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Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries (The Murderbot Diaries, 2) Hardcover – May 8, 2018
"The Lost Girls of Devon" by Barbara O'Neal
From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets. | Learn more
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PRAISE FOR THE MURDERBOT DIARIES SERIES
"I love Murderbot!" ―Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice
"The Murderbot series is a heart-pounding thriller that never lets up, but it's also one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I've ever read. Come for the gunfights on other planets, but stay for the finely drawn portrait of a deadly robot whose smartass goodness will give you hope for the future of humanity." ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous
"Clever, inventive, brutal when it needs to be, and compassionate without ever being sentimental." ―Kate Elliott, author of the Spirit Walker trilogy
"Endearing, funny, action-packed, and murderous." ―Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars Are Legion
“Not only a fun, fast-paced space-thriller, but also a sharp, sometimes moving character study that will resonate with introverts even if they're not lethal AI machines.” ―Malka Older, author of Infomocracy
“Wells gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review
“I already can’t wait for the next one.” ―The Verge
“A great kick-off for a continuing series.” ―Locus
PRAISE FOR MARTHA WELLS
“Martha Wells writes fantasy the way it was meant to be poignant, evocative, and astonishing. Prepare to be captivated 'til the sun comes up.” ―Kameron Hurley, author of The Mirror Empire and God's War
“The Cloud Roads has wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!” ―N. K. Jemisin, author of The Fifth Season
"Breathtakingly surprising and fun. For readers who missed earlier entry points to this delightful series, now is the time to get on board." ―The New York Times on The Edge of Worlds
About the Author
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Hardcover : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250186927
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250186928
- Product Dimensions : 5.42 x 0.69 x 8.28 inches
- Publisher : Tordotcom; 1st Edition (May 8, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #38,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I enjoyed “All Systems Red” – enough to convince me to buy the three sequels. The next book – “Rogue Protocol” – is scheduled for release in August of this year. Contrary to what I wrote in the first review, I did actually did buy all volumes in hardcover. Given what I know Wells is capable of – I guess I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and just assume that she’s going to do something special with this story.
After reading this second book, I have to say…Murderbot is growing on me. I was right about the holes in “All Systems Red” – Wells is parsing out her backstory and is filling in the blanks as she goes. MB is becoming a more substantial and relate-able character as the story progresses. He’s growing and defining himself – starting to come to terms with his independence and deciding who he wants to be. Most of that growth is driven by his need to interact with a growing group of diverse individuals and the choices those interactions force on him. He obligates himself to a new group of humans – first via a contract he negotiates and then in response to a series of ethical choices that result from that contractual obligation. Those choices allow you to better understand MB, how he thinks about himself and how he feels about the humans who created him.
Just as important are the relationships he forms with other machine intelligences. The first and most entertaining of these is the alliance or friendship or something in between that he forms with the Artificial Intelligence – ART – responsible for the operation of a Research Transport vessel that he uses to escape from the world of his first set of human patrons. ART is a surprise for MB – he’d assumed that this would be an uncommunicative machine intelligence. In fact, ART turns out to be as communicative and as richly complex as MB and their relationship transitions from arms length wary to mutually supportive and amusingly familiar. ART is arrogantly confident in his superior abilities but humanizes as a result of his interactions with MB. As the story progresses, they become an effective, entertaining, almost lovable team united partially by the boredom of their constrained lives in service to human beings that are – in many ways – far less capable than either of them.
Long to short – this story is becoming increasingly interesting and entertaining. I actually enjoyed “Artificial Condition” more than I did “All Systems Red”. It was richer, more complex and it finally allowed me to connect in a more meaningful way to MB. I can’t help but think that I’m going to really wind up liking this guy as the story progresses.
I honestly have only one complaint and it has nothing to do with the book itself. I don’t like the way Martha Wells and the publisher are commercializing the work – hence the Razor / Blades quote. The story is being sold as 4 separate novellas:
All Systems Red – 2017
Artificial Condition – May 2018
Rogue Protocol – August 2018
Exit Strategy – October 2018
They’re sold separately as hardcovers at the price of $16.19 and as e-copies for $9.99. In reality, these are 4 sections of one book – obvious as you read through each separately – and could easily have been published in one volume. The fact that they were all released within an 18 month period only confirms that the Author and the publisher made a pretty crass commercial decision to break the book into four pieces and sell them separately to maximize revenue.
Instead of paying $25 for a single hardcover volume, I’m forced to purchase 4 separate novellas for a combined cost of ~$68.00 in hardcover or ~$40.00 in digital format. Before you say it, I will – shame on me – no one forced me to spend the money – I know I’m being played. Nevertheless, I’m really enjoying the books and I want to get my hands on them as they become available. It just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and it makes me wonder about Wells’ attitude towards her fans and readers. Wells and her publisher gave me the Razor but she’s selling me the blades – one at a time – at a pretty high price.
My recommendation – wait until an omnibus edition is published and just read it straight through. You’ll enjoy the story AND you won’t feel like you’re being exploited. I wish I was able to take my own advice. 🙁
In fact, my reaction to these books really seems to function on two levels--I eagerly consumed them even while feeling a sense of frustration and disappointment. On the plus side: Wells' prose is easy to follow and her protagonist is very likeable, and all three of these books are an easy, breezy read that leave you wanting more. The downside? Apart from the previously mentioned length of the stories, the plots really don't carry much of a sense of struggle. Murderbot hacks his/her/its way effortlessly through computer systems, is pretty close to impossible to kill, and as a result is seldom in any real jeopardy (though the same cannot be said for the humans caught in the crossfire). Plots are fairly predictable and the non-murderbot characters seem more or less disposable.
Top reviews from other countries
The central character is highly original and robots have never been characterised so well since Iain Banks. He is a human/robot construct who should be under control from his programming but has managed to hack the program to have some free will in his decisions. He goes on to have a different adventure in each of the 4 stories and save people from the evil, stop-at-nothing-for-profit, mega-corporation, making some decent friends with people/bots that he meets on the way. If you like hard SF with realistically-drawn future technology then you will like this.
Wait until the price goes down before buying and read “Sea of Rust” or “Windup Girl” or any of Bank's Culture Series books (such as “Player of Games” or “Excession”) in the meantime. These are all excellent full-size books which contain well-characterised drones/robots and they are all sold at a reasonable price.
That said I’d advise avoiding this until the price of the four books is the same as the average length novel they will then represent. I will certainly not be buying any more Martha Wells at this kind of price (just under £6 each) in future. And that includes further outings, if any, for the murderbot.
Your mileage may vary of course, but I’m not encouraging this kind of pricing with my money.
I liked that the extra mystery plot is wound around the original discovery thread; Murderbot does want to find out about its past, but also gets involved in other things – and meets more people. Murderbot definitely becomes more human (not that they’re very happy about that development) and makes some friends. I absolutely adore ART, the transport ship that Murderbot ships out on: it’s sarcastic in a “I’m smarter than everyone else and I already worked out the answer” way, and I love the developing relationship between the two of them. Also, I love that ART needs someone to watch TV with! Some of the moments are just adorable.
The book feels too short, but in an “I want more!” rather than an “unfinished story” way ; there’s plenty of mysteries left for the next two books, and I’m really looking forward to them. I’d also love a longer piece with Murderbot involved, but then hopefully the four-novella series will fit that desire perfectly!
So – a good continuation of the first Murderbot book, and enough mysteries left to tug me onwards into the rest of the series; plus, extra sarcasm from ART as well as Murderbot! What’s not to love?