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Also kind of old news, and adding to the persistent sense of unreality I’ve been experiencing lately–the Clarke Award shortlist. Ancillary Justice is on it. And look, it’s my Golden Tentacle buddy Ramez Naam on there, too! And Kameron Hurley, with previous Golden Tentacle winner God’s War! (Which was only this year released in the UK, which is what counts for the Clarkes.) It’s like a Golden Tentacle Reunion! And there other fabulous, non-tentacled books! In fact, below this paragraph please find convenient links through which you can purchase any of the books on this year’s shortlist:

God’s War by Kameron Hurley

UK Book UK Kindle US Book US Kindle

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann

UK Book UK Kindle US Book US Kindle

Nexus by Ramez Naam

UK Book UK Kindle US Book US Kindle

The Adjacent by Christopher Priest

UK Book UK Kindle US Book US Kindle

The Machine by James Smythe

UK Book UK Kindle US Book US Kindle

The Guardian ran a story on the shortlist in which Ramez, Kameron, and myself were referred to as “international debutantes” which sounds funny, but I guess “debutante” doesn’t have quite the same connotations over there, huh. Still, I was amused.

Compton Crook!

In some respects, this is old news, but.

It so happens that the good folks at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society have an award for the best first SF/F/H novel of the year. It’s the Compton Crook Award.

The Award was named in memory of Towson State College Professor of Natural Sciences Compton Crook, who wrote under the name Stephen Tall, and who died in 1981. Professor Crook was active for many years in the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and was a staunch champion of new works in the fields eligible for the award. The first Compton Crook Award was presented in 1983 for Donald Kingsbury’s debut novel Courtship Right, a work published in 1982.

I’m extremely pleased to say that Ancillary Justice is a finalist. It’s a great list of books–honestly, I’m continually amazed to find my book in such wonderful company.

The BSFS also recently held a panel on the state of short fiction. They had some great panelists, and the discussion is really interesting. By all means give it a listen. (I was personally thrilled to hear Benjanun Sriduangkaew namechecked, as an up and coming talent to watch. I agree completely!)

(Speaking of Benjanun Sriduangkaew, if you don’t already know why her name came up when those panelists were asked to name writers to watch, check out her latest story at Clarkesworld, “Autodidact.” If you just nodded your head and went, “yeah, I’d have been surprised if those editors hadn’t mentioned her,” well, heads up, awesome new story! )


Nebula Nominations

On Tuesday SFWA announced this year’s Nebula ballot. And Ancillary Justice has been nominated for best novel. Alongside a bunch of really amazing books.

And it’s a great ballot overall. If you’re looking for something to read, check out the short fiction, much of which is available online for free.

So, by now this is old news. SFWA announced this year’s Nebula ballot, what, four days ago. But I’m mired in revisions right now, and there’s plenty of other stuff going on, and I’ve been saying, “Yes, tomorrow morning I’ll post to the blog…” and then when morning came, saying, “Ah, but I must write right now before I forget this solution to this problem I’ve been so frustrated with….”

Which kind of makes it sound like I’m blase about it, but you know, actually I’m just going “OMG” over and over when I’m not banging my head against the desk in despair over revisions.

I’m kind of amazed to find my book nominated alongside the others on the ballot. I mean, seriously, look at that list.*

I intend to go to San Jose, and hang with friends, and dress up (I have already consulted with the folks at the bead store about necklaces) and eat hotel banquet food and cheer for the winners and hang with friends some more and generally enjoy the heck out of myself.


*I am particularly happy to see A Stranger in Olondria on that list. If you haven’t read it, please consider doing so.



Con or Bust is still going on–it runs till the 23rd. Please consider consider bidding on something if that’s within your abilities and/or means! There are quite a lot of really awesome things. I started scrolling through to pick some out, but there are so many–handmade jewelry, handknit scarves, signed books….just lots of fabulous things.

You can, among other things, bid on a signed copy of Ancillary Justice.


The SFF neighborhood has been nonstop hilarity for the past week or two. Readers of this blog who follow such things (or who have had following such things thrust upon them) will have seen it already, and those who don’t, well, you’re probably better off for it. I will only say that there are some writers whom I have long admired, in whom I am now disappointed.


In a previous post, I said that I was looking forward to Alex Dally MacFarlane’s column on non-binary SF. Her first post was an introduction, and in her second she looked at Mission Child by Maureen F. McHugh. I read Mission Child several years ago, at someone’s recommendation (I don’t recall whose) and enjoyed it very much. I believe it’s (sadly) out of print, but my local library had it, and I’m sure you could find it used online. (When looking for used books, I have so far had good experiences with Better World Books and with Alibris.)

And this week, it turns out, she’s written about Ancillary Justice.

