I read Artificial Condition earlier in the year, but finally read the final two novellas in the last month. Given that, I figured it might be easiest to combine my reviews of the three novellas. Spoilers, naturally.
When All Systems Red ended, Murderbot had decided to strike on its own, and find answers. Artifical Condition follows Murderbot as it goes back to the system and planet where it became the titular Murderbot. Murderbot has wondered for a long time what happened and what made it malfunction – was it a virus, a hacking, some internal malfunction? Unable to remember, it decides it has to go back to the scene and find whatever footage or answers it can onsite. To get there, Murderbot hikes a trip with ship with an AI of far great capacity than even Murderbot has. While Murderbot finds ART annoying, ART ended up being another example of Murderbot being forced into friendships and relationships despite itself. In order to get planet side, Murderbot also takes on a mission with a group of humans who are feeling threatened, and becomes more invested than desired.
Murderbot continues to monitor the crew it served in All Systems Red, and as a result of an interview broadcast over the channels, Murderbot decides to go to a system where the firm was engaged in potentially questionable and shady business practices. Rogue Protocol follows Murderbot as it attempts to gather more evidence to use against the corporation to help its friends. It poses as a security consultant to do this, and finds itself escorting a small team of humans to the suspicious site.
The final novel, Exit Strategy, sees Murderbot return and reunite with the crew that originally treated it as an individual. It also sees how its actions had unforeseen consequences, and has to come to the rescue to fix a situation its actions inspired. It also faces some truths it has been avoiding about its feelings and relationships.
Overall, they are all enjoyable, fast reads but I think I enjoyed Rogue Protocol most. I think it was Murderbot’s interactions with another bot which was designed for a different purpose, and its ability to see how humans treat different bots (might also be because I can’t remember Artificial Condition that much anymore). In all of these, Murderbot keeps catching emotions and feelings, developing relationships, and helping humans, despite saying it doesn’t care. All the novellas have actions sequences, but those are always my least favorite part since I am much more interested in the interactions and Murderbot’s interpretations of events than the “shoot ’em up” parts of it. I think there is supposed to be a novel if I am recalling other people’s reviews correctly, and I think it will be interesting to more on Murderbot discovering its purpose and identity as an independent entity.