Kirstine's Reviews > Silently and Very Fast

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente
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it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, own, ebooks, reviewed, 1-women

I love this book.
But I'm not sure I know what it's about. Or what it was trying to tell me. I'll have to think about it, even re-read it, before anything is clear. But I still loved it.

The writing style reminded me of Green Heart. It's poetic, it's beautiful, it's brimming with imagery and colours. Like Green Heart, it gave me a feeling like I was breathing underwater. The sensation of being completely engulfed by something - but never choking on it.

It's original, too. It's very very original. The whole idea of having everything take place (literally) inside someone's mind, and the whole idea of the 'interior' is fantastic. And it's an extremely interesting way of looking at Artificial Intelligence; through the eyes of the robot itself.
In a way it's a more poetic and picturesque version of Genesis. Except where Genesis made a point of separating man and machine, this book investigates a symbiosis of the two. Not in body, as such, but in mind.

I'm not sure what this book wanted to tell me. Is it that human and machines can live peacefully together? Is it that we shun what is different, that alienation, our inability to embrace what is new, will be our downfall? Is it that it doesn't matter, really, in the end, what our feelings are a result of? Is it an answer to the question "could robots be considered equal to humans"? Is it about love? About the possibilities of AI and electronic progress?
Is it a very elaborate what-if?

I'm not sure. Maybe all of the above.

No matter what, it is an enchanting, intelligent and thought-provoking read. It pushes boundaries and presents an old debate in a very new light - and succeeds in not telling you what to think or believe, but instead shows you a different view on it.

I've left out a hundred things I probably ought to address about this, but please don't blame me.
I feel a bit as though I've stepped out of a dream. I'll take time to recover.
Read it for yourself, and you'll understand.
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Reading Progress

May 9, 2012 – Shelved
May 13, 2012 – Started Reading
May 13, 2012 – Shelved as: science-fiction
May 13, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 3, 2014 – Shelved as: own
February 3, 2014 – Shelved as: ebooks
June 26, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed
November 14, 2015 – Shelved as: 1-women

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Msmerricat I just began Silently and Very Fast before bed last night. I already amtotally immersed in it and hated to put it down for sleep and work today. You mention a likeness in the feeling Green Heart gave you. I absolutely drowned in Green Heart. It hurt just to stop reading it and I understand the breathing under water part. This is how Silently and very fast is making me feel. I was not wrong in stockpiling Valente on my kindle. I am out of work in 2 hours and Elefsis bound!


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