Book Review: Translation State by Anne Leckie
Posted on June 20, 2023 at 7:00 am by Gene Ambaum
Translation State by Anne Leckie. Orbit, 2023. 9780316289719. 432pp.
This new novel is set in Leckie’s Imperial Radch universe, and it’s told from three points of view:
Enae’s — She’s an adult lived with her rich, recently deceased grandmother and has just lost everything. But Enae has been given a job with the Office of Diplomacy and an assignment — to find help track down what happened to a being who went missing centuries ago.
Reet’s — He was raised as an orphan and now works in a low-level position on Rurusk Station. Then he’s informed that he may be a descendent of the Schan, who once ruled Lovehate Station, and is welcomed by a community who’s been trying to find someone like him. This may explain all the strange things he feels and that are happening to him.
Qven’s — (this is a bit of a spoiler, but only a little) Qven is supposed to become a Presager Translator. He’s one of the engineered “humans” who provide a point of contact for the very alien/unpredictable Presager, and who have made a negotiated peace with them possible. E is a bit rebellious, and seeing em raised and possibly punished and experiencing eir life from within eir point of view is just a great read, given how inexplicable some of Qven’s experiences as a young “person” are.
Of course Qven’s story collides with the other characters’ in amazing ways as Enae tracks the fugitive and Reet figures out who he is.
Leckie is one of my favorite writers and I couldn’t put this book down once I started it. It’s the fifth set in this universe, though, so if you’ve never read any of Leckie’s science fiction novels start with the unbelievably good Ancillary Justice, or maybe even Provenance, which I love more than anyone else I know who’s read it.Tags