Paperback â Ancillary Justice Kindle ✓

Ancillary Justice En un planeta helado y remoto una soldado llamada Bre se está acercando al cumplimiento de su misión En el pasado Bre era Justicia de Toren una crucero de batalla colosal con una inteligencia artificial ue conectaba a miles de soldados ue servían al Radch el imperio ue había conuistado la galaxia Ahora un acto de traición la ha hecho pedazos y solo cuenta con un único y frágil cuerpo humano numerosas preguntas sin responder y un ardiente deseo de venganza NOTE I feel bad changing my rating and my review after so many people have liked this review but one of the commenters below convinced me that the central arguments I made in my original 2 star review were invalid And at risk of breaking the entire Internet I decided to listen to a reasonable argument and evidence and consider changing my mind In addition I decided to reread listen to actually the book in preparation for reading the seuel Ancillary Sword as my due diligence as a 2015 Hugo voter My original read of the book was in Oct 2013 My re read was in June 2015 Based on the re read I changed my rating from a 2 to a 3 and I'd give it 35 if I couldReasoningBre isn't as much an idiot as I made her out to be Her plan actually did make sense In particular she always had the ambition of unmasking the hidden civil war for one thing and when she was caught and detected it wasn't by the station AI but by the emperor himherself for another So the plot is really not nearly as bad as I suggestedIn addition the world building is way better than I gave credit for initially I was overly irate at the political aspects and they are there and cumbersome and silly but there's a lot going on and it's actually uite goodI'm still not what you'd call a fan but the book deserves better than my original rating For the sake of transparency however I'm leaving that original unedited since my re read at least review below Original Review There’s a simple life lesson that I still haven’t really learned and it is this being good at making art doesn’t actually mean that you’re any good at teaching explaining or critiuing artThe first example of this in my life was comparing a critiue of the album “Closer to the Edge” by the band Yes with actual interviews of the band itself The critiue which was written in an email to me from a friend of my father’s who is a music buff and a scholar of the poet Milton was incredible It explained the lyrics and musical themes of the album in ways that opened my eyes to its depth complexity and brilliance Listening to the band members try to explain the meaning of their own songs however was nothing short of traumatic They veered between banal and saccharine on the one hand and flatly incoherent on the other It didn’t make me stop enjoying their music but it did make me stop listening to or reading their interviewsThe second example of this was the recommendation given by Jerry Holkins the writer of web comic Penny Arcade for Karen Traviss’s first Star Wars novels I greatly admire Holkins as a writer A lot of his blogging lacks polish and refinement he doesn’t know when to self edit or perhaps even what that concept means but his skill and passion are unmistakable and his voice is incredibly uniue He is in a way a hero of mine Even though a lot of what he writes is uite frankly offensive crapIt had been several years since the incident with Yes’s “Closer to the Edge” and I didn’t really connect the two I just figured if Jerry Holkins was unreservedly endorsing a writer then I had to get on that stat I went out and bought not one but two of her novels right awayThey were terrible Not the absolute worst franchise fiction I’ve ever read but well if that sounds like a good example of the expression “damning with faint praise” then you’re absolutely right I forced myself to finish the first one because this was the time before Red Mars and so I still lived by a code of finishing every novel I started But I didn’t bother to even start the second There was nothing in novels—not a single thing—that gave me any hope for her future writingWell almost another decade passed before I fell into this trap again This time the source was John Scalzi I figured that whereas Holkins is primarily a blogger who was endorsing a sci fi author John Scalzi actually was a sci fi author himself so perhaps his endorsement should carry weight Based on his praise the categorization of Ancillary Justice as “space opera” the premise which described a sentient ship thousands of years old and the awesome cover art I bought it Honest admission if you put a John Harris illustration on a book I will almost invariably buy it I'm not saying it's smart but it's trueWell this is three strikes I think I’ve finally learned my lesson that the creative skills for making art and the analytic skills for reviewing and criticizing art have about as much in common as plumbing and playing the piano I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as someone who is both a good writer and a good critic There are probably some good plumbers who can also tickle the ole ivories I’m just saying that I fully recognize that creating good art doesn’t make you in any way a reliable source for evaluating