HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Necessity

by Jo Walton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Thessaly (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2741497,658 (3.9)12
"More than sixty-five years ago, Pallas Athena founded the Just City on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, placing it centuries before the Trojan War, populating it with teachers and children from throughout human history, and committing it to building a society based on the principles of Plato's Republic. Among the City's children was Pytheas, secretly the god Apollo in human form. Sixty years ago, the Just City schismed into five cities, each devoted to a different version of the original vision. Forty years ago, the five cities managed to bring their squabbles to a close. But in consequence of their struggle, their existence finally came to the attention of Zeus, who can't allow them to remain in deep antiquity, changing the course of human history. Convinced by Apollo to spare the Cities, Zeus instead moved everything on the island to the planet Plato, circling its own distant sun. Now, more than a generation has passed. The Cities are flourishing on Plato, and even trading with multiple alien species. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there's suddenly a human ship in orbit around Plato--a ship from Earth." --… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
For all of your Plato's Republic fanfic needs... ( )
  leahsusan | Mar 26, 2022 |
Despite this conclusion to the fantasy trilogy being the most science-fictional, set in the future as it is, in a way it reminds me the most of the ancient Greek dramas it uses for source material. The ideals of the Just City have been translated to humans on other planets, the Worker robots, and even alien species, but the characters spend much of their time debating their relationship to Fate and Necessity in a way familiar to anyone who's read Oedipus. I was a bit frustrated in the middle, because their continuous time traveling to collect plot tokens often felt too much like a recapitulation of the wandering in the previous novel, but like always, Walton manages to address issues with The Republic in an organic way. Way back in the first book, Socrates awoke the sentience of one of the Workers in exactly the same way he taught Meno's slave how to double a square, and throughout this volume Walton sprinkles in the same clever callbacks to other Platonic dialogues - in one funny scene, a character they visit loves the feminist ideals of the Just City but can't imagine how they get along without slaves, which should give anyone skeptical of Sheryl Sandberg-esque corporate feminism a lot to think about, and the way several of the main characters end up in a polyamorous soul-bond with aliens (don't laugh) is a nice update of Plato's musing on how the souls of men and women relate. The closing points about whether the robotic Workers might be the only ones who can actually embody the virtues necessary to implement the Republic mesh nicely with the lessons about virtue, free will, and consent that were set up on the very first page of the first book. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Starts slow and strange, and it gets stranger as it goes on. The thematically appropriate extended philosophical explorations nevertheless sometimes drag on more than I would have preferred.

And yet, this book is absolutely unique and delightful. I didn't intend to finish it tonight, but once I got to the last 75 pages, I just couldn't put it down. Astonishing, incredibly satisfying, and highly recommended. (But read the first two books in the series first, or this one will make zero sense.) ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
I was so disappointed in this book. It was not the conclusion to the series I hoped for.

For one, the opportunity presented by reuniting with humanity was entirely overlooked: the novel appears to assume that of course Plato's culture will hold its own, that it has reached some kind of permanent maturity that will not be open to outside influence. We don't even see the two sets of humans interacting with each other; they don't even meet until the last page.

For another, this assumption appears to be entirely based on Walton's own personal belief that the Just City is some kind of pinnacle of human achievement that, if it were ever tried, would lead to the ultimate happiness and justice for all people. But for the love of god. That's just dumb. The idea's been around for thousands of years; people have had plenty of time to try it out. It doesn't work because it takes no account of human nature, and not just in the ways that Walton noted and addressed in the first two books of the series: no one likes to be assigned a class at some arbitrary point and then to have one's opportunities restricted to that class. As soon as the Plato-born Irons come into contact with societies where you can reinvent yourself throughout life and continue to advance, the entire Plato system will collapse. But we don't get to see this, because Walton has apparently decided it isn't going to happen, because the class-assigners on Plato are such perfect Philosophers that they never make a mistake.

Also, too much of it reads like an exposition of Walton's own theological and philosophical ideas. NONE of the major characters disagree with each other on anything really important. Their "debates" in this novel are all trivial, superficial, and frankly smug.

But most importantly, it is dull. Dull dull dull. Too much of the book is people sitting around talking to each other about philosophy; there is no real tension in the plot as Necessity, introduced early on, guarantees the ending. Athena goes missing; she leaves clues, they walk around leisurely and collect clues, put them together, find out where she is; they go, see her, chat, and bring her back; then at the end they meet regular humans but that's no biggie because of course they won't be a threat to Plato's society ...

It read like a philosophical treatise as opposed to a novel. It read like a religious apologia, like CS Lewis's Pilgrim's Regress rather than his Narnia chronicles.

Still enjoy the first two books, but they both deserve a better ending. ( )
  andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
On hold - will pick back up.
  CiaraCat | Jan 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Waltonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sanzio, RaffaelloCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stafford-Hill, JamieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
What leaf-fringed legends haunt about thy shape

Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Tempe or the dales of Arkady?

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

—Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"
Socrates: Tell me the, oh tell me—what is the great and splendid work which the gods achieve with the help of our devotions?

Euthyphro: Many and fair are the works of the gods.

—Plato, Euthyphro
Answer me, answer me

Somebody answer be.

Oldest of questions and

Deepest of needs. Our

Mystery, mystery,

Teach us our history

Lost all again

To the dark of the grave.

—Ada Palmer, "A New World"
And now the work is done that cannot be erased by Jupiter's anger, fire and sword, nor the gnawing tooth of time. Let the day, that has power only over my body, end when it will my uncertain span of years. The best part of me will be borne, immortal, beyond the distant stars.

—Ovid, envoi to Metamorphoses
Dedication
This is for Ada, who is not only wonderful but also real.
First words
I have lived for a very long time however you measure it, but I never grew old before.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

"More than sixty-five years ago, Pallas Athena founded the Just City on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, placing it centuries before the Trojan War, populating it with teachers and children from throughout human history, and committing it to building a society based on the principles of Plato's Republic. Among the City's children was Pytheas, secretly the god Apollo in human form. Sixty years ago, the Just City schismed into five cities, each devoted to a different version of the original vision. Forty years ago, the five cities managed to bring their squabbles to a close. But in consequence of their struggle, their existence finally came to the attention of Zeus, who can't allow them to remain in deep antiquity, changing the course of human history. Convinced by Apollo to spare the Cities, Zeus instead moved everything on the island to the planet Plato, circling its own distant sun. Now, more than a generation has passed. The Cities are flourishing on Plato, and even trading with multiple alien species. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there's suddenly a human ship in orbit around Plato--a ship from Earth." --

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.9)
0.5
1
1.5 1
2
2.5 1
3 16
3.5 8
4 27
4.5 7
5 13

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 206,400,773 books! | Top bar: Always visible