July 16 2012

Silently and Very Fast

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente is another fine novella nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award. Like Kiss Me Twice, it is concerned with AI’s but the similarities go no further as they are about 180 degrees apart in tone. Silently and Very Fast is written about the development of an AI from the perspective of the AI as it evolves though a number of lifecycles. All of this is told through highly allegorical (and quite lovely) writing.
I thought there was maybe a bit too much emphasis on the original coder of the AI and how their originality and eccentricities influenced and indeed, enabled the AI. I enjoyed this novella and its use of allegory to paint a picture of what is essentially an alien point of view. However, I didn’t see anything very startling about the subject and it seemed that part of the story was attempting to be startling in its portrayal of the AI. Definitely worth reading though.
By the way, the title is the last line from the W. H. Auden poem, The Fall of Rome:

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

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Posted July 16, 2012 by user in category "Book review", "Hugos

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