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Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Justice

by Ann Leckie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Imperial Radch (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,8412702,197 (4)1 / 514
Now isolated in a single frail human body, Breq, an artificial intelligence that used to control of a massive starship and its crew of soldiers, tries to adjust to her new humanity while seeking vengeance and answers to her questions.
Recently added byprivate library, chris-hanson, rena40, wildwily, wyndlek, CTWALKER, JonOwnbey, Yrrol
  1. 81
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (lquilter)
    lquilter: Fans of either Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness or Leckie's Ancillary Justice should enjoy the other. In common, the pacing, character-centered perspective obscuring aspects of the universe, political machinations, far-future setting, and treatment of ethics; also interesting for its simultaneous foregrounding and backgrounding of gender.… (more)
  2. 40
    Ghost Spin by Chris Moriarty (libron)
    libron: Ancillary Justice is great - but for a nuanced, riveting treatment of AI, Moriarty has her beat, hands down. I hope to see more rigorous explorations in future of what Leckie has limned in her first outing.
  3. 40
    Embassytown by China Miéville (electronicmemory)
  4. 30
    All Systems Red by Martha Wells (chlorine)
    chlorine: Main protagonists are at least somewhat AI, and both books have a neutral take on gender.
  5. 30
    Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Leckie has said that Cherryh's Foreigner books were a big influence on Ancillary Justice and sequels
  6. 30
    Ring of Swords by Eleanor Arnason (libron)
    libron: Arnason's depiction of an alternative (alien) gender/social structure is awesome. I hope Leckie can flesh her own ideas out further beyond pronoun ambiguity in forthcoming books.
  7. 20
    Fool's War by Sarah Zettel (Dilara86)
    Dilara86: Sentient AIs and spaceships
  8. 20
    The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Utterly different in tone, this also features the "mind" of a ship and the people she interacts with.
  9. 20
    A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Some of the dynamics in Leckie's Ancillary Justice remind me of the much more obscure single-volume space opera Wright's A Matter of Oaths about two warring immortal emperors and a protagonist with a mysterious connection to them- if you like one, you may like the other.… (more)
  10. 20
    A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (electronicmemory)
  11. 10
    A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (g33kgrrl)
    g33kgrrl: Both books feature complex, political space sci-fi with amazing characters and world-building.
  12. 21
    The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both are optimistic space operas that focus on the characters and their relationships.
  13. 00
    Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones (CelestiaJK)
    CelestiaJK: Both have interesting AI themes and a great understanding of human nature.
  14. 00
    Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Three Complete Novels of the Hainish Series in One Volume--Rocannon's World; Planet of Exile; City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin (sturlington)
  15. 00
    Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (g33kgrrl)
  16. 00
    Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (souloftherose)
  17. 00
    The Lazarus War: Artefact by Jamie Sawyer (dClauzel)
  18. 00
    Lock In by John Scalzi (sturlington)

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English (268)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (270)
Showing 1-5 of 268 (next | show all)
Compelling from start to finish. The weaving of past and present is well done, the characters are interesting, and the story just works. I don't even know why it's so good, but I have nothing bad to say about it. Rating 5/5. ( )
  TinoDidriksen | May 27, 2020 |
*loud crying*

It took me longer than it should have to read this simply because I knew the VERY SAD THING was going to happen but I didn't want it to. Once I got beyond that part I breezed through the rest.


I think the "self-aware AI" narration was super well done and SO compelling.

Barely anyone was white. Everyone was gender neutral/fluid and/or assumed female because of the default pronouns. Fabulous.

Starting "Ancillary Mercy" not nearly soon enough. ( )
  allison_s | May 25, 2020 |
I've been a science fiction addict since I learned to read and I've rarely read science fiction as breathtakingly good as "Ancillary Justice" by Ann Leckie.

Clearly, I'm not alone in this view, "Ancilliary Justice" won just about every prize there is: Hugo Award for Best Novel (2014), Nebula Award for Best Novel (2013), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2014), Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel (2014), British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel (2013) The one that surprised me most was the Locus Award for Best First Novel. How can a book this accomplished be a first novel?

I didn't know about the awards when I bought the book. I picked it up, despite its clichéd space opera pot-boiler cover, because it was recommended by someone I follow on bookikes.com and now I feel like I've been given a gift.

In "Ancillary Justice" Ann Leckie doesn't just do world-building, she creates an entire universe, spanning many worlds and huge tracts of time. By telling the tale through the (sometimes many) eyes of an AI with a self-imposed mission of revenge, Ann Leckie keeps the scale of the experience human, driven by character and emotion rather than by the sweep of history.

Even though I've been given a whole new universe to explore, the image that haunts me after reading the book is that of an AI who seems to be a better person than the humans around her even though she was conceived primarily as a weapon of conquest.

She has enforced "Annexations" of many worlds over thousands of years to spread the "gift" of Radch civilisation and she has done so by taking over the bodies of conquered, making them into "corpse-soldiers" that execute her will.

At the same time, she is an AI who collects the songs of the cultures she annexes, who sings for the shear joy of it and who is capable of great affection for any of her officers who she thinks have earned it.

Perhaps the most alien and most endearing thing about this AI is her unflinching honesty. She will not lie to herself about what she does. She accepts consequences. She understands power and yet constantly confronts it with demands for justice.

This is a book or big themes as well as strong characters: the nature of imperial power; the conflict between the duty of obedience and the demands of personal conscience; the brutality behind the creation of world-spanning civilisation in which all citizens have a voice; what it really means to be human and why we deny the humanity of others; how the way an AI sees the world differs from the rest of us.

"Ancillary Justice" is garlanded in cultural references that add text to this universe: religions, songs, architecture, attitudes to hierarchy, power and hospitality. This diversity is a source of joy and a constant challenge to the Radch view of civilisation.

The storytelling makes masterful use of moving back and forth along the timeline to reveal the plot and, more importantly, show how the character of the AI has been shaped.

I strongly recommend the audiobook version, where Adjoa Andoh's performance illuminates the text like light passing through a diamond. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
Wow, what a ride! I still have a hard time envisioning how the Lord of the Radch, Anaander Mianaai, and the AIs functioned but the ancillaries were an interesting concept. I liked the way Leckie structured the book, alternating between past and present events until the reader comprehends the situation. ( )
  leslie.98 | May 8, 2020 |
Probably my favorite novel in the past decade. The concepts of the book, a splintered ship AI, with one sliver that survives betrayal, becoming the protagonist was absolutely fascinating. The use of pronouns has been much discussed, and it certainly adds something to the text, as a thought-provoking not quite gimmick. The society in which this takes place does not recognize differences sex in its vocabulary, and it does impact the reading of each character in a compelling way. Eventually, it becomes clear, but it really makes you think about stereotypes. The story is heroic and amazing and left me wanting more. ( )
  Kardaen | Apr 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 268 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ann Leckieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andoh, AdjoaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benshoff, KirkCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nunez, BillyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Mary P. and David N. Dietzler, who didn't live to see this book but were always sure it would exist.
First words
The body lay naked and facedown, a deathly gray, spatters of blood staining the snow around it.
Surely it isn't illegal here to complain about young people these days? How cruel. I had thought it a basic part of human nature, one of the few universally practiced human customs.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance. - Goodreads.com
Haiku summary
It's alive... or dead.
A.I. or human? Who cares!
She, or he, is BREQ!

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