Ancillary Justice Fan Trailer
August 15, 2016 12:21 AM   Subscribe

A fan made trailer for Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

(Fun if you've read the books, s-s-s-spoilers if you haven't.)
posted by kittensofthenight (52 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
so many bare hands, nsfw!
posted by zinful at 12:29 AM on August 15, 2016 [39 favorites]


I liked the "gloves off" shot. And the tea.
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:51 AM on August 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


I would watch the hell out of that movie adaption
posted by -harlequin- at 1:55 AM on August 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


This needs to be made into a TV series (like The Expanse) by these folks. Immediately.
posted by biscotti at 2:56 AM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


According to this parts of it are actually The Expanse.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:44 AM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I believe a couple of shots are from the Halo universe Forward Unto Dawn series.
posted by the_querulous_night at 4:04 AM on August 15, 2016


Ann Leckie is in awe.
posted by moody cow at 4:18 AM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Breq is brown, female and from a race that uses female pronouns. Hollywood shouldn't be allowed within a mile of this for at least 20 years, it and a mass audience aren't ready for it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:48 AM on August 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


Y'know....I wasn't wild about the book. But this is the second time in as many weeks that I've had to consider giving it another chance.

And yeah. A series would be good. You need a production company who would fully respect the source material and be absolutely DEAF to marketing...
posted by Thistledown at 4:58 AM on August 15, 2016


"from a race that uses female pronouns"

I think they're genderless, unless in a language that doesn't do that well, like English.
posted by Auz at 4:58 AM on August 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I heard they chop off the males' penises and decorate the halls with them.
posted by Phssthpok at 5:05 AM on August 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


I can't see Ancillary Justice working as a TV series. The most interesting thing about it (to me, anyway) was the way Breq was an apparently reliable narrator of what was going on outside her head but useless at explaining what was going on inside, and that would be pretty hard to put on the screen. Ancillary Sword would be even harder.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:16 AM on August 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I can't imagine it working, but I'm a 40 year old with a desk job. I thought the same thing about a rap based musical about founding fathers, but recast with mostly black & puerto rican dudes . I can't figure out how a company in a world of 4001 3d CGI companies makes a feature length film using stop motion animation, and can afford to pay their employees.

I love to be wrong.
posted by DigDoug at 5:26 AM on August 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


This is great! Very clever use of source material & trailer copy. (Smart writing it in the first person, too.)

This was made by bironic, who's also responsible for Starships, which was previously fairly well-received on Metafilter.
posted by Sokka shot first at 5:40 AM on August 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Breq is brown, female and from a race that uses female pronouns.

Nit, and spoilers for the books:

We don't know that Breq is a woman. What we know is that one time, she presents as female to someone. In the simplest case, this might be because she has big, obvious boobs and wide hips*, or might be because she has long hair, or short hair, or was wearing pants, or a kilt, or a red shirt, or had a blue dot painted on her chin, or some other thing the people of Ice World use as a social marker of femininity but Breq either misuses or doesn't care about.

*Though of course it's also possible Breq's body-donor is from a society where everyone has boobs and hips because everyone, men included, is expected to bear and nurse a child during their lives.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:01 AM on August 15, 2016 [19 favorites]


I think they're genderless, unless in a language that doesn't do that well, like English.

True, true. I was thinking of the English use, which was awkward.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 AM on August 15, 2016


"I think they're genderless, unless in a language that doesn't do that well, like English."

I'd say that's about right. They clearly have sex, both in the male and female sense as well as in the screwing for both reproduction and recreation sense. But gender like in our culture is something totally alien to them.

Leckie said that she originally planned on using male pronouns through the books when "translating" Radch to English, but that it didn't really convey the genderless nature of Radch society that well since in our society male is default anyway. Using only female pronouns and relationship terms (everyone is a daughter, or niece, or mother, regardless of their sex) made it jump out at the reader more, and forced the reader to pay attention.

