’t read the first book so I am totally skipping the whole review 😀 But I know that if you have enjoyed it this much, it must be great 🙂

Olivia-Savannah Roach
3 years ago

I like the sound of this one being different but the same? That’s kind of the best thing to have when reading a series. And although it seems like a slow build of the love for this book, there seems to be a lot of good things about this book that you really enjoyed!


[…] I will be giving some more books 5 stars this month, but I this is the only one I could truly call a miracle. So it’s a pretty demanding category! You know how much I love Murderbot though, so it’s hardly any surprise. You can read about why I loved it so much here. […]

Brian Joseph
3 years ago

Great review. I had this impression when together reviewed the first boon but This sounds like so much fun while at the same time it seems like it is about some serious ideas. I am trying to read more newer science fiction so I may give this a try.

3 years ago

I have never heard of this series and I am intrigued. I am literally in love with your blog, I love how you structure your reviews and book information!

Lucy // lucyturnspages.co.uk