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Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)
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2013 Reads > AJ: Plot Question (spoilers)

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Maclurker | 122 comments I have finished the book and am now re-reading it to pick up on all the stuff I missed the first time. But I've run into a question about Anaander Mianaai that I don't think ever got answered:

It seems pretty clear that Anaander was behind the plot on Shis'urna to start a riot in Ors and create more dissension between the lower city and the upper city poeple. The presence of the guns seems to indicate that. And the upper city poeple, like Jen Shinnan, were happy for the opportunity to stick it to their old adversaries. But why did Anaander participate/promote it in the first place? How did it benefit him/her if the two factions had a battle? Was it to discredit Lt Awm? If he/she was so powerful, surely he/she didn't need a secret plot to send Awm home or even kill her (as he/she actually did later). In fact, what was the point of the whole thing? Besides just causing problems for the other Anaander segments.

And which Anaander was it, giving the orders in Ors?

Any thoughts?


Lindsay | 593 comments Skaaiat explains to Awn why she has stuffed up when she returns to Justice of Torren. By setting up house in the lower city and supporting the priesthood, that undermined the local power structure. Ultimately this is against normal annexation policy which is all about co-opting the upper classes.
“What you did worked. And the local Tanmind were going to have to swallow that. Fair enough. If I’d done what you did—gone straight to the Orsian priest, set up house in the lower city instead of using the police station and jail already built in the upper city, set about making alliances with lower city authorities and ignoring—”

Because Awn isn't towing the party line, the traditionalist faction of Anaander assumes that she is a pawn of the alien-influenced faction of Anaander and ultimately executes her for it. Unfortunately, Awn's only crime here is being naive.


message 3: by David Sven (last edited Nov 18, 2013 11:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Maclurker wrote: "But why did Anaander participate/promote it in the first place? How did it benefit him/her if the two factions had a battle? Was it to discredit Lt Awm? If he/she was so powerful, surely he/she didn't need a secret plot to send Awm home or even kill her (as he/she actually did later)."

What Lindsay said.

So - The original Anaander doesn't want the other Anaander finding out that it has discovered the split - even though both Anaander's really know that the other knows - but neither are ready to openly acknowledge the other. Both Anaander's have been acquiring allies - qualifying them by their attitude towards new policies like annexation. As soon as both Anaander's openly acknowledge the other the war is on and neither are ready for that. How does one conduct such a war or use allies who are unaware of the split in the first place. So not only do they have to acquire allies, but there also has to be a process of qualifying who can be trusted to apprise of the situation so that they know who to take orders from.

So - if Anaander was not divided against itself it may have let Awn's handling of the newly annexed planet slide, accepting the justification that the Ors should be rewarded for surrendering instead of resisting. But as both Anaanders are in the process of sorting the wheat from the chaff that is not an option.

So Anaander can't just kill Awn because that would signal to the other Anaander that its all on - in this Anaanders mind anyway. So it needs a pretext for getting rid of Awn that can't be openly interpreted as a move against the other - Awn siding with the lower class is not enough for an execution. But siding with the Ors to the point of slaughtering a whole lot of Tanmind right in the Orsian temple - that provides sufficient justification for the execution.

This also where the communications blocking device comes in that separates the ancillaries from the each other and the ship. The purpose of the device is to separate these individual Anaander clones from the hive to block the other Anaander from witnessing that it was it's rival that was responsible for the slaughter.


Daniel Eavenson (dannyeaves) | 127 comments Weren't there at least three factions of Anaanders? The traditionalists, the reformists, and the uninformed(for lack of a better term)? A contingent Anaanders that weren't even aware of the conflict. Wasn't that the reason for the action at the end of the story?


Maclurker | 122 comments David Sven wrote: "So - The original Anaander doesn't want the other Anaander finding out that it has discovered the split ..."

Right. Got it. I read further and found this:

"The question she (Awm) couldn't ask directly was, of course, why Anaander Mianaai would be involved, or why she would want to return to some previous proper order, given she herself had certainly approved any changes."

As you said, the answer to these questions is that Anaander is divided and in conflict with herself. And unwilling to bring that conflict into the open. And therefore being wholly contradictory to her followers.

Daniel wrote: "Weren't there at least three factions of Anaanders?"

That's a good summary. I was really confused at the end. All these Anaanders showed up and there was no way to tell who was what. Until they started shooting. Almost as bad as time-travel. Battling with yourself who is not really yourself, but knows you as well as you know yourself. See what I mean?

This was a totally new (to me anyway) and fascinating kind of warfare. IMHO, one of the good things about this book.

So which faction was the child Anaander that showed up in chapter 23? I'm guessing reformist.


David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Daniel wrote: "A contingent Anaanders that weren't even aware of the conflict. Wasn't that the reason for the action at the end of the story? "

As I understand it - the action at the end was an attempt to maintain the illusion that neither side was aware of the other - once the genie was let out of the bottle then the conflict would move from a cold war state to an all out war state and neither side were ready for that. The possibility that there could be other factions is raised at one point and Anaander finds it disturbing - but there is no awareness of a neutral or third faction I don't think.

Maclurker wrote: "So which faction was the child Anaander that showed up in chapter 23? I'm guessing reformist. "

I think so, yes - though being a Hamilton and Reynolds fan I would probably divide the sides into aggressor and moderate factions :)


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