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All About Emily (2011)

by Connie Willis

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12412172,802 (3.75)15
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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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
An absolutely delightful and lovely read that will perk up your spirits and your afternoon, All About Emily is so good my only complaint is I wish it had been longer. Connie Willis has a deep knowledge and love of old movies and a sense of humor that tickles your sides and your heart. Everything she writes is just terrific and another must-read of hers is _To Say Nothing of The Dog_ ( )
  booksandcats4ever | Jul 30, 2018 |
Good, but not great, novella by Willis with engaging characters and a fun take on A.I. potentials (but mired a bit in nostalgic trivia...which maybe isn't a bad thing given its hooks with the plot).

If you're a theater or movie fan, you'll like this one. ( )
  SESchend | Sep 6, 2017 |
Overall I thought it a decent story, if short. And the play and movie references had me looking them up! Claire is introduced to an android named Emily and she wants to be a Rockette. Claire was afraid she'd run into someone who would take her job as was done in All About Eve. Later in the story she feels sorry for Emily and petitions to have her accepted by the Rockettes. It's a tough call since society is not happy with the possibility of losing their jobs to robots.

The story seems more interested in bragging about their thorough knowledge of Broadway rather than what is essentially a piece of fluff written by Connie Willis, who I adore for her excellent novels All Clear, To Say Nothing of the Dog and the Doomsday Book.

Nice short story, not a lot to recommend it, except perhaps a better understanding of Broadway and the art of acting. ( )
  James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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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.

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