Interview 2015 : Ann Leckie for Ancillary Justice (vo)
de Ann Leckie
aux éditions
Genre : SF
Sous-genres :
  • Space opéra

Auteurs : Ann Leckie
Date de parution : octobre 2015 Inédit
Langue d'origine : Français
Type d'ouvrage : Interview mail
Titre en vo :

Lire tous les articles concernant Ann Leckie

 ActuSF : "The Ancillary justice", the first book of a space opera trilogy, is just released in France (J’ai lu). Which authors influence your science fiction ? 
Ann Leckie : I read a lot of science fiction starting when I was a little girl, so I don’t doubt that a lot of authors have influenced me who I don’t remember their names. But I was a huge fan of Andre Norton for a very long time, and I think the influence of C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner books has had a pretty noticeable influence on the Ancillary books.
ActuSF : You participate to the NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – in 2002 and 2003. This is the beginning of your carrer of writer, isn’t it ?
Ann Leckie : Sort of ! I had always wanted to be a writer. When I was a few years out of university I wrote a story and submitted it to True Confessions, which was one of a half dozen magazines that purported to publish "true" stories of love and romance and scandal and what have you. I chose that because I saw so many of them in the magazine rack and I wanted to see if I could do it. I sold the story ! But I found I hadn’t enjoyed reading the magazines, or enjoyed writing the story, so I didn’t try again. But in some ways, that was the beginning of my career—it was my first sale. It kind of doesn’t count, though, because True Confessions didn’t give you a byline.
But, yes, it was around the time I finished NaNoWriMo in 2002 that I decided to try seriously again. I highly recommend doing NaNoWriMo, at least once, even if it’s only for fun. It’s very motivating.
ActuSF : Your have written short stories before your first novel. Was it a difficult journey from the short story to the novel ?
Ann Leckie : The NaNoWriMo novel was first (not counting that TC story !), and so it was a big challenge to learn to write short stories. I made myself write shorter and shorter, just to see if I could do it. I spent several years at that, and when I decided to go back to the novel in earnest, I felt very intimidated. I couldn’t possibly fit everything in ! Then I realized I was still thinking as though I’d have to do it all in just five thousand words. But I had as much room as I wanted ! I felt better after that.
ActuSF : May you present the world of Ancillary Justice please ? 
Ann Leckie : Ancillary Justice is set in the very far future, when humans have spread out very far in space. One of the human cultures has expanded, conquering lots of other star systems and worlds, and they use the bodies of some of the conquered people as appendages for their warships—these are ancillaries. This culture has relatively recently come up against aliens that it can’t overpower, or even defend themselves from, and this has caused a crisis. The main character of the Ancillary books is one of these ancillaries—the last bit of her ship, otherwise destroyed.
ActuSF : The story begins some years after the disappearance of a Radch starship, the Justice of Toren. The sole surviving is Breq, an ancillary. What an ancillary is ? 
Ann Leckie : An ancillary is a captured human who has been altered to be an appendage to an artificial intelligence—part of its body. It’s previous identity is gone, though it still has its memories. The ancillaries are everything from infantry to servants for the officers that serve on a warship.
ActuSF : May you also talk about The Radchaai who do not distinguish people by gender ? 
Ann Leckie : I wanted to write a culture that didn’t care about gender at all, just because I thought that would be fun. Of course, that ended up with me spending a fair amount of time thinking about what gender is and why and how it seems to matter to the culture I live in. In the end, it turned out to be way more complicated than I realized it would be, when I first started. 
So, the Radchaai have gender—of course they do, they’re human. But they don’t really think much about it. It’s kind of the way we think of hair color—we have different colors of hair, and it’s something that might matter to someone, to think "I’m blonde" or "I’m a redhead" or whatever, but it doesn’t really matter too much, you don’t need to call out a hair color when you talk about someone, children with different hair colors aren’t expected to behave differently on account of it, and it’s something you can change or not, as it pleases you, with a bottle of dye.
ActuSF : Ancillary justice is – of course – about justice but also about revenge, isn’t it ? 
Ann Leckie  : It is ! And of course, justice and revenge are related topics. Can you get justice by getting revenge ? Is revenge ever just ? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two—sometimes it seems like people talk about justice but they really mean some kind of revenge.
ActuSF : The Ancillary justive won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, BSFA Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award and Locus Award. How do you manage the pressure when you won such awards ? 
Ann Leckie : Oh, that year was so amazing. I was waiting the whole time to wake up and discover it was all a dream. But then, you’re right about the pressure ! Suddenly people were speculating out loud about whether the next book would live up to Justice, and that had never happened to me before. And how could any book ever live up to the reception that Ancillary Justice had ? It was quite nerve-wracking. But I had to just try to ignore it, put my head down and keep writing.
ActuSF : In 2015, it was the Puppygate at the Hugo awards. What do you think about it ? 
Ann Leckie : I have had a lot of thoughts about it, and most of them it’s probably better I don’t say in public. I will say, I think it’s a shame that they should be so willing to insult other writers and their readers in their desperate grab for attention and awards. But that’s on them—I’m too busy writing to spend much time on it. 
ActuSF : In august 2014 in Locus mag, you said "I don’t know what’s coming up after the trilogy. The Ancyllary trilogy is done now. Do you have a new project ? 
Ann Leckie : Right now I’m under contract for a new book. It will be set in the same universe as the Ancillary books, but it will be in a different time and place, not the same characters or story.
ActuSF : French readers will discover you soon with The Ancillary justice. What do you want to say to them ? 
Ann Leckie : Like (I suspect) most writers, one of the things I love best is to please readers, so I am very much hoping you’ll enjoy my book !

Jean-Laurent Del Socorro