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October 25, 2015
It All Goes Around (but what?)
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:26 PM * 68 comments

One of the pleasures of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary series is running across the small songs that Breq, the main character, collects. One particularly graceful lullaby that threads its way through the story is It All Goes Around:

My mother said it all goes around
The ship goes around the station,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The station goes around the moon,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The moon goes around the planet,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The planet goes around the sun
It all goes around.

It’s clear in the story that the song is a ferocious earworm. Which is why the tune for it that Foz Meadows composed is so perfect. It fits the lyrics beautifully, and sticks in your head. It certainly stuck in the head of Tumblr user @comedrinkwithme, who demonstrated that it’s a really good round.

October 09, 2015
Ancillary SPOILERS
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:35 AM * 131 comments

The soft clink of container against flask and the quiet slosh of liquid woke me quickly and completely. No ancillary, and no crewmember trying to perform an ancillary’s role, would make so much noise brewing and pouring tea.

Ship, why is there a stranger in my cabin? I asked silently, keeping my eyes closed and my breathing even. No doubt the stranger had noted my involuntary physiological changes on waking, but perhaps she would think it was simply a sleep phase transition. If she wasn’t an ancillary, if she had never stood like a piece of furniture, all but invisible, while citizens and ancillaries breathed and slept and woke around her, she might not know the thousand subtle differences between consciousness and unconsciousness.

The stranger convinced me that no harm was intended, replied Ship. I believe the tea is supposed to be the signal for you to wake up.

I opened my eyes. The stranger was at the foot of my bed, watching me with her head tilted to one side. She wore a simple outfit of black and gold, with a single large ornament on the left side of her chest and three small matching pins on her collar. In her ungloved hands she held a strange glass container of tea. The container was too tall to be considered a bowl. If it had not had a handle and been clearly intended for drinking from, I would have called it a vase. The fragrance of the tea inside was unfamiliar too, like Heart of the Valley with citrus peel added.

“Greetings, Fleet Captain,” she said as I sat up. “My previous captain was also fond of tea in the morning, and I’ve taken the liberty of making you some the way that he liked it.”

I took the vaselike vessel from her and sipped it. It was delicious. “And what did your previous captain call it?”

“Tea. Earl Grey.” She closed her lips, as though there was another word in that sequence, one she did not intend to say.

This is a spoiler thread for Ancillary Mercy.

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