I admit I’m a bit surprised, because I honestly don’t think it’s a particularly good example of non-binary SF. For the most part, I think the pronoun thing does what I meant it to do. But I never did think that “she” could genuinely function as a gender-neutral pronoun. That wasn’t actually the point. Which, of course, has its own drawbacks–if I had been in a different place, when I began writing, I would no doubt have started with a slightly different aim. And while I might or might not have still used “she” as a default (my reasons for wanting to use it still stand) I almost certainly would have made some changes in my approach.

Still. Ancillary Justice is the absolute best I could make it at the time that I wrote it, and there really isn’t more I could ask for or do than that. Well, okay, I could add lots of readers who enjoy the book, and smart critics like Alex to write interesting, nuanced posts like the one on today.

I would also like to echo Alex’s call for “More like this!” The most awesome thing, I think, would be for a bunch of other writers to say “Wait, why didn’t she….” and then write stuff, and for publishers and editors to say “Huh, Leckie’s book did okay, let’s try this!”

That right there would be the awesomest.

Tentacles and Tiptrees

There will be a couple of posts in quick succession today, since a lot has happened in the past couple weeks but it doesn’t seem like it should all be lumped together.

So. Awards! In chronological order!

Ancillary Justice was awarded the Kitschies Golden Tentacle for best debut. This is very much an honor. Just its being on the shortlist was amazing. Here’s that list:

  • A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock
  • Stray by Monica Hesse
  • Nexus byRamez Naam
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • Those are some fabulous books! And someone (more than one someone!) thought Ancillary Justice belonged on that list. Chuffed doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    My awesome UK editor Jenni Hill attended the ceremony, and accepted my (completely adorable) tentacle trophy on my behalf.

    And then! Because that was somehow not sufficient awesome! The Tiptree winner and honor list have been announced. The winner is Rupetta by N.A. Sulway. Which I have not read, but I am looking forward to reading it. I generally try to pick up a copy of the Tiptree winner(s) when I’m at Wiscon, if I don’t already have one. Which I usually don’t–I look forward to the Tiptree announcement partly because it’s so often awarded to a book that I have never heard of and am glad to be introduced to.

    So that is, of course, its own kind of awesome, but cast your eyes over the honor list. Yes, Ancillary Justice is on it. Nicola Griffith’s Hild is too, and Electric Lady (my book is on a list with Janelle Monae!!!) and “Heaven Under Earth” by Aliette de Bodard and more things, some of which I am unfamiliar with but that won’t be true for long if I can help it.

    So, happy award dance!!!!

    Miscellaneous Information, in Chronological Order

    Surfacing to note a few things.

    Thing the first: I am super thrilled to find that Ancillary Justice is a finalist for the Kitchies Golden Tentacle Award. That list is amazing, and I’m thrilled that the judges seem to think that Ancillary Justice belongs there. It’s an honor to have my book named alongside the others on that list. Check them out, if you haven’t already! I’ve been hearing great things about Nexus, by Ramez Naam and it’s been on my list of things I’d like to read all year. I’ve also been hearing good things about Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and I’m going to have to move both up in the queue, and check out the other Golden Tentacle finalists.

    Thing the second: Remember I was all about how you should read Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria and maybe nominate her for the Campbell (NOT A HUGO AWARD)? Well, the folks who give out the Crawford award apparently like the book too. See? You should totally check it out if you haven’t already.

    Thing the third: Alex Dally MacFarlane is going to be writing a column for on the topic of post-binary gender in SF. I am definitely looking forward to reading these. There’s some headdesk-worthy foolishness in the comments–my personal favorite so far, the comment declaring that the whole “post-binary” thing has been done to death already in SF, for example, all those stories in which a person of one binary option disguises themselves (or behaves in a way stereotypically characteristic of) the other binary option (I’ll take “Unclear on the Concept” for $500)–but also quite a lot of “This should be really interesting, looking forward to it!”

    Thing the fourth: The BSFA shortlist is out! Unconquered Sun, look at that list! What fabulous company! It’s a tremendous honor. I am particularly pleased to see Liz Bourke on that list, for her Sleeps with Monsters column at, but the whole list is great. Congratulations to everyone!

    I’m not gonna lie, when I was a little baby writer this was exactly the kind of thing I fantasized about, seeing “[Book], by Ann Leckie” on an awards list. I think this is normal. I strongly suspect the vast majority of SF/F writers have that fantasy from time to time.

    But most of us, if we want to keep our balance, recognize that for a fantasy. Not something we can pin any hopes on, or actually aim for in any kind of realistic way. And in the end, there are only a limited number of spots on awards lists, far fewer than the number of worthy books or stories. There are always books and stories that for one reason or another get overlooked–not enough buzz at the right time, not quite the sort of thing various juries or voting groups tend to go for, whatever. The list of works nominated for awards is not at all the entire list of works worthy of notice and praise. In the end, in the big scheme of things, awards aren’t something to measure your career by.