artSo what’s wrong with Ancillary Justice There’s actually one essential problem but it’s a doozy nothing the major characters do makes any sense whatsoeverThe entire story is motivated by basically two decisions the protagonist makes neither of which make the least bit of sense First she decides to assassinate someone who has literally thousands of bodies incarnations spread out over a good chunk of the galaxy using—I kid you not—a handgun She spends 20 years tracking down the special handgun so that she can go kill this person knowing full well that while she’ll probably be able to kill one or two bodies it will have no significance whatsoeverNo plausible chance of success and no conseuence even if successful it’s the stupidest plan ever conceivedNow you could invest this hopeless and desperate plan with all kinds of emotional tension or rich existential gravitas but Ann Leckie doesn't go for that When confronted by the stupidity of her plan the protagonist just shrugs Which sort of makes you as the reader want her to get blown up to save you the effort of finishing the book If she doesn't care why should you There's stoic and then there's pathologically apatheticOf course “plan” is kind of a generous description of the protagonist's intended course of actions This isn’t exactly Mission Impossible Her theory is 1 Acuire the magical gun and then 2 Gain an audience with the target and then 3 Shoot the target The problem is that the target is surrounded by a near omniscient AI who easily detects the plan ahead of time which doesn’t surprise the protagonist thus compounding the idiocy It also renders the primary motivation of the first half of the book moot Why do we care about spending 2 decades tracking down the magical gun that can get past all the sensors if the AI around the target can perfectly easily spot the protagonist herself In the book she ends up needing to lay low for months to get that audience but the station AI identifies her in just 2 3 days So once again it's literally the worst plan everIf this doesn’t sound like compelling drama it isn’tThe second major decision is for the protagonist to save the life of some random dude that she finds in the snow and then keep him around or less indefinitely despite the fact that he’s an obnoxious spoiled brat a drug addict and a lying thief She also jumps off a bridge to save his life at one point coming damn near close to killing herself Didn’t she have some big epic plan to fail at assassinating the villain Yeah but sometimes she just does inexplicable stuff because plotA lot of stories struggle with getting their characters to do what the author needs them to do for believable reasons supported by internal motivation In Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie doesn’t struggle She doesn’t even trySince his recent Hugo win sadly for Redshirts which is definitely his least impressive work since his practice novel Agent To The Stars Scalzi has been criticized even for his politics I’ve definitely noticed that he’s altered the entire course of the Old Man’s War universe or at least chosen to emphasize new aspects of it in order to convey a much left friendly political tone in recent works especially The Human Division but I don’t want to try and get in Scalzi’s head Maybe he’s pandering maybe he’s frustrated that he doesn’t get credit for the beliefs he really has or maybe it’s just the artistic direction he was already going in I don’t know but it’s is odd that Ancillary Justice which he chose to support is also such an overtly political workThe political gimmick and it really is just a gimmick is that the viewpoint character comes from a future human society that is just off the shelf imitation Roman Empire a common sci fi stereotype except that they have also totally rejected gender essentialism That’s basically itThe rejection is so complete that their language has lost gendered pronouns and so everyone is referred to as “she” by the main character who is unable to tell male and female human beings apart Now linguistically that’s not actually far fetched Hungarian which I speak passably also has no gendered pronouns But the reason I dismiss it as pretty banal politics is that there really isn’t any definition to the primary race other than this one really specific detail As a corollary the only modesty taboo they have is that hands should always be covered by gloves which is another strictly non gendered detail I’m not really sure that this ploy has a real purpose other than to “raise awareness Mostly it just seems like wish fulfillment for a particular kind of feminist that would like to see the eradication of all gender distinctions Now my response might seem reactionary but here’s the thing gender can be a legitimate and fascinating topic for science fiction See The Left Hand of Darkness That’s an incredible book both in general and also for its thoughtful and probing analysis of gender relationships and assumptions It’s not conservative either I also just finished The Handmaid's Tale which is also steeped in gender concerns also fabulously well written and which I also loved Also not conservative So I’m not opposed to either the topic or to a liberal perspective on it What I’m