Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Artificial Condition

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)

Artificial Condition is the second novella in the Murderbot Diaries and picks up right where the first one left off. Murderbot is a rogue SecUnit- a security robot who has hacked its own software and is now self aware and independent. It keeps this a secret, however, and mostly wants to be left alone to consume entertainment media at its leisure. However there is an event in its past that is causing it distress, an incident on a mining facility that resulted in many human deaths. Murderbot frankly wants to know if it caused those deaths, or it was used by someone else to do the killing. Its quest for the truth is the basis of the story here.

Martha Wells packs a lot of story into this novella! Following on from the events of the first story, Murderbot takes a transport ship to the distant mining colony where the incident happened. The transport is not your average, run-of-the-mill transport though- it is run by an artificial intelligence that is very curious about what Murderbot is doing, and which our protagonist soon dubs ART (asshole research transport). ART cares very much for its crew, and takes its responsibility to them very seriously, even though it's quite self-aware and independent in its own way, and it's friendship (?) is invaluable to Murderbot over the course of the story. And as one would expect, the snarkiness between the two of them is delightful as well.

ART turns out to have a wide complement of abilities which are of use to our hero, and their burgeoning relationship was one of my favorite parts of the story. At the same time, I'm getting the impression that Murderbot is not nearly alone in its state of being- there are indications throughout the story that perhaps rogue AI's (or at least some with a measure of independence) are not as rare as Murderbot thinks they are. This is fascinating, as this is a universe where robots are ubiquitous- I mean they run ships like ART does, they provide security like Murderbot does, sexbots are common. The idea that a substantial percentage of these units are secretly independent or able to operate without guidance from humans opens up a ton of story possibilities- and would be terrifying, I would think, to the human inhabitants of this universe.

The other thing I really liked was that, unlike many stories of this nature, Murderbot is not trying to be human. Murderbot is fine the way it is, thank you very much, and yes just wants to be left alone to consume Netflix media as it pleases, with a minimum of fuss. At the same time, Murderbot has an attachment to people, and definite loyalties, as evidenced when it takes a contract to protect a small group of humans at the mining colony. The humans are being stiff-armed by their former employer, and Murderbot quite correctly deduces that as things stand they're not going to survive long. So again, just as in the first novella, Murderbot wants to be left alone, and yet finds itself enmeshed in human affairs- and finds itself caring about its human employers more than it cares to admit.

As far as I'm concerned, Murderbot is fully human, or close enough that it makes no difference. I was very moved not only with Murderbot's desire to learn the truth (and the actual mission to do so at the mining colony was gripping and a bit ominous), but also by its unwillingness to let its human clients suffer the consequences of their poor decisions! As much as I missed the humans who took a chance on Murderbot in the first story, Wells made me care about this group too. And can I just say the humor is, once more, on point? Not to be spoilery, but at one point ART comes up with a plan that it gleans from a show it watched (it, like Murderbot, tends to like media to a high degree for entertainment). The only complaint I have is that the ending felt very rushed- and by that I mean the aftermath, not the actual resolution of the plotlines. It just felt kind of abrupt the way things left off- but at the same time with two more novellas coming, I can't wait to see where this goes next.

I can honestly say that along with the world of Becky Chambers' books (The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet and its sequels) this is probably my favorite science fiction setting at the moment. I could read books set in this universe all day. It feels alive, and sprawling, and very real. And the fact that Wells accomplishes this in a novella format is impressive. I wasn't sure what to expect after the first story, but this one, like its predecessor, is outstanding.

Oh, and this pretty much sums up Murderbot

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday #27/ Midweek Stuff

 So here's a midweek round up of what I'm reading watching, etc. Plus Can't Wait Wednesday, hosted by Wishful endings. So sit back, raise a cuppa, and see what's new! And share what you're up to.  

This week my Can't Wait pick is The Cheerleaders.     

The Cheerleaders

What I'm Reading

Blackfish City

What I'm Watching

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Misc Stuff

 This week Movies That Suck will feature Creature from the Black Lagoon!!!    

Monday, June 18, 2018

Top Ten Books To Read By The Pool/ At The Beach


 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy reader Girl. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week is top ten books to read by the pool or at the beach, so I wanted to pick stuff that involved water in some way, and preferably a summertime or island type vibe. There was lots to choose from so this was a fun topic!      

The Deep End (The Country Club Murders #1)

Fun, no two ways about it!  

The Blue

You probably knew this was coming, but this thriller is a beach read if I ever knew one. 

Vitro (Corpus, #2)

Set on a tropical island, with human experiments... what's not to love? 

The Girl from the Sea

Yup... the sea! 

A Map for Wrecked Girls

Stranded on an island... yup. 

The Honeymoon

You know this is gonna be trouble... 

The Shark Club

Set in sunny Florida with a few other stops, this would be an outstanding beach read. 

Dangerous Girls


Eight Hundred Grapes

Not strictly a beach read, but set in Napa wine country. See where I'm going with this? 

Fear the Drowning Deep

Creepy plus island! 


I mean yea? 

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

Tuesday Tagline #96

The Window

It's easy to miss what you don't want to see. 

Cover Love Under The Waves

 Namor (2003-2004) #4

So for this version of Cover Love I am looking at comic covers with water.

Namor (2003-2004) #4


Namor (2003-2004) #11

Namor (2003-2004) #2

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Namor (2003-2004) #9

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sunday Post #250

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Date 
Hello mid- June. It's been nice around here, with warm temps and lots of sun. It's supposed to be hot this weekend! Hope everyone is having a good summer so far. I picked up my reading pace a bit this past week, after all the slacking I've been doing, so there's that. I finally finished the second Murderbot book- Artificial Condition- and am now reading Blackfish City and The Extinction Trials Exile. The second Murderbot novella was every bit as good as the first. And Movies That Suck continues to roll on- last week was Murder on the Orient Express, and this week will be Creature from the Black Lagoon.      

I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story this week and thought it was just okay. Anyone else have thoughts? 12 Monkeys season four is back as of Friday night- SyFy is releasing three episodes a week. People keep saying it's the best show no one is watching :) and I think there's truth to that. I also did a Cover Love: Pulp Covers post and on Monday I'll have another- this one focusing on graphic novels with water covers. What are you watching or reading this week?      

Blackfish CityThe Lies They TellStrange New World (Brave New Girl, #2)Exile (The Extinction Trials #2)Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)Image result for murder on the orient expressRelated image

Song of the week  


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Survive the NightAdrift


Secrets of the Citadel is an awesome Youtube channel that offers analysis of Game of Thrones and Gemma does a great job of breaking things down. Have you read The Forsaken sample chapter from The Winds of Winter? Probably one of the most terrifying chapters of the series yet, and Gemma breaks it all down here. 

Alisen Down talks her role as Olivia on 12 Monkeys. I love how seriously she takes her role!

Elasmosaurus by Michael Skrepnick

Tyrannosaurus Rex

For this pic I love how an apocalyptic asteroid can be seen in the sky- kind of chilling. 

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Doug Henderson


This was a book cover for Cryptozoic. 

Jonny Quest Headquarters: Palm Key

Welcome to Orbit City by AdamLimbert


This kinda cracked me up. 

Neutral Evil -When You Just Don't Care Exactly Where the XP Comes From