Sunday, 7 June 2015

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

I've come away from this book with a craving for tea and a vague feeling I should be wearing gloves! Which is a sure sign that I was pulled right into the world of the Radch, and the quest for revenge of the AI (artificial intelligence) which used to be the warship Justice of Toren, but is now reduced to one single human body - one of the ancillaries she used to control.
This, of course, is the book that swept the awards last year, Hugo and Nebula - and her sequel is up for awards again this year. I'll be getting it, of course. I want to know what happens to Breq/Justice of Toren and the sidekick she can't get rid of, Seivarden, who spent much of the previous thousand years in suspended animation, and woke to a world so changed that she (though I'm pretty sure Seivarden is male) couldn't cope with it.
The pronouns are one of the famous things about this book. In the Radch empire, everyone is 'she'. It's only when Breq is speaking other languages that she has to take account of gender - and occasionally she will mention that another character sings in a baritone, for instance, so you can guess that they are male. I'm still not sure which gender Lieutenant Awn was, but it doesn't actually matter, because it's the content of her character that's important. It's an interesting way of making the reader think about gender defaults in writing, and as an AI, Breq has a different way of looking at things anyway, which was very cleverly done.
So, this was one of those "keep reading till past midnight" books for me, and I'm happy to have found a new favourite author.

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