Does the idea of a distributed Artificial Intelligence send shivers up your spine? After all, one Terminator or Skynet is hard enough to deal with let alone twenty all operating independently, but together. Oh, and did I mention that each node of this distributed AI uses the resiliency and strength of a human body?

“You used to horrify me…But today I am more horrified at the thought of a unit of living human beings who serve voluntarily. Because I don’t think I could trust them.”

page 19

But they’re not human, they’re ancillaries. Military equipment. A part of the starship in orbit and a part of each other. When Breq, an ancillary, loses that connection she starts down a path of revenge that makes her increasingly human.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

We picked up this book to read ahead of the 2013 Philip K. Dick award and I stole it from the first reviewer because it looked interesting. Ancillary Justice was not anything like what I expected, it’s not like anything I’ve read before, and it was completely compelling.

Rating (4 stars)

The themes in Ancillary Justice run deep. The book earns its stars when you step back from the plot and re-examine it from the context of real life.

The emotional desert of an AI as protagonist is a challenge that author Ann Leckie takes head-on. That said, I was looking for a more driving and exciting story, a story that 2,000 year old Breq was capable of providing and utterly ambivalent about as she continued on her mission.