Tatiana's Reviews > Silently and Very Fast

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente
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's review
Apr 22, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: short-stories, sci-fi, 2012, fairy-tales, fantasy, hugo, nebula
Recommended to Tatiana by: Catie
Read from April 22 to 23, 2012

4.5 stars

Silently and Very Fast should be a part of our She Made Me Do It blog feature, because Catie practically forced me to read this novella, claiming that I would love it (some begging was involved too) and, what do you know, she was right.

This is not my first Valente work, but she astounded me again with her wild imagination, command of the language, and her ability to tackle, it seems, any genre. Fairy tales, poetry, fantasy inspired by numerous cultures, and now - science fiction!

In a world where something as horrid as Robopocalypse gets all kinds of promo, praise and monetary rewards, while offering nothing new on the subject it was written about - AI, Silently and Very Fast is a stunning revelation. It is a sci-fi fairy tale about evolution of an artificial intelligence, and it is unique and beautiful and layered.

I don't think I even understood all the meaning and complexity of Valente's ideas (nothing new here, this is my typical state after completing any of her works), but I surely enjoyed the ride. What Ceridwen said in her review of Valente's Palimsest, can as well be applied to Silently and Very Fast, this novella is more of an experience, rather than a straight-forward, clear narrative.

Silently and Very Fast is not everyone's kind of story (god knows, I am not even into all of the author's works myself), many will find Valente's writing style florid, purple even, but I think she has a firm control of the words the uses to deliver her imagery and her vision, and those who are her fans and those who have an affection for vivid prose, will love it.
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Reading Progress

02/08/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Catie I am going to consider this an early birthday present. :)

Tatiana You are so easy to please:) I am enjoying it.

Catie Yay, four stars!

message 4: by Tatiana (last edited Apr 23, 2012 11:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana I would have given 5 if I weren't so darn stingy:0) I might reconsider.

Catie I am stingy too. (Although not this week, apparently.) I hope when all the chaos settles, you can write down some of your thoughts.

Catie Great review! I really don't think I understood it all either, but I loved reading it anyway. It's amazing how versatile she seems to be.

Did you hear that she's writing a companion to Deathless?

Tatiana Catie wrote: "Great review! I really don't think I understood it all either, but I loved reading it anyway. It's amazing how versatile she seems to be.

Did you hear that she's writing a companion to Deathless?"

No. What will that be about, do you know?

Catie Here's the link.

"tentatively titled Matryoshka. This is not a sequel, but a side-by-side novel to complete what I’m calling the Leningrad Diptych. It is a retelling of Ivan and the Firebird set during the children’s evacuation of Leningrad. Some familiar faces will pop up, as in all Russian fairy tales, but it will be a story all its own. The gender-shifting trickster Grey Wolf, the Water of Life and Death, firebirds, valkyries, talking dolls and the return of Baba Yaga–Matryoshka is a dark mirror of the London evacuation and a journey into the heart of the war."

I also had to look through her twitter posts today to find that and it turns out she's a Taurus. Apparently she even wrote a story about a lady-minotaur! Are we surprised? ;)

message 9: by Tatiana (last edited Apr 24, 2012 03:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana Not really. Tauruses are the best:

Tatiana C, did you see the summary of her second sold project? Wow!

Catie Yeah, I am loving that she's writing more sci-fi. I think you're right that it's coming back in.

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