BINGO – Question: will the second capture the magic of the first? Will I be able to blackout my Bingo card?
Answer: Mostly and yes!
Murderbot is out on its own searching for answers about its past. Not really on the lamb but also not looking for any attention either, Murderbot sneaks its way to RaviHyral, the location where it first malfunctioned, in order to get more information about its past. Along the way, Murderbot hitches a ride with a research transport ship that is currently running without any humans. Turns out, the artificial intelligence that is piloting this ship is a lot more powerful and spirited, shall we say, than Murderbot anticipated. Murderbot dubs it ART, Asshole Research Transport. ART and Murderbot make their way to RaviHryal where Murderbot picks up a security detail position in order to secure access to the planet. It helps a group of human researchers get their work back from their murderous boss and even helps free another bot along the way.
This one did not immediately grab me like the first one did. One of things I loved most about the first book in this series was how Murderbot tried to navigate its interactions with humans, for better or worse. That is painfully missing in the first portion of Artificial Condition. Eventually, Murderbot’s interactions with ART become quite fun and enjoyable, and we do get a good amount human interaction eventually. Things definitely pick up after the first third.
I will say that I remain impressed by Wells ability to write such fun science fiction. This was true in the first entry in the Murderbot Diaries, and it remains true here. This book reads more like a caper than it does science fiction which I quite enjoyed. Additionally Wells maintains consistency with the world that she started building in All Systems Red while expanding and exploring a little more. That’s a tricky balance to strike, but Wells definitely succeeds.