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The Just City (Thessaly) by Jo Walton
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The Just City (Thessaly) (edition 2015)

by Jo Walton (Author)

Series: Thessaly (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7915720,210 (3.87)75
Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future - all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past. The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer's daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome - and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her. Meanwhile, Apollo - stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does - has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human. Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives - the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself - to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect.… (more)
Member:dalai-lt
Title:The Just City (Thessaly)
Authors:Jo Walton (Author)
Info:Corsair (2015), 369 pages
Collections:Wishlist
Rating:
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The Just City by Jo Walton

Recently added bynight_owl13, private library, Mika_Oksanen, kickthebeat, davidkolb, dalai-lt, mmonette
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» See also 75 mentions

English (56)  Finnish (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
I didn't love it as much as My Real Children, but still quite delightful. ( )
  Menshevixen | Oct 13, 2020 |
A book I would have enjoyed more if I knew anything about philosophy. As it was, I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, and it never did. ( )
  Computr821 | Aug 28, 2020 |
Fascinating and engaging, but ultimately unsatisfying, even given the fact that it's the first book of a series. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
A very cerebral, nearly clinical book, and I wanted to like it more than I actually liked it. I'm very here for the character of Socrates, and … not much else, to be quite honest. It's a fun concept, but I felt that even where it tried to go past the clinical, detached nature, it remained off. High quality, but not for me. ( )
  _rixx_ | May 24, 2020 |
Only Jo Walton could make a novel about the design and administration of a city even remotely interesting.

This is very much a novel of ideas. The themes of consent, choice and power are major threads. This could very easily have been a pedantic, pedagogical bore in the hands of a poor novelist, with characters delivering speeches at each other in various settings; that it's not a bore, that it is actually very interesting, that I mostly read it straight through, says a lot about Walton. Everyone's viewpoint was respected; a reader could empathize with any of the perspectives.

And of course, things do happen in the Just City--no car chases or big explosions or major battles between orcs and elves, no, and in fact the denouement is a public debate between Athena and Socrates. I am really looking forward to the sequel. ( )
  andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
The Just City is a glorious example of one of the primary purposes of speculative fiction: serving as a map to the potentials and miseries of a possible world. But it is also a map that should be scrawled with the words, “here be dragons.”
 
Brilliant, compelling, and frankly unputdownable, this will do what your Intro to Philosophy courses probably couldn't: make you want to read The Republic.
added by bluejo | editNPR, Amal El-Mohtar (Jan 15, 2015)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Waltonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sanzio, RaffaelloCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stafford-Hill, JamieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Wherever you go, there are plenty of places where you will find a welcome; and if you choose to go to Thessaly, I have friends there who will make much of you and give you complete protection, so that no one in Thessaly can interfere with you.

—Plato, Crito
The triremes which defended Greece at Salamis defended Mars too.

—Ada Palmer, Dogs of Peace
Yes, I know, Plato; but if you always take the steps in threes, one day you will miss a cracked one.

—Mary Renault, The Last of the Wine
If you could take that first step
You could dance with Artemis
Beside Apollo Eleven.
—Jo Walton, "Submersible Moonphase"
Dedication
This is for Ada, who took me to Bernini's Apollo.
First words
She turned into a tree. It was a Mystery. It must have been. Nothing else made sense, because I didn't understand it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future - all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past. The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer's daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome - and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her. Meanwhile, Apollo - stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does - has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human. Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives - the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself - to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect.

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Book description
"Here in the Just City you will become your best selves. You will learn and grow and strive to be excellent."

Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future—all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.

The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer's daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome—and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her.

Meanwhile, Apollo—stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does—has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.

Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives—the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself—to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.
Haiku summary
Free will, consent, gods,
time travellers, robots, let's try
Plato's Republic!

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