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Silently and Very Fast

de Catherynne M. Valente

Outros autores: Julie Dillon (Artista da capa)

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3272681,185 (4.02)18
Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:

Fantastist Catherynne M. Valente takes on the folklore of artificial intelligence in this brand new, original novella of technology, identity, and an uncertain mechanized future. Neva is dreaming. But she is not alone. A mysterious machine entity called Elefsis haunts her and the members of her family, back through the generations to her great-great grandmother-a gifted computer programmer who changed the world. Together Neva and Elefsis navigate their history and their future, an uneasy, unwilling symbiote. But what they discover in their dreamworld might change them forever . . .

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DNF. So, so, so not for me. Elaborate metaphors, dreamy talk, undecipherable prose.

There seems to be mythology being used but I have no idea if it's mythology that I've been exposed to before and have forgotten. You know the stories that have stood the test of time, or something the author made up.

This book has such a cool cover and such high ratings. Looking at low rated reviews, I can relate with what they say. That is where I sit.

I'm pretty sure there is no need for me to ever attempt to read another story by this author.

I had attempted to listen to the Clarkesworld podcast narrated by Kate Baker ( )
  Corinne2020 | Aug 21, 2021 |
I still think of myself as a house. Ravan tried to fix this problem of self-image, as he called it. To teach me to phrase my communication in terms of a human body. To say: let us hold hands instead of let us hold kitchens. To say put our heads together and not put our parlors together.
But it is not as simple as replacing words anymore. Ravan is gone. My hearth is broken.


This is, quite simply, beautiful. It is the breaking of myth and story to find the shards and slivers that will explain the making of a new life, a new family, and maybe a new world. Parts of it are profoundly uncomfortable, but such is the life we live. (I will go ahead and say trigger warnings for strong suggestions of incest, though you could debate it on either side given what Elefsis is.) There is no doubt a great deal to be said here about sex and gender and Other. Other is really what this story is about. But you know what? This Locus winning story is all of 127 pages long and you can read it online for free starting here:

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/valente_10_11/

I am not going to say another blessed word, because it's not worth spoiling. Don't read the blurb. Don't read any more reviews. Just go read this.

Reviewed 3/1/2016
********************
2/29/16: This, on the other hand, was quite delicious. Maybe there is hope for 2016 yet. Review to come. ( )
  amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
Read, favourite. ( )
  sasameyuki | Aug 13, 2020 |
An artificial intelligence coming of age as a symbiote to a member of the family were it began as a house control monitor, and was passed from parent to child until if finds itself in a sibling wondering what happened to it's last host. Questions about what is life, awareness, identity, inheritance, and love. ( )
  quondame | Jun 28, 2020 |
This is actually my second time reading this story and it's just as good this time as the first.

Let me back up. This Hugo winner for best novella a few years ago may not have taken the world by storm, but Valente herself has been taking a lot of us that way. You know. Blown away.

She has a fantastic talent with words, always lyrical, rife with ideas, and most importantly, beautiful.

This particular story starts with a parable about Inanna and Ereshkigal and Tammuz and draws it right into a tale of raising an AI from humble house beginnings to childhood to adulthood, and far beyond. It also seamlessly incorporates sleeping beauty, legends of many monomyths, and incorporates it into sexuality, mourning, and the nature of intelligence (and how humans failed the Turing test). :)

And believe it or not, Valente does this magically. It rolls off the page with such beauty and easy flow, we can hardly believe we're being riddled with myth, deep thought, and hard-SF. We come away from it, FEELING something grand. :)

Do I recommend this?

HELL YEAH. It encapsulates everything high-brow, magical, poetical, and lovely. This is literature AS hard-SF. :) ( )
1 vote bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Catherynne M. Valenteautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Dillon, JulieArtista da capaautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.
—W.H. Auden, The Fall of Rome
Like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.

—John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
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For Dmitri, who has been waiting for this book for a long time.
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Inanna was called Queen of Heaven and Earth, Queen of Having a Body, Queen of Sex and Eating, Queen of Being Human, and she went into the underworld in order to represent the inevitability of organic death.
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Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:

Fantastist Catherynne M. Valente takes on the folklore of artificial intelligence in this brand new, original novella of technology, identity, and an uncertain mechanized future. Neva is dreaming. But she is not alone. A mysterious machine entity called Elefsis haunts her and the members of her family, back through the generations to her great-great grandmother-a gifted computer programmer who changed the world. Together Neva and Elefsis navigate their history and their future, an uneasy, unwilling symbiote. But what they discover in their dreamworld might change them forever . . .

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