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Silently and Very Fast (edition 2011)

by Catherynne M. Valente

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1631973,133 (4.25)6
Member:Snowstorm14
Title:Silently and Very Fast
Authors:Catherynne M. Valente
Info:WSFA Press (2011), Edition: 1ST, Hardcover, 127 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:science fiction

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Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente

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This is one of the stories where I can see why people would enjoy it. The language is very evocative and packed with images, metaphor and associative language, but in my case it failed to ressonate. It's clearly art, but I find with books this kind of impressionist approach they don't always hit home with me. Perhaps they hit the wrong notes or wake the wrong kind of association.

Sometimes a book and a reader is not right for each other and it isn't anyone's fault.



( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
Silently and Very Fast is a new genre for Catherynne M. Valente in one way -- it's sci-fi, essentially, about the creation of an artificial intelligence which has (or seems to have?) feelings and desires. In another way, it's not new at all: as with most of her other work, she draws on myth and fairytale to enrich her story.

I enjoyed it a lot: the slow unspooling of the background of the story, the way Elefsis grows and changes, and of course Valente's skill with words. It took me an hour to read, but I'll still be thinking about it this time next week. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
once upon a time, my family all went to go see a traveling exhibit of smithsonian museum artifacts. the hugeness of the convention center was carved into smaller, more intimate rooms full of treasures, a maze to lose yourself in the detritus of human culture. walking into one of these rooms, the far end was dominated by a larger-than-life headless bronze, Rodin's "walking man". i was utterly thunderstruck by it; something about the incredible sense of movement and a persevering struggle against adversity spoke to me in a way that sculpture almost never does. my mom wandered back to find me some time later with tears streaming down my face, unable to explain the beauty in what she saw as a crudely roughed-out chunk of metal. "it's perfect," was the closest i could come to trying to describe that artist somehow managed to communicate in a language that my brain instinctively spoke.

this story is like that. i can't pinpoint exactly what about the style or theme makes my heart sing, but i get that same inexplicable sense of perfection (rightness??), and i find myself in tears at something that's neither sad nor deliriously joyful. ( )
3 vote fireweaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
once upon a time, my family all went to go see a traveling exhibit of smithsonian museum artifacts. the hugeness of the convention center was carved into smaller, more intimate rooms full of treasures, a maze to lose yourself in the detritus of human culture. walking into one of these rooms, the far end was dominated by a larger-than-life headless bronze, Rodin's "walking man". i was utterly thunderstruck by it; something about the incredible sense of movement and a persevering struggle against adversity spoke to me in a way that sculpture almost never does. my mom wandered back to find me some time later with tears streaming down my face, unable to explain the beauty in what she saw as a crudely roughed-out chunk of metal. "it's perfect," was the closest i could come to trying to describe that artist somehow managed to communicate in a language that my brain instinctively spoke.

this story is like that. i can't pinpoint exactly what about the style or theme makes my heart sing, but i get that same inexplicable sense of perfection (rightness??), and i find myself in tears at something that's neither sad nor deliriously joyful. ( )
  fireweaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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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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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