Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Ann Leckie, 2013

Hugo Winner - 2014

Premise: A narrator on a mysterious mission finds a body in the snow, makes a spur-of-the-moment decision. Flashbacks to another life eventually illuminate all. Questions of perception, consciousness, humanity and morality on an interstellar scale. Gender-as-performance.

I loved this book, and I especially loved what it did to my mind as I read. The narrator, who goes by Breq, comes from a society that doesn’t use gender the same way other human cultures do. So she refers to every person she interacts with, as ‘she’. By the middle of the book, almost all the characters were occupying this androgynous place in my mind, where their relationships to the plot and to each other were almost uncolored by their physical gender.

It’s amazingly cool, and deserved the Hugo win for that alone.

Happily, there’s more! The plotting is clever and tense, all the characters are interesting even when we’re only seeing the narrator’s point-of-view. The tech and history is explained just enough for you to follow, not dwelt on, but I got the feeling that everything is thought out in the background.

I loved the world, the moral grey all the societies and characters dealt in. Breq is a compelling protagonist, all the more for her unconventional perceptions and emotions. She (small, chapter-two spoiler) had been part of the vast linked consciousness of a starship, and still isn’t human in a lot of meaningful ways. (end small spoiler)

I fully endorse this book for all science fiction fans and gender studies students.

5 stars - An Awesome Book


  1. Great review of an awesome book, with a bonus point of approval for featuring Windblade in the header picture :)


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