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…
Now im trying not to do that thing where i read the first book of a series, review it, and then inhale all of the following books so fast that theres no way I can remember which part of the story belongs to which instalment. (Sometimes I review all the sequels in one post. Sometimes I never review them at all.) So I’m writing this on my phone notes app just to jot down my thoughts on Murderbot: Artificial Condition before I dive into the sequel.
I think I liked this book better than the first one, mostly because there were fewer people to keep track of, and they were never introduced more than three at a time. There was more space for the story to breathe, with an extended lenght of the story happening in transit, where Murderbot reluctantly made friend with a bored science ship, and examined its own motivations.
Once Murderbot arrived on the mining colony, the story was a well balanced mix between the heartwarming process of Murderbot realizing that it likes interacting and protecting dumb humans, the adrenalin of the dumb humans getting into unecessarily dangerous situations, and the horror/sadness of discovering more about our protagonist’s past. I like that there is no satisfaction to be found in finally knowing what happened on the mining colony; the comparison between how neatly stories are told in media and how jagged and random they are in real life is a constant theme in this series.
Once more, I think this story would have worked even better if it had been longer. I’m pretty sure I read it in a single day, although time doesnt mean much to me anymore in these trying times. But maybe I’m just not used to reading novellas.
As Muderbot evolves as a character and a person, I think I miss a little of its initial relatability as a bored employee who does not care. But its fine, because it’s evolving into my favourite character archetype: the hitter dude who actually cares A Lot.
Also the science ship (ART) was the best character and I hope we see it again. I will absolutely re-read parts of this novella, if not all of it, for all of the parts with ART.