We do know that Lt Severin is male. Breq says so in an aside where she dismisses the false barbarian idea that the Radch can't tell the difference between sexes.

But as ROU_Xenophobe notes from the main books we aren't actually certain that Breq is in a female body, only that she was identified as female by the people of Ice Planet. In one of the ancillary (heh) short stories it is more or less confirmed that Breq is in a female body, but not in the main books.
posted by sotonohito at 6:19 AM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I literally just finished this series! I really enjoyed them. That trailer made me super fucking excited for a movie.

I don't think it would work as a TV series, there's just not enough there, unless the TV series was going to do a little more world-exploring, but then there's the risk that TV turns it into trash (see Under the Dome). I do think it would work as a series of movies though and I would watch the hell out of them. The 3rd book seemed to be written as a movie but all 3 would be great.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:29 AM on August 15, 2016


I haven't read any of the author's books, but this is well done and makes me want to look at the original.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:52 AM on August 15, 2016


An aspect of gender that gets thrown out with the bathwater of TERF rhetoric is that gender is, in part, a culturally constructed system for defining the distribution of power and labor in different ways in different cultures. It's a poverty of English that we use the same words for sex, gender identity, and gendered socio-economic status (SES). My sense of the Radch is that they have sex and arguably individual gender identities, but since both of those can be technologically changed by any citizen, they're irrelevant to gender roles and socio-economic status. So we have dozens of different social cues to communicate clientage but few to communicate gender.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:53 AM on August 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


Ann Leckie is in awe.

she mentions WiP which i assumes is Work in Progress. anyone know what that might be?

also, she has a faq entry (3rd down) on the whole gender thing, if people really want to rehash that again.
posted by andrewcooke at 7:10 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've only read the first one, which I loved so much I stopped reading for fear there was no way continuing the story would match it. Are the others as good, or should I stay in my happy bubble?
posted by Mchelly at 7:18 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The first is the best, yes and it makes a certain sense to stop there. The latter two get bogged down in various politics and lack the narrative punch of Breq coming to some sort of peace with herself. But they're still good.

Would you like some tea?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 AM on August 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Are the others as good, or should I stay in my happy bubble?

The others are different, is what I would say. They're more closely linked to each other than either is to the first, in narrative and in style, so if you like the second you'll love the third -- but if you loved the first you won't necessarily love the second. Personally, I liked Justice but loved Mercy and Sword, and would recommend giving them a go.

The main criticism I've heard leveled is that they've slower, which is true, but I see that as a strength: they take the time to explore the themes in the first book and really tease out their meanings and implications, for Breq and for the Radch in general. Not everyone's kettle of fish, to be sure, but I felt Leckie's thoughtfulness really shows through in a way that there simply isn't time for in Ancillary Justice, as good as it is -- my rule of thumb is that if you thought the ending of Justice was rushed, then you'll like them, and if you thought the ending was taught and well-paced, then temper your expectations.
posted by cjelli at 7:41 AM on August 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


Are the others as good, or should I stay in my happy bubble?

there are two problems with the series. one is that part of what makes the first book good is that Breq is full of contradictions. she has moral beliefs, but can dispassionately slaughter rebellious natives. she loves music and beauty, so she makes her crew of undead slaves sing choral music, which is completely grotesque. in the other two books she's just the straightforward hero, which is much less interesting. also, the author rather briskly wraps up the intrigue/twist at the end if the first book, and it continues to be very thinly plotted for the rest of the series. which would actually leave a lot open for a tv adaptation.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:41 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Are the others as good, or should I stay in my happy bubble?

I liked them just as much, for whatever one data point is worth. I think the series as a whole is one of the top ten things to come out in the genre in the last decade, personally. To me the books felt like a hybrid of Banks, Delany, and LeGuin (three of my favorite writers).

