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All About Emily by Connie Willis

All About Emily (2011)

by Connie Willis

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A short novella about an aging actress who meets an android prototype. She fears that Emily the android will replace her, given that the android is beautiful, tireless, and gives flawless performances. But instead of sabotaging the young droid, she gives her the best advice she can, for reasons the reader doesn't fully understand until the end. I liked the ending; it surprised me. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I love Connie Willis. However, I continue to be slightly befuddled by her passionate love of musical theater/old movies/retro celebrity... that sort of thing. It's just not my thing.

It is certainly the thing of the main character in this book, though - an aging actress, who, much against her expectations, finds an emotional bond with a lifelike robot whose one dream in 'life' is to become a Rockette.

Although extremely short, the book is witty, touches thoughtfully on quite a few ethical questions, and is very touching. I cried. On the subway.

Side note: Yay for the public library! Because $20.00 (the price of this book) is really just too much for one story - even if it is a very good story by a very good author. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
...Willis has produced a large number of award winning short fiction in her career and that she knows how to write a good story at this length shows in All About Emily. It is well paced, pretty lean and yet manages to create a well developed character. I did think the ending of the story is rather abrupt. Not that when we reach that point there is much more to say but it is not the most graceful way to end a story. That being said, All About Emily is a very decent read. I don't think Willis quite reaches the level of some of the stories in The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories but it is well worth the time it takes to read.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Jul 5, 2015 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Claire Havilland is an aging Broadway actress who considers herself too old to wear a leotard and fishnets, but is not quite ready to be called a ??legend.ƒ? One of her most successful roles was playing Margo Channing in the Broadway musical adaption of the film All About Eve. When Claire meets a charming young woman named Emily, who seems to know all about Claireƒ??s career, Claire feels threatened. Could Emily be planning to steal Claireƒ??s career, as Eve Harrington did to Margo Channing in All About Eve?

Connie Willisƒ??s new novelette All About Emily (only 96 pages) blends Broadway and science fiction ƒ?? something I donƒ??t think Iƒ??ve ever seen done before ƒ?? and it works. It was fun to explore Manhattanƒ??s Theater District and to learn about the history of the Rockettes and Radio City Music Hall while thinking about robotics, identity, ambition, and what it means to be human.

The plot of All About Emily moves quickly, never lags, and kept me thoroughly entertained for the couple of hours that it took me to read the book. Willisƒ??s characters, who manage to become surprisingly well-developed in such a small space, are delightful ƒ?? I was completely engrossed in their story.

All About Emily is the first of Connie Willisƒ??s novelettes that Iƒ??ve read, though I own several more of them. I hope to get to them soon, and Iƒ??m going to rent All About Eve this weekend. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Novella about a lioness of the theatre and the ingenue she encounters who just happens to be a robot who might take her job. Variations on a theme of All About Eve, but feel-goody in a way that left me feeling slightly greasy, maybe because it seemed to skip past real questions about disemployment in favor of suggesting that humanity lies in treating robots who look like us (only hotter) well instead of badly. ( )
  rivkat | Dec 19, 2012 |
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Fuck 'The Red Shoes'. I wanted to be a Rockette.
-A Chorus Line
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All right, so you're probably wondering how I, Claire Havilland, three-time Tony winner, Broadway legend, and star of Only Human--ended up here, standing outside Radio City Music Hall in a freezing rain two days before Christmas, soaked to the skin and on the verge of pneumonia, accosting harmless passersby.
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Theater legend Claire Havilland fears she might be entering the Sunset Boulevard phase of her career. That is, until her manager arranges a media appearance with her biggest fan--a famous artificial intelligence pioneer's teenage niece. After precocious Emily's backstage visit, Claire decides she's in a different classic film altogether. While unnaturally charming Emily swears she harbors no desire for the spotlight, Claire wonders if she hasn't met her very own Eve Harrington from All About Eve. But the story becomes more complex as dreams of fame give way to concerns about choice, free will, and identity.… (more)

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