08 February 2015

Review: The Just City

The Just City
The Just City by Jo Walton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I confess to not having a ton of interest in (for lack of a better term) ancient philosophy. I've read a lot of it, but never really kept up beyond coursework and such. The Just City is rooted in that sort of philosophy, and provides a great little sandbox to play in as a result.

The idea behind it is that the god Athene has opted to try and recreate Plato's Republic as an actual society. She takes people from all walks of life in all times (past and future), adds some robot workers, and lets the people go at it. Socrates is there, the god Apollo opts to become a mortal and is there, many famous philosophers are there as well, all there to try and see if they can make it work.

The story is very much just the society dealing with the challenges of staying true to Plato's ideals while coping with modern ideas, surprises, and so on. There's probably a lot I missed due to not being versed in it, but I still enjoyed the whole thing very thoroughly. The way the book ended, too, was a really interesting reveal that I, frankly, should have seen coming, but I was so immersed in all of it that I never considered it.

Overall, I definitely recommend this. If you're not so much into science fiction, those elements are very subdued and really exist more to serve a few specific points. Certainly worth your time.

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