Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ancillary's Children  

I am reading Alastair Reynolds "Steel Breeze" with my lunch. The lead character is Chiku. But Chiku is not just Chiku. She cloned herself and replicated her memory. In the scene I just read the narrative has slipped, without warning from one Chiku to another Chiku. Even the character takes a moment to get her head round that. The preceding chapters being the memories of a counterpart taken into her head as her own.

With this comes an interesting way of telling a story with one character in multiple places. But also the question of identity. These two people aren't just similar, they are the same person.

This is something which particularly struck me with Ancillary Justice. For all the other aspects of that novel that were applauded, I don't think I saw too much reference to this aspect of identity. In this novel the ships are intelligent, a common enough idea, but they have use of physical bodies as tools. (The mechanism and ethics of that are another conversation) So like Chiku, we have multiple view points, but even greater sense of only one mind.

On some level playing with that kind of identity and characterization is fascinating and appealing. Especially thinking in terms of could I pull that off?

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