Artificial Condition

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It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

Artificial Condition—the follow-up to Martha Wells’s sci-fi action and adventure All Systems Red—is available May 8th from Publishing.



Chapter One

SecUnits don’t care about the news. Even after I hacked my governor module and got access to the feeds, I never paid much attention to it. Partly because downloading the entertainment media was less likely to trigger any alarms that might ...

“Unbury the Future”: Martha Wells’ Full Speech from the 2017 World Fantasy Awards

The convention defines “secret history” as tales which uncover an alternative history of our world with the aid of fantasy literary devices. Like alternate histories or secret tales of the occult.

A secret history might also mean a lost history, something written in a language that died with the last native speaker. It might mean something inaccessible, written in a medium too fragile to last. Like the science fiction and fantasy stories published in U.S. newspapers in the late 1800s. We know a few of those authors, like Aurelia Hadley Mohl and Mollie Moore Davis, but how many others were there? Those stories were proof that everybody has always been here, but the paper they were printed on has turned to dust.

We might know that C.L. Moore wrote for Weird Tales, but I grew up thinking she was the only one, that a woman fantasy ...

All Systems Red Martha Wells Murderbot Diaries

The One Book That Inspired Me Before I Knew I Wanted to Write

One of my absolute favorite books when I was a kid in the 70s was Star Gate by Andre Norton, published in 1958. I found it first in the junior high school library, then managed to buy a used paperback copy — probably secretly; my father didn’t believe in letting me buy books I’d already read, even when they were only $1.00 or so. Even as a kid I was careful with books no matter how many times I read them, and it’s on my shelf today. It’s one of those books that I didn’t realize was deeply encoded in my writing DNA until I went back and looked at it recently. It’s not like I ever forgot about the book, but it and the others like it were so deep under my skin I forgot there was a time before I read them. They formed my understanding of ...
All Systems Red Martha Wells Murderbot Diaries

All Systems Red

< p class="frontmatter">In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

A tense science fiction adventure, Martha Wells’ All Systems Red is available May 2nd from Publishing.


Chapter One

I could have become a mass murderer ...

Five Books with Unusual Methods of Travel

I’ve always loved books that take place in unfamiliar worlds, places with no creative or physical boundaries, as wide or wider than our own world. And the more territory that the characters and the reader can explore, the better! So here are five of my favorite books that use unconventional magical or super-science methods of travel.  

The Idylls of the Queen by Phyllis Ann Karr (1982)

idylls-queenMethod: Swift travel magic. Using magic to make travel on horseback faster is an old-school method, and I think it’s used especially well in The Idylls of the Queen, a magical Arthurian murder mystery. Queen Guenevere has been accused of murder, and Lancelot is inconveniently absent and unavailable to defeat her accuser in battle. Sir Kay is desperate to save her, and knows the motive for the murder lies in some past feud. But the people who can answer his questions are ...

Five Books About Exploring and Communicating with Alien Cultures


Many of my favorite stories in science fiction and fantasy deal with exploring an alien culture. I really like to see different species learning to communicate with each other, or an alien viewpoint on a more familiar human culture. It often requires the writer to step outside the box and create a point of view that takes into account different physical and mental abilities, a different environment, a different way of thinking.

I’ve always been drawn to these kinds of stories, especially the ones that are told through alien viewpoints, especially non-human aliens. I’ve always liked getting into the point of view of characters that are different from me, and seeing the world through their eyes.

There are a number of SF/F books and stories that deal with these themes, but below are five(ish) older works that were big influences on me, and that explore alien-human communication from different angles.