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Signing! Review!

Yes, I have a feeling the next three weeks are so are going to be all about the book.

So, if you’re in St. Louis, you could, if you so desired, come to Subterranean Books at 6pm on October 3 and get your copy of Ancillary Justice signed.

If you aren’t in St. Louis, or won’t be on the third of October, or that’s the night of your kids’ band concert or you just can’t be there for any reason at all, but you still want a signed copy, just click on that link above and order the book, and include a note letting them know you’d like me to sign it. Or phone the order in and let them know–they’ll be happy to help, and I’ll be happy to sign!

Thus, the signing. Now, the review!

Liz Bourke has reviewed Ancillary Justice over at It’s a lovely review, and I’m very, very happy she liked the book. I know full well that if she hadn’t, the review would have been less pleasing to me, and I know that she isn’t one to pull punches in reviews–which is as it should be, and I would say so even if she hadn’t liked Ancillary Justice, though of course I wouldn’t have been happy on a personal level. Though, I suspect a negative review from this particular reviewer would bear careful consideration–sometimes it’s important to hear criticism.

She did, in fact, mention something I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. She says, of the choice to use the English feminine pronoun pretty much throughout the book, “It’s an interesting choice, one that adds to the sense of reading in a different culture, but also one which (as had to be pointed out to me) runs the risk of reinforcing our existing linguistic and cultural gender binaries.”

It’s a fair cop. This is something that I didn’t realize until the book was well past the copyedit stage. It’s something I wish I’d thought more about. I don’t think it would have changed my mind about using “she” throughout, but I would have handled some things about it a bit differently. I have to be honest, the question of avoiding or questioning assumptions of gender being binary were on my mind–Breq herself, is, after all, not actually a binary person, even though her body has internal reproductive organs and would, in our culture, be assigned female–but in retrospect, it wasn’t something I’d done as much thinking about as I could have. Going back over the text, I do see moments that make me wish I’d handled them just a bit differently. Questioned assumptions and language just a bit more.

Of course, this is how writing is. You do your best, and then when the work is published you immediately see half a dozen things you’d like to fix. The only thing for it is to do better next time. I can’t promise I’ll be perfect, but I can say it’s something I know I need to pay attention to.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

It was too much to hope Subterranean did international orders. *sighs at US hegemonies, and things* I don't suppose you'll be signing stock on the European side of the pond any time in the next year or so? *g*

I didn't even think to check if they did international orders!

If you will email me a snail mail addy, I'll be happy to get you set up with a signed copy. :)]

Edited to add--an email address would help, right? ann@annleckie dot com will do the trick.

Edited at 2013-09-08 12:47 pm (UTC)

Thanks. (It's just I can't quite justify getting a new copy of Ancillary Justice when I have this perfectly readable ARC... but a signed one would let me throw money at good books and also satisfy that part of my conscience that mutters about fiscal responsibility. *g*)

Hi, A.L., just finished Anc. Justice and am for the first time in memory, have gone right back to read it again! I have to explore your use of gender, as an old Samuel Delaney fan. A.J. is a writing TOUR DE FORCE!

CJ is one of my faves as well, but you have also roped in Faulkner (The Reivers [misquoted]: "My Dad taught me to never refer to anyone by their race or religion", which I think he does in that book as a thought experiment, as you have for gender, and Chandler "Someone must walk the mean streets..." [with a sense of moral justice].

May I, with the greatest respect, disagree slightly- I think your representation of gender is spot-on. Who wants faceless blobs with no interesting characteristics, altho I suppose this is not what you meant above. Also, like Breq, having struggled with gender identification, and just me, maybe not Breq, strived with gender identity, I found your representation of her excellent.

Initially I suspended judgement on Breq's gender, as the jibe on page 2- "tough girl" could have just as well been directed at a male (and all the verbal references to gender were female at this point); I've been there, I used to work in the oil patch and was no typical oilfield hand. Also her habitual use of "she" and "her" could have been a matter of the upbringing or societal habit of her programmer, if that's what she had. I grew up with Mom and sisters and still fight a tendency (along with CJ Cherryh) to regard women as superior beings. It wasn't til I was most of the way through the book and thought back on how fast Breq rattled off the preparatory steps for becoming pregnant that I realized few males would have been so right-there with that information. I may find more clues in my second reading.

Anyway this is becoming a run-on comment, so I'd better close. Am enjoying more nuance in the second reading- had kind of adopted Esk One's flat affect in the early reading- and will definitely look forward to Vol. 2 as well.

Re Breq's occasionally putting on of expression, did you ever read Patrick O'Brian's description of Dr. Maturin and one of his natural philosopher buddies discussing whether a cat could feel all its emotion if its tail were wrapped and back strapped to a board so it couldn't manifest all the signs of its emotion, arched back and bottled tail? They proceed to make an experiment with themselves as guinea pigs, and the other doctor's servant says, [in 18th cent terms]. "I think our doctor's guest is a few bricks short of a load, and our doctor is not looking much better"...

So does Breq feel emotion more when she puts on expression?

Pardon the REAL run-on comment... anyway, best witches, and thanks for the best space and struggle yarn in many a year! And a great woman character for our two daughters, D.J. and Bet Yeager. [I ASSUME you have read Rimrunners!]

Edited at 2014-02-01 08:39 am (UTC)

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