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Ancillary Justice

by Ann Leckie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Imperial Radch (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,9923321,783 (4.01)1 / 546
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.
  1. 92
    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. 50
    All Systems Red by Martha Wells (chlorine)
    chlorine: Main protagonists are at least somewhat AI, and both books have a neutral take on gender.
  3. 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.
  4. 40
    A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (g33kgrrl)
    g33kgrrl: Both books feature complex, political space sci-fi with amazing characters and world-building.
  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. 41
    Embassytown by China Miéville (electronicmemory)
  8. 20
    A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (electronicmemory)
  9. 20
    Fool's War by Sarah Zettel (Dilara86)
    Dilara86: Sentient AIs and spaceships
  10. 31
    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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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)
  13. 10
    Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (souloftherose)
  14. 10
    Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (g33kgrrl)
  15. 10
    Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky (aulandez)
  16. 00
    Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones (CelestiaJK)
    CelestiaJK: Both have interesting AI themes and a great understanding of human nature.
  17. 00
    Lock In by John Scalzi (sturlington)
  18. 00
    The Lazarus War: Artefact by Jamie Sawyer (dClauzel)
  19. 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)
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» See also 546 mentions

English (333)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (335)
Showing 1-5 of 333 (next | show all)
It took a long time for the book to really kick in for me - it wasn't 'til about halfway through that I got to the point where I would, say, be surprised that I was at the end of the subway line already while reading. But once it finally did, it really worked for me. It's intended to be first in a series, and I'm totally going to jump onto the next book when it comes out. ( )
  cythraulybryd | Aug 16, 2022 |
Update on second reading: I revisited this book because I finally got copies of the sequels and was shocked to realise I could barely remember it. Even with familiarity with the world, I again had trouble getting into it. I eventually enjoyed the experience of reading it again, though. Onto the next one.

Original review: I usually love sci fi that drops you into a fully-formed world with few clues as to what is going on (think China Miéville's Bas-Lag books), but I actually had trouble wrapping my brain around this at first. I was intrigued but a little annoyed. Maybe it was the timing, as I just finished a very difficult academic year and am trying to figure out how to just read again. In fact, we were supposed to read this book for a class on non-realist fiction, but it was changed to another book and I was waiting for term to end so I could read it anyway. All that being said, about 50 pages in it finally clicked and I found I had trouble putting it down. Those first 50 pages, though, were rough. Also, the Radchaai reminded me of the Peacekeepers from Farscape mixed with the Roman Empire, so it's hard to shake some associations while reading. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
This is a book that is not dumbed down for an average reader. I had to work a little bit to take this all in especially at first but it was worth the effort. One of the best things about the book was that the world was fully realized and consistent. As the story went on you discovered more and more about the culture. There was no info dumb you were just dropped down in the middle of the story and the world was revealed to you as the protagonist moved through it. Every time I thought this is too much work to figure out the next moment I would think 'no this is genius writing.'

One of the things that led me to read this book in the first place was that the blurb stated that the main character, Breq, was a space ship which had been destroyed and left only with a fragile human body. I just had to find out how that happened. When I discovered the way she ended up human I practically cackled with glee. It made so much sense. In fact that's what I thought about all of the things which at first seemed confusing. After you stopped and thought about it everything was clear and made sense. Thanks for making me use my brain.

The main character was awesome. I loved her. She was intense and stoic and grumpy and determined but she didn't really change. The person who changed was Seivarden, the man she rescued from despair and drug abuse whom she didn't even really like. So this ship's AI showed her humanity through her actions to this man. He was the one who changed and grew throughout the story but you saw it all from Breq's POV. She always seemed so baffled by him and her reaction to him.

Going to pick up the next one tomorrow. ( )
  Luziadovalongo | Jul 14, 2022 |
Fascinating. ( )
  quavmo | Jun 26, 2022 |
Breq decided twenty years ago on a impossible goal. She's been traveling across space and risking her life toward that accomplishment every since. Will she succeed? What made her so hellbent on this target?

Ancillary Justice is best of breed political sci-fi. It's a slowly revealed high stakes plot, contains excellent worldbuilding rife with implicit reflections on gender and identity, and boasts highly novel characters -- so novel, in fact, the idea of "embodied spaceship AI" has been on the resurgence since this novel's publication in 2013. These are classic '70s sci-fi themes with modernist trappings -- genderless language rendered in English with female pronouns, one consciousness having multiple physical bodies, self-aware spaceships, living multiple millennia. The story addresses core human themes: What does it mean to be divided in oneself, and how does that affect others? How do we construct identity? What is the good life, and what is appropriate to sacrifice to achieve it? Is there really a moral distinction in legislating behavior versus legislating thought? This book is definitely an example of the "humanities questions through spec fic" genre that so often speaks to me; I will pick up more by Ann Leckie. ( )
1 vote pammab | Jun 5, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 333 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (18 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.
Quotations
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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!
(pickupsticks)

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