Forward to next post: The Just City: Spoilers, Arguments, and Speculations
On sale today in hardcover and ebook in North America, on
January 15 February 28 in ebook in the UK and associated markets, and in print in the UK &c. in July.
From the author’s essay for the Tor-Forge newsletter/blog:
“One of the odd things about explaining what The Just City is about is people’s reactions. The Just City is a fantasy novel about a group of classicists and philosophers from across all of time setting up Plato’s Republic on Atlantis, with the help of some Greek gods, ten thousand Greek-speaking ten-year-olds they bought in the slave markets of antiquity, and some construction robots from our near future. What could possibly go wrong?
“Now I get two different immediate reactions to this. The first is from people who say ‘That’s insane, and I want it now!’ The second is from people who say they know nothing about Plato or philosophy in a kind of apologetic way, as if anything that touches on these subjects in any way would require background reading and be kind of boring….What I’ve written in The Just City is a utopia. No, a dystopia. No, wait, no…no, it’s not an ambiguous heterotopia either. But it’s about a designed society, and about human nature, and consent, and questioning. It’s about two women (and one god) growing up.”
“A remarkable novel of ideas…Superb. In the end, the novel does more than justice to the idea of the Just City.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“As skilled in execution as it is fascinating in premise, The Just City doesn’t require a degree in classics…Although rich with philosophical discussions, what keeps this novel from becoming too chilly or analytical are its sympathetic female characters.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Walton shines, as she always does, in the small and hurtful and glorious business of interpersonal relationships. Some of her children are forever scarred by slavery, others are lifted from it. Some find Plato’s teachings and philosophy to be a powerful force for happiness and satisfaction, others fare less well. The others around them—including, eventually, both Socrates and Apollo (who has incarnated himself as a mortal child)—reflect back their philosophical and human development, and show us the incredible beauty and the cruelty of utopian projects….Nobody writes like Walton. The Just City manages to both sympathize with social engineering at the same time as it demolishes paternalistic solutions to human problems. In so doing, this book about philosophy, history, gender and freedom also manages to be a spectacular coming-of-age tale that encompasses everything from courtroom dramas to sexual intrigue.”
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“A brilliant and haunting meditation on utopia, power, and consent—with deeply engaging characters and consummately clever worldbuilding. Jo Walton has given us another winner.”
The Just City will be followed by Book Two of Thessaly, The Philosopher Kings, slated for June 2015, and Book Three, Necessity, currently being written, tentatively scheduled for mid-2016. Follow Jo Walton’s blog for updates.