I have mixed to negative feelings about other recent sf TV adaptations (The Expanse and Wayward Pines), so I am not necessarily eager to see what SyFy or whoever would do to the Ancillary books.
posted by aught at 7:44 AM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Having enjoyed the books, I would nitpick the heck out of any movie or tv show to come out based on them. It is a cool trailer though, especially for something put together from samples of other things.
posted by mattamatic at 7:52 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


"1. Baby Lieutenant
2. Captain
3. Suspended Animation
4. Kef Connoisseur
#firstseivardenjobs"
posted by brainwane at 7:54 AM on August 15, 2016 [15 favorites]


Incidentally, if you like constructed-reality book trailers by fans, you might like chaila's book trailer for Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower & Parable of the Talents.
posted by brainwane at 7:59 AM on August 15, 2016


Fox bought the tv rights back in Ocober of 2014. I'm hoping it never gets made. Leckie says they responded positively to using "ungendered, dark-skinned Radchaai characters," but I just don't see that carrying through to the final product, network tv practically demands everyone be sexy and white, especially Fox.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 AM on August 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


there are two problems with the series. one is that part of what makes the first book good is that Breq is full of contradictions. she has moral beliefs, but can dispassionately slaughter rebellious natives. she loves music and beauty, so she makes her crew of undead slaves sing choral music, which is completely grotesque.

Yeah, the first book was fascinating in the way it depicted the contradictions in the narrator's character(s) and the ways she resolves, compromises with or ignores them, and the way this reflected the structure (and horrors) of the imperial system itself. The second one kind of moved past all that to tell the story of a space fleet super-officer pulling rank to implement unconvincing solutions to various social problems while her crew politely asked her permission to tell her how awesome she was. I haven't read the third one.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:30 AM on August 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Writing that last comment made me think of something else about Ancillary Justice. When I read it I did get a little confused about how a gender-free society was supposed to end up organised along the lines of the explicitly patriarchal Roman patron/client system, complete with hints of structural sexual exploitation. Well, one of the consistent themes of the book is of contradictions (in both social systems and personal identities) being repressed or ignored and leading to conflict then disaster, and putting those things together makes me wonder if the gender thing was originally meant to be read a bit differently from the way it has been.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:04 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't want to get too much into it, because spoilers (and because this is nominally about the SWEET FAN TRAILER for the first book, and not actually a discussion of the sequels), but the second book is, structurally, a set-up for the narrative and emotional payoffs of the third.

Breq is an unreliable narrator in many respects, and the second novel sets up a lot of presumptions for the third one to upend; Breq is anything but a straightforward hero in them. One of the biggest themes in the third book is interdependence: how much of what we're seeing as 'Breq's actions' in book 2 are really 'the actions of many people working together,' and how Breq's personal history creates a warped internal narrative (reflected in the narrative we get) of how to resolve the ideas of 'working alone' and 'working together.'
posted by cjelli at 9:15 AM on August 15, 2016 [10 favorites]


network tv practically demands everyone be sexy and white, especially Fox

See also: Sleepy Hollow.

Also seconding cjelli's comment that the weird pivot into straightforward sci fi hero stuff during Sword is noticed and addressed in Mercy.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:44 AM on August 15, 2016


I'll have to try the book again. For me, it started well and then thudded into a wall of leaden writing that I just couldn't get through, but so many people say they enjoyed it... perhaps I was just in a bad mood.

Liked the trailer. Wish it had used a different font, though.
posted by Devonian at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2016


Yeah, the first book was fascinating in the way it depicted the contradictions in the narrator's character(s) and the ways she resolves, compromises with or ignores them, and the way this reflected the structure (and horrors) of the imperial system itself.

this is exactly what I liked about the first book.

When I read it I did get a little confused about how a gender-free society was supposed to end up organised along the lines of the explicitly patriarchal Roman patron/client system, complete with hints of structural sexual exploitation. Well, one of the consistent themes of the book is of contradictions (in both social systems and personal identities) being repressed or ignored and leading to conflict then disaster, and putting those things together makes me wonder if the gender thing was originally meant to be read a bit differently from the way it has been.

