Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ancillary Justice: the Lord of the Radch and Hal syndrome

Republished with modification.

I was curious to read Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice. As you may know it received both Hugo and Nebula awards (and some other awards as well), I thought it should something special.

Well, the book is really very engaging. For me, a good science fiction novel should be able to clearly articulate "realistic" possibilities. Book features three main concepts: (a) "clan" based feudal hierarchy of Radch empire, (b) artificial intelligence (AI) that exist on both individual and systemic network level, (c) psychological issues of the Lord of the Radch.

The most interesting novelty of the book is the personality of the Lord of the Radch, Anaander Mianaai, that exists in multiple identical bodies across Radch empire. It appears that Radch Empire had been pursuing very militaristic path, constantly on the move to conquer new planets and galaxies. At some point, though, it encounters highly advanced alien race of Presgers. And suddenly, Radch empire stops its expansion and peace is established. However, for some reason, most likely under psychological pressure, some of Anaander Mianaais copies starting to sabotage its own peace policies. The story about Anaander Mianaai's personality has some resemblance to Hal's personality in "2001: A Space Odyssey" whose AI personality cracked and went insane under mutually incompatible orders.

I will recommend this book. 

posted by David Usharauli   

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