As far as I know, my dad doesn’t read a lot of fiction; the one exception to this is science fiction, at least of the what you might now call classic or vintage variety, as in William Gibson and Isaac Asimov. I was home visiting recently and Dad made a comment about not being sure what to read next after he finished whatever he currently had in his hands; I had Artificial Condition (Murderbot Diaries 2) in mine, so I let him have a look and we decided that I would send him volume 1 when I got home. I kind of hope this becomes our “thing,” I finish a volume then send it to him. On the plane ride home, I finished Artificial Condition in preparation.
Artificial Condition is definitely a continuation, and it’s about necessary to have read the first one, as Dad figured out. The plot is similar in some ways: Murderbot has a mission, encounters difficulties, solves some problems, and makes a friend or two along the way. The mission here is two-fold: first, to figure out what happened to it that it has given itself the name Murderbot, since it can’t quite remember, and second, to serve as the security consultant to a group of humans trying to get some stolen research back (a job taken in order to get to the location of the information Murderbot wants for itself). The reveal about what actually happened seems to have had the same effect on me that it did for Murderbot: now we have the answer but it’s not totally clear what to do with it or about it. I had to re-read that part to get the specifics of who might have been responsible for what happened, and I’m still not totally positive about that.
Murderbot the character was the total star of book 1, and it was especially interesting to see how the artificial life form considered the organic, and vice versa. In book 2, there was less of Murderbot and the humans, and more of Murderbot and other artificial intelligences, particularly the AI system of a research ship that gives Murderbot a ride which Murderbot dubs ART (for “A**hole Research Transport”). ART is very much like Murderbot in that it is very interested in and sometimes attached to humans, but also very different in its perspectives and understandings because Murderbot has something like emotions while ART is less in touch with that part of itself. The two characters make an entertaining pair, in a fun twist on the standard odd couple.
There are also some other artificial robot/AI-types introduced including Comfort Units (aka sex-bots), and the one Murderbot has most interaction with really hates humans, again setting up an interesting dynamic.
Overall, there was a some good world-and character building both here, and I’m hoping Dad gets as into this series as I have.