opposed to is laziness Those books didn't just raise the issue they actually delved in Ancillary Justice just sort of threw this one really extreme plot device at the reader and then walked away Clearly it's designed to make you as a reader reconsider gender but it's just a gimmick Like I said plenty of real world languages get along just fine without gendered pronouns This isn't some earth shattering inventionI see there’s a seuel out already or coming out soon I can’t be bothered to find out which It wasn’t as painful to read as Red Mars but that’s about all I can say in its favor This book caught my eye mostly because it's been winning just about every award ever this year So I picked it up when I was on tour And as soon as I started it I could see why it was getting such attention It's exceptionally well written I was almost immediately pulled in I should mention here it's Science Fiction I don't review much sci fi these days because I mostly read fantasy For the most part what's where my taste lies these days But that wasn't always the case When I was younger I read sci fi almost exclusively It's pretty much all I read for several years So in some ways reading this book was like going home again I could feel it stretching my brain in ways it hasn't been stretched in a while Making me think in different directions than I'm used to It was good gritty realistic sci fi Far future Big differences in tech But what really makes this book great are the big cultural differences in the world I've read a fair chuck of sci fi but I've never run into anything like this before I love it when I run into something fresh and new This book will make you work a little It's not going to spoon feed you It's going to drop you in the middle of the story and let you figure out what the hell is going on by yourself no long explanations of how the culture developed because of blah blah blah Nope this is a novel that leave you to make up your own mind about things It leaves room for ambiguity That's a rare thing in books these days And I love it I've already ordered the seuel so I can see where the next piece of story leads If you're willing to work a little this book is absolutely worth your time Most of my friends are married now and have 1 or 2 kids I like kids but once in a while you meet one of those kids that everyone adores and that is very clever and friendly but for some reason I simply don't get along with that particular kid Unfortunately for me Ancillary Justice is that kidIn Ancillary Justice we're following 2 plot lines for most of the novel In the present storyline we follow Bre the last physical manifestation of the ship Justice of Toren's complex AI In the Radch empire ships are sentient and control a multitude of physical bodies called ancillaries After the destruction of her ship Bre is on a uest to get justice for said destructionThis storyline alternates with a second narrative set 19 years in the past and explains what led to the destruction of the shipWhat makes the novel uniue and is in my opinion the main reason for its huge success among critics are 3 stylistic elementsThe one most talked about is an element of the language of the Radch cause their language only knows one grammatical gender The Radch and therefore Bre refer to everyone as she So one of the main novelties of the book is that for some characters you'll have to figure out and decide on your own if a character is male or femaleThe second uniue element is the ship's ability to communicate with multiple persons in various places at the same time due to her omnipresence onboard and use of an army of ancillaries on the groundSo there are some discussions where the ship speaks with multiple persons at the same time and the conversations overlap But this is done without being too messy mostly only two conversations happen at the same time and the effect is not overusedThe third uniue element is of course Bre herself cause she is not human To emphasize this effect the prose feels very cold and distancedFrom my point of view the success of the novel for each reader depends on how much you are personally fascinated by the uniueness of those elements cause frankly the novel doesn't offer much beyond these elementsDue to the cold and distanced prose I was never really engaged in the novel It's like having someone show you an abstract painting of 5 triangles and explaining that those triangles represent something really clever My head may appreciate the explanation but all I really see are 5 rather boring triangles As you might see I'm not a very artsy personAnd as a former philosophy student who did a few courses of philosophy of language the idea of the singular grammatical gender was one I could wrap my head around pretty uickly cause we did some very similar experiments with language and so the effect on me was not as fascinating as I hoped it would beSo to bring a little Freud into the discussion my Super Ego was able to appreciate Anne Leckie's efforts in creating a uniue experience but my Id was frankly bored to death by the novelIt's major weakness in my opinion is the lack of an engaging plot The main narrative stands still for most of the novel and has to wait until the past storyline catches