Sunday, 19 January 2014

Ancillary Justice

I've just finished reading Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice this week, which makes it the first novel I've read this year.  For double bonus points I've added a new author to my authors I have read list, and for triple bonus points a book by a woman.  The latter shouldn't really matter in the bigger scheme of things, but it does, because women are hidden in the SF genre by those who only see novels by white middle class males as being worthy of merit.

This book is wonderful.  It's about an AI, and more importantly it's well written with excellent characters, a good plot and great description.  It made me want to curl up when I finished reading it, because it was that good and I felt so sucky as a writer.  It's fairly hard space opera, it has FTL, but everything else seems to obey the laws of physics.  The best thing about the novel is the challenging perspectives and use of the female pronoun as the neutral descriptor of gender that gives the story its sense of describing a truly alien culture.  I'm now looking forward to the sequel, you can read Ann's blog here.

Watching stuff this week was split between finishing off Grimm season two, and then going back and finishing off Space: Above and Beyond.  Watching Grimm was really like being addicted to crack-cocaine, which depending on one's perspective can either be seen as a good thing, or indicative of the writers producing fan service.  Season two ended on a cliffhanger and of course that leaves us waiting for more.  We hates them we do.

Finishing off Space: Above and Beyond was a bit of a curate's egg, bad, but with good bits.  The bad bits are all obvious and can be found easily enough online; for example the science is appalling and the representation of military organisation laughable.  The good bits are that some of the stories were punching way above the quality of the series, and the ending to season one was a real carpet being pulled out from under the feet of the characters understanding of what was going on, and of course killing off one of the characters and putting two more in dire jeopardy was to be expected.  There were hints to the viewer throughout the series that all was not what it seemed, but the characters very rarely got to see the big picture.  It's a show that could well stand a re-boot, if they attended to the issues that kicked the viewer out of the story e.g: having a better rationale for pilots who are used as grunts.

The end of the second week of writing my new novel that ended up with me spending three days editing Bad Dog after getting the first lot of feedback from one of my beta readers.  So this week I only managed 2,143 words on The Bureau, bringing the running total for my fourth novel up to 23,539.


  1. It's an interesting point about the lack of women writers in SF: plenty in Fantasy of course. I suspect it is related to the general paucity of women in geek professions. My wife and I sent are daughters to a Girl's IT Grammar because the girls were encouraged to try their hand at geek stuff. Both of them ended up in geeky jobs, incidentally; drug scientist and paramedic.

    1. You must be proud of both of them.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation of Ancillary Justice, which I found pretty good. Longer review here.