BOOK REVIEW: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Last year I reviewed Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice before it swept the major SF awards–including the Hugo, the Nebula, the Golden Tentacle, the Arthur C. Clarke, BSFA, and the Locus Award, as well as nominations for Phillip K. Dick award, Tiptree Award, and Compton Crook Award. Today marks the release of the second book in the three-part series, this one titled Ancillary Sword. If you haven’t read Ancillary Justice yet, and you don’t want spoilers for that book go read that review and that book instead. I highly recommend. (Also, Carl Slaughter recently interviewed Ann Leckie on Diabolical Plots, go check that out too.)

Still here? For a high level summary of Ancillary Justice, go read the review. At the end of Ancillary Justice, Breq succeeds in bringing out the internal conflict of the many-bodied emperor of the Radchaai empire and starting out-and-out interstellar war, taken into the confidence by one side of Anaander Miaanai while the other one sabotages the interstellar gates to try to keep the news from spreading.

The second book starts with Breq taking the only assignment from Anaander that she would accept–to visit Athoek Station, an important station where Lieutenant Awn’s sister Bosnaaid lives. Although she is only given one ship, Mercy of Kalr, Breq is promoted to the position of Fleet Captain to ensure she has authority over other captains she crosses. Her friend Seivarden is one of her lieutenants on the ship. Breq wishes to go to have the opportunity to make amends to Bosnaaid for the role she played in Awn’s death. Anaander wants Breq to go to make sure that Athoek Station is ready to defend against attack from the other Anaander. But nothing with 3000-year-old Anaander Miaanai is ever simple–Anaander has already shown herself very capable of great trickery, able as she is to bypass security systems and AIs with powerful access codes. Breq knows that Anaander wouldn’t let a powerful person like Breq go without some kind of insurance, but what form will that insurance take?

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Podcast Spotlight: Podcastle

In the last two podcast spotlights I featured Escape Pod, the first speculative fiction podcast, and Pseudopod, the first horror podcast. This installment is about Podcastle, the third brand of the Escape Artists brand with the other two. They cover the whole spectrum of fantasy stories from contemporary to epic, grimdark to comedy, literary to light, contemporary authors to classics (including three Conan the Barbarian stories so far). There’s something there for everybody, and plenty to recommend. Compared to the other Escape Artists podcasts, they are friendlier to longer stories–even featuring period “Giant” episodes of novelette length stories, and have also often feature Miniature episodes for flash fiction. They’ve also started doing some non-fiction features, including Podcastle Spotlights to highlight an exciting upcoming fantasy novel, and recently featured Kameron Hurley’s essay “We Have Always Fought” reprinted from Dribble of Ink that went on to win the Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

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The winner of the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award has been announced.

Congratulations to Ann Leckie for her debut novel Ancillary Justice!

Venturing out of the soaking rain and bitter cold of March in which they spent more time hibernating than podcasting, John E. O. Stevens, Fred Kiesche and Jeff Patterson add a fourth saddle to their April episode. Paul Weimer, who has commented at every genre blog possible and who has appeared in more podcasts than you can listen to comfortably in one sitting, joins the Three Hoarsemen for this episode.

While hibernating, we spent much time reading, and now gather around the communal fire pit to discuss the works of the late Charles Sheffield, their reactions to Ann Leckie’s Nebula-nominated novel Ancillary Justice, as well as the bits and pieces of the genre that we consumed since last time.

Approx. 1 Hour 25 Minutes

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Ann Leckie (ANCILLARY JUSTICE) on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Ancillary Justice author Ann Leckie joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

You can listen below, at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to the Functional Nerds podcast through iTunes.

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A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, an online magazine publishing three issues of fiction per year with various unlikely themes. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.

Women to Read: Where to Start – January 2014 Edition

by A.C. Wise

A new year is upon us, which means a whole lot of new reading needs to be done. Or is that just me? Regardless, if you’re new to this series, welcome! Basically, I recommend women to read and where to start with their work. Sometimes there’s a theme, and sometimes there isn’t. This time around, there isn’t an overt theme, but there is an underlying thread of conflict and a questioning of the notion of self in these works. Either way, I hope you enjoy them, and I wish you happy reading in 2014!
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Wanna hang out with Orbit authors Daniel Abraham, Ann Leckie and Rachel Bach? Orbit is hosting a Google Hangout called A Night at the Space Opera: Science Fiction Writers on Our Future in Space on Thursday November 7 allowing you to do just that.

Here are the deets (because I am apparently in too much of a rush to type out the word “details”, but not overly long parenthetical sentences that include the word I was trying to avoid anyway…)
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Ann Leckie has published short stories in Subterranean Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Realms of Fantasy. Her story “Hesperia and Glory” was reprinted in Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2007 Edition edited by Rich Horton. Ann has worked as a waitress, a receptionist, a rodman on a land-surveying crew, and a recording engineer. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, children, and cats. You can find her at www.annleckie.com and on Twitter at @Ann_Leckie.

The Best AIs Strike a Balance Between Logic and Emotion

by Ann Leckie

If science fiction has taught us nothing else, it’s taught us that emotion and cognition are separate — maybe even mutually exclusive — things. In order to be really, truly super smart, we need to remove or repress those silly, irrational emotions of ours. If we can do that, if we can free ourselves of emotion and sentiment, we can be as brilliantly logical as Mr. Spock.
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