This really comes to a head in the Deep Space Radch book (2 or 3?) with the Lifetime-movie abusive sexual relationship subplot... in a society where sex is on the horrifying structurally exploitative Roman model. I'm really not sure how the gender thing is supposed to be read at all. It kind of seems to me the whole universal pronoun thing is basically a formal gimmick and Leckie hasn't really thought about how fundamental different gender and sexual roles can be ie. (from her FAQ)
Q: So, then, what gender is [Character]?

I probably don’t know. Because it didn’t matter to the story and because of the pronoun choice I’d made, I didn’t have to figure it out.
Gender may not be a social category in the Radch, but 'power' and 'sex' certainly are and she seems to have imported a lot of features of societies that are explicitly gendered and societies where sex is explicitly intermingled with power roles. Saying gender isn't important becomes a cop-out rather than a statement. Which is all just to say that if she had really delved into Roman ideas about sex, the first book would have even more discomforting scenes than it did.

Which is interesting for a putative TV show because you can't hide "sex" when you can see all of the actors, if gender really doesn't matter then calling everyone 'she' will just seem ridiculous on the screen if the roles are recognizable. But, again, it's an opportunity for script writers to really think through how gender would be constructed (or deconstructed from 'sex' if indeed it isn't a) in Radchaai society, even if the author hasn't...
posted by ennui.bz at 10:53 AM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


When I was reading the trilogy I had this idea for casting where they would mark off a 6-point gender continuum, and for each character that isn't given an explicit presentation in the book they could roll a die to determine where on the continuum they would fall. I found that while reading I would start making assumptions about the gender of characters based on their actions, which bothered me, and I would hate for a casting department to actually set assumptions based on stereotypes in stone via non-random casting choices.
posted by antinomia at 11:11 AM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's funny, when I read the books the only character for whom I could create a mental picture was Breq, and Breq was definitely Tilda Swinton.
posted by fremen at 12:55 PM on August 15, 2016


Wow.
posted by odinsdream at 1:50 PM on August 15, 2016


ennui.bz I'm not sure why you'd think sexual exploitation and gender are necessarily intertwined. Power and sexual exploitation yes, absolutely. Women can be as exploitative as men, possibly not as frequently, but there's no reason to suppose that Raughd was biologically male simply because she was raping young men [1] on the plantation.

With Imperial Radch, Leckie was exploring the idea of a society that is unequal in virtually all ways **except** sex and gender. Radch society is explicitly described as a hierarchical one where every relationship, including sexual relationships, are filled with concerns of power, social standing, and wealth.

[1] Well, her victim was identified as male by the tea farmers, as always we don't know for absolute certain.
posted by sotonohito at 2:02 PM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


* reads post title *
squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

* goes watch the actual video *
posted by numaner at 2:52 PM on August 15, 2016


I recognized a few scenes from other movies, and just now realized how well they'd work for this story.

We've debated the importance of Leckie choosing "she" and the effect of the portrayal of a genderless society, over and over, so I'll just add that once I got used to thinking that way about the characters from Breq's point of view, and that "she" is just a word in this case, I got a much better experience with the books in terms of just diving into the story and letting go of those concerns.

Echoing cjelli, the second and third books did provide a very different reading experience than the first. It actually felt like the first book was this awesome ground-breaking movie that left me breathless. And then the second and third books were the TV show that spun out of that movie that satisfied my need for the rest of the story. About a third into the second book I forced myself to stop expecting the same pace and style of the first book and I was able to enjoy it more.

Ahhh so many things I want to discuss but spoilers! We really need to get a book post about the series up on FanFare.
posted by numaner at 3:21 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


then the second and third books were the TV show that spun out of that movie that satisfied my need for the rest of the story.

