Science Fiction Featuring Commentary vs. Commentary Disguised as Science Fiction


Cover art for the novel “Ancillary Justice”

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Oh good grief.

I signed up to receive email notifications from because they occasionally offer free downloads of books that I (or someone) think I should read. I opened up one such email this morning and discovered this article: Power, Responsibility, and Revenge: Ancillary Justice Ten Years On.

Whenever the word “Justice” is used in a title or text of a work, and given Tor’s obvious political bent, I start to make assumptions. In this case I wasn’t wrong. Here’s a couple of quotes from the article by Adrienne Martini:

With her first book, (Ann) Leckie recombined the DNA of a space opera into a surprising work that captured all of the gee-whiz of empires in space while at the same time interrogating what such empires were good for.


In that early scene, Leckie efficiently sets up one of the key features of this world: the Radchaai language doesn’t gender people. Breq defaults to she/her pronouns for everyone unless she is speaking the language of the colonized. We only know Seivarden is a “he” because a bartender on Nilt refers to him that way. Frequently, Leckie shows Breq struggling with finding the right pronouns for the languages that require them.


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