I Recently Finished Reading: Ancillary Justice

This is kind of a big deal for me. I’ve written several times about how I set a goal to read every Hugo Award winning novel, and this was the last one. At least, it’s the last one until the end of the month when the next winner is announced.

The book itself is really good. It took me a while to get into it, just because I was trying to figure out what was going on. Once I figured out the difference between the present story and the flashbacks, things got easier. Since I was listening to the audiobook, I didn’t get any visual cues to separate the two timelines and the similar sounding names took a while to sort out. The pronoun use also threw me for a while, but I think that’s the point. I was never quite able to determine the actual gender for several characters, but in the end it didn’t matter.

Leckie does some really interesting things in her universe. The primary one is the nature of the ancillaries. In the flashback scenes, Justice of Toren is, essentially, a hive minded entity. I’ve only read one other book that played with this idea, A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. Leckie’s approach was much different than Vinge’s though both dealt with similar issues (like how a single instance of the entity copes with separation from the group). While I enjoyed both, I think Leckie does a better job here.

One thing that I appreciate in science fiction authors is when they don’t over-explain. Ancillary Justice does a fine job with that. Enough explanation is given during the course of the story that nothing feels out of place. There aren’t long expositions that describe to the reader something that the inhabitants of the world take for granted. This does a lot to keep the story engaging. It’s a little confusing at first, but it makes far more sense than the alternative.

I’m still trying to decide where I’ll add this book to my Hugo lists, but I’m sure I’ll update them soon.

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5 thoughts on “I Recently Finished Reading: Ancillary Justice

    • Thanks for commenting!

      I’ve always liked science fiction, and one of the first real sci-fi books I read was Ender’s Game. The copy I read had a big disclaimer on the cover that said “Winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Award!” (or something to that effect.) I didn’t know what those awards were, so I did a little research and found that they’re two of the biggest awards in speculative fiction.

      When I decided I wanted to branch out and read more, I went back and started going through all the books that won both awards. Once I finished those, I started working through the Hugo’s (mostly because that award has been around longer, so there were more books to choose from).

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      • Ender’s Game is a great one to start with, and usually the first book I recommend to people who haven’t read a lot of sci-fi. You may also want to look through some of my previous posts, I wrote up my thoughts on all of the Hugo winners (about a paragraph for each one). That may give you some other ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

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