This was my experience also.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:25 PM on August 15, 2016


I feel like the trailer for the second book would involve the line "...with more of the tea preparation that you love..." voiced as in a Surge! commercial.
posted by odinsdream at 4:17 PM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The second one kind of moved past all that to tell the story of a space fleet super-officer pulling rank to implement unconvincing solutions to various social problems while her crew politely asked her permission to tell her how awesome she was.

Strange, because the impressing I got from book 2 was that pulling rank could not just solve systemic problems or long-term hatreds and injustices. Sure, one abuser could lose their status after pretty much asking for it, and promises of reforms could be made. But the plantation system remained.
posted by happyroach at 4:35 PM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just finished Ancillary Justice last week. I have a hard and fast rule against rushing through an artist's works ever since what happened with John le Carré (oh, those many years ago). It wasn't pretty. Ann Leckie and AJ just blew me away, though. And I see I wasn't the only one! This trailer is fantastic. It's a work of passion. I can't wait to read Sword but I'll probably need at least until Thanksgiving. It's one of those painful joys.
posted by cleroy at 6:14 PM on August 15, 2016


Are the others as good, or should I stay in my happy bubble?

I read, loved, and savored Ancillary Justice. Then I walked away from the series long enough for the next two books to be published, and read them together in one gulp to finish off the trilogy. If you do read books 2 and 3, I recommend reading them together - otherwise book 2 doesn't much get anywhere, if you know what I mean. But it does set up the pieces for a satisfying wrap in book 3, and that's worth it.

Book 3 takes the "powerful AI" concept to its logical end - are they mere tools, or are they sentient? And should humans have dominion over them?
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:36 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I found books 2 and 3 to be smarter sci fi than Justice. But after the galaxy-spanning space opera promised by the first, the relatively tiny scope of the later books was a bit of a disappointment. We were left to guess what was happening elsewhere.
posted by vanar sena at 8:56 PM on August 15, 2016


The second one kind of moved past all that to tell the story of a space fleet super-officer pulling rank to implement unconvincing solutions to various social problems while her crew politely asked her permission to tell her how awesome she was.

I saw it as the story of an AI semi-hive-mind used to looking at things from every direction at once, that's been trapped in a single body for decades (?), being forced to take command of an AI ship like she is and, worse, with a human crew who intentionally imitate being the kind of semi-hive-mind she used to be so she's walking around in this torturous parody of her own life.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:18 PM on August 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


This is awesome. I want the feature length version.

I don't know if it applies in this case but it seems like a lot of professional types are putting together super high quality stuff as a hobby, whether podcasts or videos. It is wonderful but I feel a bit sad about the high bar for the enthusiastic amateur (which FWIW does not include me.)
posted by mark k at 10:38 PM on August 15, 2016


I'm really not sure how the gender thing is supposed to be read at all. It kind of seems to me the whole universal pronoun thing is basically a formal gimmick and Leckie hasn't really thought about how fundamental different gender and sexual roles can be

I think this is a reasonable conclusion if you assume that the genderlessness is meant to be taken at face value, as a rare strand of enlightenment in the middle of all the dystopian brutal conquering empire stuff. This seems to be the usual reading but the more I think about it the more convinced I am that this wasn't what Leckie meant at all; that the single universal gender of the Radch is, just like numerous other things that appear superficially unified (characters' identities, the Radch as a social class, the Empire, the book's narrative), a lie used to conceal all kinds of drives and conflicts.

Strange, because the impressing I got from book 2 was that pulling rank could not just solve systemic problems or long-term hatreds and injustices.

Well, I did say unconvincing solutions. I just thought book 2 kind of pointlessly failed to build on any of the interesting things about the first book and didn't have anything new to say either, but this thread has at least convinced me to read 3 some day so that's something.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:40 AM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


mark k, in case it's a solace, I infer that making vids is a hobby for bironic, not their profession.
posted by brainwane at 9:53 AM on August 16, 2016


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