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…
Warnings: physical assault and gun violence, tense situation during shuttle failure
Artificial Condition takes Murderbot on a quest to find out details of what happened the last time they were under the control of a governor module, the incident that changed their life and had them fearful of being under control of anything. Murderbot, after leaving the Preservation crew, has been traveling to towards the site of that incident, and when they ask an automated transport bot for help, they don’t realize that said bot is a highly advanced AI (whom they call ART) who took them in because of boredom and want for company. During the cycles leading to them reaching the mining planet where the incident occurred, they build a friendship of sorts, despite Murderbot being grumpy AF. On reaching there, Murderbot realizes they would need to be an employee of some sort to have a reason to be there, so they take up a security consultant gig for three humans from a collective, who are there to get back their research from their former employer. The gig seems similar to what Murderbot is used to, but the danger level is again higher than they expect, with the ex-employer out to eliminate Murderbot’s clients instead of paying up. Between that and their own quest for hidden answers, Murderbot has their hands full.
“Interacting meant talking, and eye contact. I could already feel my performance capacity dropping.”
The plot is, once again, tense and quick-paced, with loads of action in the second half. Murderbot’s and ART’s relationship is the highlight of this novel for me, because ART is adorable! They, too, want to watch serials, especially ones about ships carrying human crew (as they are the same) and them basically wingman-ing Murderbot through ‘how to behave like an augmented human’ as the latter goes in disguise is in parts hilarious and enlightening. We get a bit more about the world, but it really isn’t that much of import, if you ask me, because the plot itself has such a presence. Additionally, the story brings up the perceived ‘inhuman and uncaring’ image of the constructs as a repeated motif throughout, with Murderbot commenting on how the serials are unrealistic in representing SecUnits, or the details of the incident and the role the ComfortUnits (the sexbots) had to play, or even just ART being so protective about humans that they can’t even watch character deaths withouth Murderbot basically handholding them through shows. It continues the reversal of the theme of ‘evil AI’ from the previous book so effectively, with more characters to show for it. Also, I live for Murderbot’s introvert struggles!
“There’s unrealistic that takes you away from reality and unrealistic that reminds you that everybody’s afraid of you.”
Previous book in The Murderbot Diaries series