Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is actually my second time reading this story and it's just as good this time as the first.
Let me back up. This Hugo winner for best novella a few years ago may not have taken the world by storm, but Valente herself has been taking a lot of us that way. You know. Blown away.
She has a fantastic talent with words, always lyrical, rife with ideas, and most importantly, beautiful.
This particular story starts with a parable about Inanna and Ereshkigal and Tammuz and draws it right into a tale of raising an AI from humble house beginnings to childhood to adulthood, and far beyond. It also seamlessly incorporates sleeping beauty, legends of many monomyths, and incorporates it into sexuality, mourning, and the nature of intelligence (and how humans failed the Turing test). :)
And believe it or not, Valente does this magically. It rolls off the page with such beauty and easy flow, we can hardly believe we're being riddled with myth, deep thought, and hard-SF. We come away from it, FEELING something grand. :)
Do I recommend this?
HELL YEAH. It encapsulates everything high-brow, magical, poetical, and lovely. This is literature AS hard-SF. :)
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