I didn’t notice gender anything either and while Ancillary Justice did have some alien ideas and interesting moments for the most part it rolled right off me. Didn’t particularly care for it, but a whole lot of people did so probably worth checking out.
Yeah, book 1 is great, and stands on its own very, very well. 2 was a bit meh, but if you liked the 2 main chars and the world, it is ok. 3 is a bit better - especially the backstory parts on the characters, but also skippable.
Kevin Hearne’s A Plague of Giants (first book in a new series by the author of the Iron Druid books) is on sale for $1.99 kindle too:
I picked it up, but haven’t started yet.
Nice. That’s been on my wishlist for a while. I enjoyed the Iron Druid books (only read a couple, though).
The gender neutrality was not forced; it was a narrative conceit. It didn’t apply universally, but to a particular culture that simply didn’t signal gender norms in speech, dress or otherwise, and didn’t have gendered pronouns in its language. Most of the other cultures in the novels are gendered, and the protagonist is often frustrated with having to pick up gender cues in order to use the correct pronouns/modes-of-address in their languages. That said, this is a relatively minor point in the novels, which are much more about imperialism and colonialism and class and slavery and religion than about gender. The tone and pace of the novel are very similar to the Culture novels of Ian Banks.
Except in the Culture books things actually happen. There is a story that progresses. There is character development.
Ancillary Justice read to me like an overwrought thought experiment started by trite John Lennon lyrics:
“Imagine there were ships like people? Imagine there were no genders?”
Anyway, whether you though the spayed or neutered characters was an interesting detail or awkward shoehorning of social commentary it doesn’t change the fact that nothing engaging occurs in the book. It read like a suburban 12-year old’s diary - of whatever gender - to me.
It’s fine that Ancillary Justice didn’t engage you, but it’s full of things happening, story progression, and character development.
I barely noticed the gender stuff in Ancillary Justice. It’s not like Left Hand of Darkness where it’s fundamental to the story – which was my impression going on from hearing about the novel. It’s just one of many features to the world and the particulars of a protagonist.
I thought Ancillary Justice was a good example of like, a big Star-Wars-Style-Empire. You could see them extract value from conquered planets, how being high status yields high rewards, etc. We never really see the rich people benefiting from the Galactic Empire in Star Wars so it never felt super plausible to me where all the support came from. Whereas I totally get that people back the never ending imperialism in Ancillary Justice.
I liked the Ancillary series too. I don’t find it to be on the same level as the Culture (or Left Hand of Darkness), but well worth reading. Especially at $1.99.
We diacussed the series a bit on various monthly book threads.
OK so while I partially agree, I kinda resent this book “A Boy’s Life”, though I did end up reading all of it. It’s like Steven King with absolutely zero edge, earnest cornpone sentimentality through and through. It was a close call, but what tipped it over the edge into no-go territory for me is all the meta about him becoming a writer.
VERY different from reading King, then.
The first book of Daniel Abraham’s Long Price quartet is FREE right now! READ IT.
Hyperion is on sale today:
A wonderful read. Very much fashioned after Canterbury Tales.
Bought! I don’t read much science fiction - figured may as well try!
Oh wow, you’re in a for a real treat. It’s a little hard to get into, like most books where you’re initially unfamiliar with the universe. But once you start into the story of each of the travelers, you’ll be hooked for sure.
Hyperion grabbed me early on - I was pretty much instantly absorbed with the priest’s tale. The middle section was a little bit of a slump for me.
Yep. That’s what I meant by the story for each traveler. The priest’s tale is first, and it’s a great one that hooks you immediately. But that opening chapter before you get to the Priest’s tale takes some effort to get through on that first time.
Can I just say that this is probably the first time in my life I have an actual Book backlog. This sucks you guys. Most of my life I had the opposite problem. I had no idea what I would enjoy. Now, thanks to the Tor Book Club and this thread, and also the stupid Book Bundles, I’ve got about 2 dozen books I need to read. I really hate this feeling.
As always, it’s really hard for me to get into a new book, but usually I just power through it. It takes about 2-6 months to power through the first few chapters, and then I get to a point where it flips, I get into it, and then it takes me 2 weeks to get through the rest of the book. But now, I’ve got all these other books, and if I’m having a tough time starting one, I keep thinking “maybe I should have started one of these other dozen books instead”.