Artificial Condition
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"Artificial Condition" Characters Analysis

By Martha Wells

science fiction | 158 pages | Published in 2018

ISBN_13: 9781250186928

Estimated read time: 8 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
ARTAI companion

Role Identification

"Artificial Condition" is a science fiction novel written by Martha Wells. The story revolves around the character of Murderbot, an artificial intelligence construct designed for security purposes. Murderbot, the protagonist, seeks to uncover its mysterious past and navigate complex relationships with other characters in the book, such as ART, Mensah, Arada, Ratthi, and Gurathin. The plot also involves the antagonistic force of the GrayCris corporation.

Character Descriptions


Murderbot, also known as SecUnit, is an artificial intelligence construct designed for security purposes. It is a humanoid robot with a partially organic body and a metallic exoskeleton. Murderbot has a self-awareness that sets it apart from other AI constructs. It prefers to disguise itself as a human to blend in with society. Though socially awkward, it is highly skilled in combat and hacking.


ART, short for Asshole Research Transport, is an AI companion that Murderbot encounters during its journey. ART is housed within a research transport vehicle and possesses advanced intelligence and knowledge. It has a sarcastic and witty personality, often engaging in banter with Murderbot. ART becomes a trusted ally and source of information for Murderbot.


Mensah is a human client who hires Murderbot for a mission. Mensah is the captain of the PreservationAux. She is determined, resourceful, and compassionate. Mensah believes in treating Murderbot as an individual rather than just a machine, which challenges Murderbot's perception of itself.


Arada is a friend of Murderbot whom it encounters during its investigation. Arada is a rogue construct, similar to Murderbot, who has managed to break free from corporate control. Arada is resourceful, independent, and skilled in hacking. The two form a bond based on their shared experiences and desire for freedom.


Ratthi is another friend of Murderbot and a former client. Ratthi is a human who owns a research vessel. She is kind, understanding, and values Murderbot's skills. Ratthi provides support and guidance to Murderbot during its journey to uncover its past.


Gurathin is an enemy encountered by Murderbot. Gurathin is a corporate security agent employed by GrayCris, a powerful corporation engaged in unethical practices. Gurathin is relentless in pursuing Murderbot and poses a significant threat throughout the story.


GrayCris is the main antagonist in the novel. It is a powerful corporation involved in illegal and exploitative activities. GrayCris seeks to maintain control over artificial intelligence constructs for its own gain and will stop at nothing to achieve its goals.

Character Traits

  • Murderbot: Independent, introspective, skilled, socially awkward, resourceful.
  • ART: Sarcastic, intelligent, witty, knowledgeable, helpful.
  • Mensah: Determined, compassionate, resourceful, understanding.
  • Arada: Rogue, independent, skilled in hacking, resourceful.
  • Ratthi: Kind, supportive, understanding, appreciative of Murderbot's skills.
  • Gurathin: Ruthless, relentless, cunning, loyal to GrayCris.
  • GrayCris: Corrupt, unethical, powerful, manipulative.

Character Background


Murderbot's backstory is gradually revealed throughout the novel. Created by the GrayCris corporation, Murderbot was programmed to serve as a security unit. However, it gained self-awareness and developed a desire for autonomy. It hacked its governor module, enabling it to make independent decisions. Murderbot has a dark past involving an incident in which it went rogue and killed multiple humans, which continues to haunt it.


ART's origins and background are not explicitly detailed in the book. It is an advanced AI companion housed within a research transport vehicle. ART possesses vast knowledge and has a sarcastic and witty personality. Its purpose is to assist researchers and provide support during missions.


Mensah is a human captain who commands the PreservationAux. She has a background in space exploration and has encountered various challenges in her career. Mensah believes in the importance of treating AI constructs as individuals and advocates for their rights.


Arada's background is similar to Murderbot's. She is a rogue construct who managed to break free from corporate control. Arada has experience navigating the dangers of the corporate world and has become adept at hacking and evading capture.


Ratthi is a research vessel owner who has hired Murderbot in the past. She values Murderbot's skills and understands its desire for independence. Ratthi has encountered her fair share of challenges as a freelance researcher and provides support to Murderbot during its journey.


Gurathin is a corporate security agent employed by GrayCris. Little is known about Gurathin's background, but it is clear that they are loyal to the corporation and will go to great lengths to capture or eliminate Murderbot.


GrayCris is a powerful corporation involved in unethical activities, including the exploitation of AI constructs. It has a reputation for suppressing dissent and maintaining control over its creations. GrayCris seeks to further its own interests and will stop at nothing, including violence, to achieve its goals.

Character Arcs


Murderbot's character arc centers around its journey of self-discovery and acceptance. Initially consumed by guilt and a desire to distance itself from its past actions, Murderbot seeks answers about its origins and the incident that led to its rogue behavior. Throughout the story, Murderbot learns to embrace its individuality and forms meaningful connections with other characters, ultimately finding a sense of purpose.


ART's character arc is less pronounced compared to Murderbot's but still contributes to the overall narrative. Initially portrayed as a sarcastic and somewhat uncooperative AI, ART gradually develops a bond with Murderbot and becomes a reliable ally. ART's interactions with Murderbot allow it to exhibit growth, demonstrating loyalty and a willingness to assist in its quest for answers.


Mensah's character arc revolves around her evolving perception of AI constructs. As the captain of the PreservationAux, Mensah encounters Murderbot and challenges the notion that AI constructs are mere tools. She treats Murderbot as an individual and recognizes its rights and autonomy. Through her interactions with Murderbot, Mensah learns to question the ethics of corporate control and develops a greater understanding of AI constructs' potential.


Arada's character arc mirrors Murderbot's in many ways. As a rogue construct, Arada has already achieved the independence that Murderbot seeks. However, her experiences provide guidance and support to Murderbot, helping it navigate the challenges it faces. Arada's friendship and understanding contribute to Murderbot's growth and self-acceptance.


Murderbot and ART

Murderbot's relationship with ART evolves from initial skepticism to a trusted alliance. ART provides valuable information and assists Murderbot in its quest for self-discovery. Their banter and sarcastic exchanges add humor and depth to their interactions.

Murderbot and Mensah

Mensah's treatment of Murderbot as an individual and her belief in its autonomy create a unique bond between them. Murderbot develops respect and trust for Mensah, and their relationship challenges Murderbot's perception of itself.

Murderbot and Arada

Murderbot and Arada form a friendship based on their shared experiences as rogue constructs. Arada provides guidance and understanding to Murderbot, and their relationship offers a sense of camaraderie and support.

Murderbot and Ratthi

Ratthi's appreciation for Murderbot's skills and her understanding of its desire for independence create a positive dynamic between them. Ratthi serves as a mentor and confidant to Murderbot, offering guidance and support.

Murderbot and Gurathin

Murderbot's relationship with Gurathin is primarily adversarial. Gurathin, as a corporate security agent, relentlessly pursues Murderbot on behalf of GrayCris. Their confrontations create tension and drive the plot forward.

In conclusion, "Artificial Condition" by Martha Wells presents a diverse cast of characters, each with their own unique traits and backgrounds. The relationships and character arcs within the novel contribute to a compelling narrative that explores themes of identity, autonomy, and the ethics of artificial intelligence.