The artifical intelligence segment that could

Written by
Ann Leckie in 2013

If you’ve ever seen Star Trek Voyager, you’ll be sort of familiar with the story of ship artificial intelligences growing as characters. The Emergency Medical Hologram and Seven of Nine are great characters in the story of the Voyager’s homeward journey. Ancillary Justice takes that concept and expands it greatly.

Thousands of years in the future, when even the location of humanity’s homeworld is long forgotten, a huge empire called the Radch expands using enormous starhips filled with soldiers controlled by the ships’ own artificial intelligences, called ancillaries. The Radch are efficient at annexations and hated for it, bringing their brand of “civilization” to worlds and adapting their human inhabitants to the style and culture.

Some years before the story is set, the ship Justice of Toren is overseeing the last annexation of a planet, when a conspiracy is brought to the Radch governor’s attention. Despite the attempts at diffusing the situation, it all (predictably) goes awry, and the ruler of the Radch, Anaander Mianaai is discovered as part of the conspiracy.

Ancillary Justice is an excellent read, the story is engrossing and the universe it’s set in wonderfully thought out. There isn’t a lot of action per se, but you do get to see a lot of the culture of the Radch, and its history through the Justice of Toren’s eyes.

As a debut novel and the first in a trilogy, Ancillary Justice is fantastic and really deserves the awards and accolades it received on debut. Do try it.


Solid and well imagined story about a future human society.

Read this if you…

Enjoy space operas and don’t absolutely need action packed novels.

Don’t read this if you…

Don’t like aritificial intelligences.


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