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Grand Jeté (The Great Leap) by Rachel…
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Grand Jeté (The Great Leap)

by Rachel Swirsky

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Mara is eleven, the child of talented immigrants, and quickly dying of cancer. Her father, a gifted engineer, has gotten access to a military prototype android. He begs her to let him copy her brainwaves onto it, to give her a version of herself that will be healthy and immortal. Mara is horrified at the idea of being replaced, but eventually gives in, wanting to give her father one last gift.

The android version of Mara is identical in every thought and memory, but she avoids the "black hole" of death that Mara is being sucked into. Beautifully told, and I liked the tension between human!Mara and android!Mara. There are other cool sf concepts in here, like "attic space," a virtual reality where Mara learns and talks to friends. I wasn't entirely clear on why there was so much backstory about Mara's great-grandparents--I think to give the impression that family can be both a balm and a pain at once? ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This was better than that Dinosaur prose-poem. Sorry.

Sci-fi takes on the golem story and automatons harking back to Coppélia are far from uncommon in the genre, but this story puts a fresh spin on both. I wavered over thinking that the whole dying-child aspect was a little much - but I think it worked.

A Jewish father has already lost his wife; and now his daughter is dying of cancer. Distraught, he acquires restricted, experimental technology to create a duplicate of his daughter - a duplicate right down to her memories and brain function. Understandably, the daughter does not embrace her father's 'gift' with the enthusiasm he hoped.

The way the story progresses effectively explores themes of love, grief, and identity. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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