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Achaean Book Club Feb/March: Ancillary Justice

KietKiet Posts: 2,525Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
edited February 14 in The Universal Membrane
After a few days with the poll, the book with the most votes was Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. You can find places to purchase it from at the link.

Thread Rules:

  • Book club #1 will run from February 14 to March 14.
  • For the first two weeks, refrain from posting spoilers unless clearly tagged (there's a spoiler option in the formatting options for posts up in the bar that lets you bold etc.) and note right before the spoiler up to what chapter/page people need to have read to not be spoiled by them.
  • When week three starts (March 1st), you may start posting untagged spoilers and discussing the book with the idea that everyone's finished reading it. If you have NOT finished reading it, you should probably stay out of the latter posts of the thread after March 1st until you do!
  • While this thread is active, we'll be voting on next month's book. Feel free to discuss that, too. The books this time are the same as last time + 1 to replace the winner.

Starting questions for discussion (but feel free to discuss whatever comes to mind, or post quotes you like, or ask questions if you're lost).

  • How does the world of Ancillary Justice differ from our own?  I don't mean technologically, since it's sci-fi, but things on the social and personal level. If we had the same technology, how different are the lives of the residents of this book? Are there cases where the technological and the social differences are inseparable?
  • Expanding on the first question, how does the language spoken in the book convey these differences?
  • Breq is not exactly human. How important is this to the story? Would the book have worked with just a human protagonist? How does this impact Breq's development?
  • How is hierarchy treated in Ancillary Justice? How do class/social status play out, and why do they play out that way?
  • The book deals often with the idea of personal and group identity. What are some examples of this, and how does it define identity, through these?
  • What are the basic themes of the book you're picking up on, and how do you feel about them?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill.
Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison/Sarah Monette

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

The Left Hand of Darkness
, Ursula K. Le Guin
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose -and change - their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters.

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler

In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future

Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.

As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramsays face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and its greatest triumph--the human capacity for change.

A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.

Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.

Achaean Book Club Feb/March: Ancillary Justice 7 votes

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Rom 1 vote
The Goblin Emperor
Shirszae 1 vote
The Handmaid's Tale
The Left Hand of Darkness
TruaxZackery 2 votes
Parable of the Sower
To the Lighthouse
Hurai 1 vote
A Wizard of Earthsea
I'll read whatever other people vote for
AegothZeris 2 votes


  • ZeniiZenii Posts: 36Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Book purchased, I'm looking forward to the discussion. Thanks for setting this up Kiet.
  • NazihkNazihk Posts: 884Member @ - Epic Achaean
    IMO, make the voting in another thread. That way people can discuss the books being voted on in that thread without filling this thread with posts about books other than the one being talked about.

    That aside, I've read this entire trilogy before, so I have some thoughts on it I'll post up tomorrow sometime.
  • KietKiet Posts: 2,525Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I don't anticipate the thread being so busy that it'll be an issue. Even on the inaugural thread only a few posts were actually trying to sway votes.
  • AegothAegoth Posts: 2,318Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I'll read whatever other people vote for
    i'll be the sound effects
  • RomRom Posts: 512Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    Stheno said:
    I promised to read out a few chapters of Ancillary Justice. We'll have our first reading, starting from chapter one, in the Achaea Discord at this time (Serenade) tomorrow.


    Chat with other players in real time on your phone, browser, or desktop client:
    Come join the Achaea discord!
  • KietKiet Posts: 2,525Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Read-aloud is in just over 10 minutes!
  • KietKiet Posts: 2,525Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
  • MelodieMelodie Port Saint Lucie, FloridaPosts: 4,704Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    "You have had an extraordinary adventure, my dear. Extraordinary! One that few people could ever imagine. Treasure it. Keep it safe and secure, tucked away in some special place in your heart. 

    But... don't spend the rest of your days chasing a ghost."
  • TruaxTruax Posts: 90Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    The Left Hand of Darkness
    Sorry I missed the read aloud - glad to be back to take part in what's left of the first book's discussion!
  • KietKiet Posts: 2,525Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    How's everyone progressing so far, and what are they thinking? I'm up to chapter 14, and I'm really enjoying the book so far, but I'd like to know roughly where people are at before I post too much.
  • CailinCailin Posts: 104Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    ... finished it the first day ...  :# 
    My first thought was that it was very unusual and interesting to read a book from an AI's point of view. I quite liked it. 

    Not sure if this is really a spoiler, but:

    I thought at first that the author made a mistake when the main character had feelings, but I found out later that it was intentional, that "ships have feelings".

  • SthenoStheno Posts: 27Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Our next reading will start from chapter ten, a third into the book. I'll have some thoughts after the reading.

    Be dazzled by universal time!
    Hey, little songbird, look all around you.
    See how the vipers and vultures surround you.
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