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 Tor.com. 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.