The Justice of Toren was a colossal starship run by an artificial intelligence. That intelligence also linked thousands of human soldiers, each soldier’s mind completely run by the AI. These AI-run soldiers are known as ancillaries.
In an act of treachery, the Justice of Toren is destroyed, and the AI—now going by the name of Breq—is a single human body filled with unanswered questions and a burning desire for vengeance.
While hundreds of women published science fiction stories in the 1950s and earlier, it wasn’t until the 1960s—with its second-wave feminism (the first wave focused on suffrage and legal gender equality) and the sense that science fiction was a literature of ideas—that a large influx of female authors appeared on the scene.