Tom Negrino's Reviews > Silently and Very Fast

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente
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it was ok

Read as part of the Hugo 2012 Voter Packet.

I appreciate Valente's craft. She can write beautifully; hence the two stars for this story, rather than one. But it wasn't a good story for me. I prefer science fiction, and usually hard SF; I'm not much of a fantasy reader. Valente has essentially written an SF story as if it were a fairy tale, which doesn't work for me (I could not in any way describe this as "hard SF"). And it is one of the distressing number of popular stories in which hardly anything happens. I think this is a pernicious and unfortunately growing trend. In my opinion, Valente covered the lack of plot with her considerable craft, and the story is a failure as a result. She uses very ornate, flowery language, which simply does not speak to me.

This story failed to hold my interest; despite knowing it was a Nebula nominee, and despite strong recommendations, I could not finish it. I abandoned it about 80% in, according to my Kindle. It wasn't alone; the Nebula winner this year, "What We Found" by Geoff Ryman, was another story I chucked after reading more than halfway, because nothing of interest happened, and because the science became ridiculous.

I gather from reading reviews of her other work that this surreal, dreamlike style is not uncommon for Valente, which means that I will most likely not bother reading her again. I suspect other aficionados of hard SF will also stay away.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 18, 2012 – Shelved
July 18, 2012 – Finished Reading

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