    Or, you know, that’s what you tell yourself. I’m not gonna lie, though, seeing my book nominated for awards is freaking awesome.

    I have felt like I was hallucinating since I first knew I’d sold the book. That sensation has only increased in recent weeks. I’m not sure any of this is real. But it’s amazing and wonderful, so please don’t wake me up.


    So, barely a day after I declare a break from blogging and Twitter, I hear that Ancillary Justice is a finalist for the Philip K Dick award.

    My daughter isn’t a hundred percent certain who to root for, though, since she hasn’t actually read my book, but she did like Self Reference Engine quite a bit.

    The “it’s an honor to be nominated” thing is a cliche, but honestly, it is an honor. Look at that list! And there’s Ancillary Justice, right there with the others!

    High five to all the finalists!


    I’ve always been a sporadic blogger, and now I’m busy with book stuff my non-announcement entries have become even sparser. Sorry!

    I did write a couple thousand words about C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner over at Far Beyond Reality. It happened kind of the way any of my long blog posts happen–I got to thinking about a thing and then realized I wouldn’t be able to stop until I’d unburdened myself. I really appreciate Stefan’s being patient and generous enough to read and post it.

    Word to the wise, if you haven’t read Foreigner it’s probably best to read the book first. The post is one long, massive spoiler. But hey, you could read Foreigner and fix all that right up! If you enjoyed Ancillary Justice, I daresay there’s a very good chance you’ll enjoy Foreigner as well. It’s not that they’re quite exactly the same sort of book–I don’t think they are, really, but, well, I learned a lot from Cherryh.

    And in more book-related news, if you missed the signing at Subterranean Books in University City last month, you’ll have another chance to find me at Barnes & Noble on Friday, November 22 as part of their Discovery Friday events. Sadly, I cannot promise cake for this one, but hey.

    Goodreads Choice Awards

    So, voting on the first round of the Goodreads Choice Awards happened last week. The nominees–or maybe the suggested votes? Since you could write in a qualifying book if it didn’t appear in the list?–didn’t include Ancillary Justice, but I did see some folks say they’d written it in. “Wow,” I thought, “that’s pretty cool, that some people liked it that much.” And it put a nice shine on my weekend.

    I see this morning that it got enough write-in votes to be a nominee this round. I’m not gonna lie, that pleases me a great deal.

    I’m not posting to exhort anyone to go vote for Ancillary Justice. If you’re a Goodreads member and you care about the voting, you’ll presumably vote for your favorite among the nominees this round. Obviously I’d love for that to be AJ, cause like a lot of writers I’m vain that way. But it might not be, and I can’t help but notice there are lots of great choices there, some of them by people I admire and even like personally. So, if you’re going to vote, by all means do, cast your vote for the book of your choice.

    No, I’m actually posting to thank you guys–I don’t know who all of you are, and probably most of you won’t read this, but just in case–I’m honored and so very pleased that you liked Ancillary Justice enough to write it in. That honestly means a lot to me.

    Guest Blog Posts!

    So, a few guest blogs have gone up. I mentioned the Booksmugglers post yesterday. There are a couple more, though.

    John Scalzi kindly let me do a Big Idea post.

    Over on the Orbit blog I talk a little bit about why I made the choice to use (nearly) all feminine pronouns.

    Fabulous writer and historian Gillian Polack (whose story “Horrible Historians” appeared right next door to “Hesperia and Glory” in issue number four of Subterranean Magazine. (Link is a PDF) I have a special emotional attachment to everything in that issue, because it was my first ever spec fic sale) I got lost in that parenthetical information, didn’t I. Let’s start again. Fabulous writer and historian Gillian Polack very generously allowed me to natter about Ancient Egypt and it’s (vague) connection to Ancillary Justice

    And the Qwillery has a brief interview up.

    Oh, and I don’t think I linked this here, but you can read the first chapter at the Orbit website.

    And, editing to add, just as I hit “publish” I found that my post on AI and emotion has gone up at SF Signal.

    Yesterday was the most amazing day. So many people tweeting, reviews–my Amazon rank, you guys, I didn’t even know Amazon did this thing where they keep track of which books have increased in rank by how much in the past twenty four hours. It turned up on twitter, which is how I found it. For a brief period, Ancillary Justice was the number one “Mover and Shaker” because it had increased in rank by I don’t know how many thousand percent. It started the day ranking somewhere around thirty-five thousand and ended around three hundred something, and is currently number nineteen in science fiction, and now I forbid myself access to Amazon until next Monday because otherwise I’d just be sitting there going “…” all day.

    The signing is still a thing! If you’d like a signed copy, you can order one from Subterranean Books in St. Louis and I will sign it Thursday night. You won’t get cake, sadly, unless you come to the signing itself. I’d pack some up for you if I could, but as things are, it’s better if I don’t try it.