upThere are multiple chapters in an abandoned hut where the characters do a lot of sitting eating and sleeping and the narrative only painfully crawls forward The second storyline in the past is far interesting in my opinion and especially the last chapters set onboard the Justice of Toren were my personal highlightUnfortunately the last third of the novel then just stays with the first narrative and comes to a conclusion I wasn't interested in and felt highly constructedThe second thing that didn't work for me at all were the characters Beside maybe from Lt Awn in the second storyline I wasn't able to connect with a single character least of all with the main character Bre and her constant inconsistencies in character In one chapter she's very cold and distanced in the next she shows a lot of human emotion that seemed uncalled for I don't know if Leckie wanted to achieve the feeling of a character torn between humanity and rationality but this conflict is a rather over used trope of SF and many other authors did it better in my opinionAnother character that drove me mad is Seivarden a Radch Bre takes care of in the main plotline His integration is a borderline offence to my intelligence as a readerHe is a mere plot device for Bre to achive something at the end of the book and it feels that this is his only purpose To make him not that obvious a deus ex machina element Leckie just lets Bre literally stumble over him in the first chapter Then of course he has no use for 250 pages so the author decides to let him sleep for most of the time or be unconscious To create the illusion of depth she attaches a random drug issue for him of all the boring standard flaws the most unimaginative of them all that is never really addressed or taken seriously cause we all know that he's a plot device so why botherA thing I liked better was the world building The whole culture of the aggressive Radch with their devotion to religion and formality is really fascinating and some of the alien elements peaked my interestI personally would have enjoyed a bit in depth information because when Leckie does world building it was very interesting but most of the time we just get the information that we absolutely need to understand what's going onSo to make an already long review not even longer I'm not blind to the intellectual merits of the novel and can understand why people praise the book for itBut for me personally the basics of the book especially plot and character didn't work out so unfortunately I can only say that this book was okay for me but nothing I really enjoyed Ann Leckie's series drops us right into a universe both familiar and terrifyingly different It may take you a while to understand what is going on because many of your assumptions about point of view will be stripped away This is because the main character Bre is an ancillary a human body that has been 'slaved' to the artificial intelligence of a giant spaceship in this case Justice of Torren In the empire called the Radch each spaceship is sentient crewed by legions of ancillaries who are all connected to the same central mind Because of this Bre can be in a thousand places at once watching events unfold all across the surface of a planet wherever her soldiers are stationed or on the ship orbiting aboveWhere do ancillaries come from The Radch is a military empire It exists by annexing other star systems and enslaving huge swaths of the native population putting them in cryogenic storage until those bodies are needed their old minds wiped away and reprogrammed as part of a ship's AI If that sounds horrifying it is but Bre knows no other life until a terrible event separates her from her mothership which is destroyed in hyperspace leaving Bre alone the last remnant of Justice of Torren An ancillary is not considered to be human but now Bre must find her way through space hiding and pretending until she can find a way to discover the truth about how her ship was destroyed and take revenge on the person she blames who happens to be the leader of the empireThere are three books in the Radch series and I read them all one after the other Once you are sucked into this world you don't want to leave Another really cool thing about the world which Leckie creates the Radch do not pay attention to gender Gender exists but their language does not even include words for 'he' or 'she' Because of this all characters are labeled 'she' and you can't really be sure nor does it really matter what gender they are Bre struggles whenever she is in another non Radch culture since she has to look for subtle clues and remember not to insult males by calling them female and vice versa I just loved this I found the second two books a bit slow moving than the first but that was okay By that time the story was a drama I cared about and the Radch are all about taking time observing propriety and having tea You have to accept them on their own terms at their own pace If you are looking for a brave and terrifying new world to immerse yourself in definitely give this series a go

  • Paperback
  • 416 pages
  • Ancillary Justice
  • Ann Leckie
  • Spanish
  • 24 December 2016
  • 9788466656887

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