Monday, March 5, 2012

Silently and Very Fast, by Catherynne M. Valente

Silently and Very Fast is a very interesting and challenging read.  It doesn't read like a hard SF story, but in some way it may be a very accurate way of describing what's coming for us.  This is the second AI-buddy story in the Novella category for the Nebulas this year, and it couldn't be more different from Kiss Me Twice, which I reviewed just a few days ago.  Silently and Very Fast was harder for me to read, as it gets more magical and loopy than I normally prefer.  But Kiss Me Twice was a more straight technological projection, and as a result put what I think were artificial limits on the artificial intelligences.  Valente places no such limits on her AIs, or at least the limits are not apparent at first.  The ending puts it in context very well.  Valente made me work and it put me off a little, but in the end I really enjoyed it, and give it 3 strong stars.

So now I've read all the Nebula nominees that are available online for free.  Adam-Troy Castro's "With Unclean Hands" and Carolyn Ives Gilman's "The Ice Owl" are in Analog and F & SF respectively, and those publications do sometimes put award nominees up as samples for awhile, so we'll see if I get to see those under the aegis of this blog.  Who do I think will win?  Ken Liu's The Man Who Ended History.  Most fun to read?  Kiss me Twice.  It was a strong field this year, all the stories were pretty good.  We'll see how the novelettes are.

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