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The Just City

av Jo Walton

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Serier: Thessaly (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
8206020,111 (3.85)76
Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future - all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past. The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer's daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome - and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her. Meanwhile, Apollo - stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does - has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human. Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives - the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself - to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect.… (mer)
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engelska (59)  finska (1)  Alla språk (60)
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Plato's Republic is one of the most-debated thought experiments of all time, but I'd always seen the critiques/reflections/responses to Plato's speculations on civic virtue in serious academic writing, so it was very refreshing to see someone think about the Republic in narrative form, and as a fantasy novel no less. What would actually living in the ideal city look like? How would you set it up, keep it running, deal with challenges? Karl Popper spent the whole Volume 1 of The Open Society criticizing the Republic as a totalitarian nightmare state (the classes of citizens, the abhorrence of trade, the idea that as long as the rulers are smart and virtuous enough nothing can go wrong), but in Walton's hands, for many of the characters it's much freer than the societies they came from, a practical lesson in applied ethics and the relativity of idealism that couldn't be obtained any other way. Once Walton has set up the premise - Athena has gathered thousands of people from across time in a recreation of Plato's Republic in part to teach Apollo, fresh off of Daphne's escape from his advances via transformation into a laurel tree, important insights about morality and mortality - the characters, including Socrates, have to work within the structures they've chosen and been chosen for to build the lives they want. Utopian societies have a long and honorable place in fiction, such as Francis Spufford's superb evocation of the Soviet 60s in Red Plenty, but it was very satisfying to see the Just City, the ancestor of them all, treated according to its own premises, and as one character says, "Nobody reads Plato and agrees with everything. But nobody reads any of the dialogues without wanting to be there joining in." ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Review will go live in Jan 2015 : http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2015/01/the-just-city/

Highly recommended. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
Did you know that Aldous Huxley's Brave New World shares many ideas with Plato's Republic? In The Just City, Pallas Athena, goddess of wisdom, gathers hundreds of people from all over time and space to recreate the utopian city-state described in Plato's Republic. Fans of dystopian fiction will recognize the sacrifice of individual attachment to partner and child, and the classification into castes. An often-ignored wrinkle included here is the role of intelligent machines. A very interesting read. ( )
  stephkaye | Dec 14, 2020 |
I didn't love it as much as My Real Children, but still quite delightful. ( )
  Menshevixen | Oct 13, 2020 |
A book I would have enjoyed more if I knew anything about philosophy. As it was, I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, and it never did. ( )
  Computr821 | Aug 28, 2020 |
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The Just City is a glorious example of one of the primary purposes of speculative fiction: serving as a map to the potentials and miseries of a possible world. But it is also a map that should be scrawled with the words, “here be dragons.”
 
Brilliant, compelling, and frankly unputdownable, this will do what your Intro to Philosophy courses probably couldn't: make you want to read The Republic.
tillagd av bluejo | ändraNPR, Amal El-Mohtar (Jan 15, 2015)
 

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Jo Waltonprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Sanzio, RaffaelloOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Stafford-Hill, JamieOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Wherever you go, there are plenty of places where you will find a welcome; and if you choose to go to Thessaly, I have friends there who will make much of you and give you complete protection, so that no one in Thessaly can interfere with you.

—Plato, Crito
The triremes which defended Greece at Salamis defended Mars too.

—Ada Palmer, Dogs of Peace
Yes, I know, Plato; but if you always take the steps in threes, one day you will miss a cracked one.

—Mary Renault, The Last of the Wine
If you could take that first step
You could dance with Artemis
Beside Apollo Eleven.
—Jo Walton, "Submersible Moonphase"
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This is for Ada, who took me to Bernini's Apollo.
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She turned into a tree. It was a Mystery. It must have been. Nothing else made sense, because I didn't understand it.
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Wikipedia på engelska (2)

Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future - all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past. The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer's daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome - and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her. Meanwhile, Apollo - stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does - has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human. Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives - the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself - to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect.

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