For all its corpse-soldiers and intergalactic assassination attempts, Ann Leckie's Hugo/Nebula-winning 2013 novel Ancillary Justice proved most memorable as a love story -- albeit a platonic one, narrated by a spaceship who, like most readers, doesn't even recognize that this a love story until the end. Justice, Leckie's first book, spanned decades and star-systems and consciousnesses: Its chapters alternate between past and present, told by Justice of Toren, a 1,000-year-old troop-carrying vessel of the ever-expanding space empire of the Radch.
Its basics are a mouthful but well worth your time and attention. The ship relates a tale of insurgency and betrayal on one of the systems the Radch have conquered; this material, tense and surprising, feels of our global moment even as it concerns what is, in Ancillary Justice, a tragic past. Meanwhile, in the book's urgent now, a sliver of the hive-mind that once constituted that ship's full A.I. recounts a desperate errand to obtain an alien super-weapon. Leckie excels at page-turning mysteries: what that weapon is, what is to be done with it, and how a stray scrap of ship-intelligence is now independent of its greater host -- and demonstrating what appears to be humanlike willfulness.More »