Jorge Quintanila tells us about his #LockdownLiterature, “Ancillary Justice” by Anne Leckie.
“I recently enjoyed reading “Ancillary Justice”, by Anne Leckie. It is an internationally-bestselling space opera where some of the key characters are planet- and even galaxy-spanning artificial intelligences. The novel was critically acclaimed (it was the first work to win all three of the Nebula, Hugo, and Arthur C. Clark prizes). I personally felt it had the mind-expanding ability of some of the best works in the genre.
I have recently begun using some AI techniques in my work on quantum materials and it was thrilling to read such a richly textured imagining of where that sort of technology might take us in the distant future.
“The author manages to imbue these strange beings with emotions and even a rich shared culture, constructed from a surprisingly humanistic perspective. I found this very appealing as I am convinced that our own culture suffers from a lack of humanism.
“This conviction crystallised a couple of years ago, during a vacation in Athens. Our own civilisation is based on science and technology, which are the fruits of reason, but sometimes we expect reason to provide what it alone never could – aesthetic pleasure, for instance, or moral values.
“I long for a culture that places human beings – who can think but can also love, feel pain, gossip, and tell what is right from what is wrong – at the centre of everything. Science and technology thrive in such culture, as we discovered in Alxeandria and later on with the Renaissance.
“Leckie’s characters are unbounded minds but at the same time they are also endearingly human – they care for how you should treat a child or what is to dress properly. Science and technology can empower our humanity or suppress it – it’s our choice to make.”
Have you read this book before, or maybe reading this had piqued your interest? If so, we’d love to know your thoughts on the book in the comments.
And don’t forget to share any reviews of your #LockdownLiterature with spsmarketing as part of the #KentBookClub.