The Murderbot Diaries #2: Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Read: 9 February, 2019

All Systems Red definitely wasn’t a fluke, and I’m loving Murderbot more and more the more time I spend with it.

I really enjoyed seeing how it interacts with different types of sentients (in this book, we have a research ship, humans, and a sexbot) as it starts to develop more of its own unique personality.

More books in the Murderbot Diaries series:

  • All Systems Red
  • Artificial Condition
  • Rogue Protocol
  • Exit Strategy

The Murderbot Diaries #1: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Read: 6 February, 2019

I absolutely love Murderbot!

This is a short little novella about a SecUnit (think security android), from its own perspective, as it tries to protect its crew when absolutely everything is going wrong. I feel Murderbot’s anxiety and snark.

The mystery itself started out really well, with a good creeping “something isn’t right” feeling, but I did feel that the resolution was a little rushed. When we find out who is behind the mystery, and why, it comes somewhat out of left field, and is resolved almost as an afterthought. I do appreciate that this is more of a character study than a mystery, but I still would have preferred a bit more time with the mystery as well.

This is a very small complaint, though, and I had a lot of fun with this story.

More books in the Murderbot Diaries series:

  • All Systems Red
  • Artificial Condition
  • Rogue Protocol
  • Exit Strategy

Shieldrunner Pirates #1: Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns

Read: 30 November, 2018

This story has a whole lot to love, like the space pirates, or the lesbians, or the genderqueer pirate captain, or the AI. I particularly loved the character development. Adda and Pel’s sibling relationship felt very authentic, and Adda’s social anxiety hit home. I also liked the representation of hacking, which had all the fun of movies like Hackers while still seeming plausible. And while I’ve never been much into running, Iridian’s sheer joy to be moving was palpable.

The writing style was a bit of a hurdle, unfortunately. I found that I was having trouble “seeing” the world that was being presented, which prevented me from staying immersed. It’s not bad writing, by any means, but it just didn’t flow very well. Regardless, the story has more than enough to recommend itself.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? / Blade Runner by Philip K. Dick

Read: 26 March, 2014

I first saw Blade Runner as a child and absolutely loved it – mostly, at the time, because I had a rather large Indiana Jones-fueled crush on Harrison Ford. Seeing the movie many times over the years, I came to love it for all sorts of other reasons in addition to Hunkison Ford.

Yet, for some reason, I didn’t get to reading Do Androids Dream until just now.

I really enjoyed it. It’s pretty obvious where Blade Runner got its material from, yet the two are still sufficiently different that reading Androids felt like a fresh experience.

I found the book to be very thought-provoking, and the first 2/3, especially, really impressed me. It got a bit weird toward the end (as one reviewer put it, it takes Deckard about five pages to buy a goat, but he falls in love in a single sentence), but I found the ideas compelling enough to continue despite what seemed to be something of a narrative falling apart.

The society is very dated, with of course a stay-at-home wife. But at the same time, she’s given a depression – a real depression, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the experience described in such a spot-on way. It’s an odd sort of mix, an acknowledgement that the societal norm is harmful without ever coming close to suggesting that an alternative might be possible (I mean the expectation that married women stay at home, not the choice to do so).

It’s a short book, quickly read, but packed tight with ideas.

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