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American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels 1953-56 (Library of America #227)
Gary K. Wolfe, Frederik Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth, Theodore Sturgeon, Leigh Brackett, Richard Matheson

Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie I thought I had found something here, but, no. The two most intriguing parts of this are: The main character used to be a sentient space ship; Her native language makes no gender distinction and therefore the first-person narration uses feminine pronouns for all the characters, including the males. So I was hoping for some old-fashioned Ursula Leguin-type Sci-Fi-of-ideas, but the author had something else in mind. It turns out this is just the first book of an expansive multi-part space opera. This is fine, it’s just not what I wanted to read. The story has two time-frames set a millennium apart and they are told in alternating chapters. In the present-day story, our hero Breq is dead-set on revenge against somebody, the other storyline details—slowly—the reason for her vengeance. At first, when I still thought I was reading the novel-of-ideas I wanted to read, I assumed the fractured storyline was supposed to be representative of how a former sentient spaceship with unlimited eyes and ears perceives time (or something like that.) But, no, it turns out that Leckie is just using the old TV/movie/bad-fiction trick of trying to build intrigue by delaying exposition. In the present-day storyline, Breq knows exactly why she’s doing what she’s doing, who she’s after, and what that person did to set her on this single-minded quest for justice. Since it is first person narration, there’s no reason we shouldn’t know, too. Leckie decides, for no reason but the creation of artificial suspense, to dole out that essential information in teaspoon size portions. It’s a trick and it’s cheap. I don’t have the patience for it. So, at about the halfway point, just as the big reveal was about to happen, I gave up.

I’m not giving this a star-rating. I’m not the reader for this book; someone who is will be better suited to judge it.