The Just City

(Thessaly #1)

368 pages

English language

Published Oct. 3, 2015

OCLC Number:

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5 stars (1 review)

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 …

1 edition

What if you could get the finest minds to establish Plato's ideal city?

5 stars

Considering that these "finest minds" mostly come from an era where slavery is not a problem, and that Plato's ideas on personal relationships—as logical as they might be—have nothing to do with how humans relate to each other, well, the experiment would be interesting to watch.

Jo Walton pushes the thought experiment by giving us well written characters, a fantastic setting (Atlantis was real!) and sci-fi musings (do robots have souls?), and uses the rules of the experiment to make us question it (thanks, Sokrates).

I really enjoyed this book, but I'll wait a couple of weeks at least before opening the second volume of the series—I don't want to burn out on it.


  • Imaginary places
  • Greek Gods
  • Planned communities
  • Time travel
  • Fiction