A Review of Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. ValenteA Beautiful View of The Singularity

Imagine if you could go anywhere, do anything, and never be alone. Would it bother you if your closest companion and co-creator was a machine? You might think so, but then again you might change your mind after reading this gorgeous, evocative novel, narrated by Elefsis, the machine in question.

The Turing Test and other criteria for sentience lurk at the periphery of Elefsis’ consciousness and world-view. But by making Elefsis the narrator, this novel shows the question to be moot. Ipso facto, a being this sensitive, this capable of love and appreciating beauty cannot be denied personhood by anyone worthy of that title themselves.

At the beginning, Elefsis is merely an intelligent house, concerned with heating and cooling, cooking food, and monitoring the vital signs of the occupants, especially the children of  Cassian Uoya-Agostino, the house’s eccentric creator. Read more »

A Review of lost boy lost girl: a novel, by Peter Straub

lost boy lost girl: a novel, by Peter StraubThis novel, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel, is part murder mystery, part ghost story and part family drama, with an unexpected, transcendent ending.

The story follows Tim Underhill, (a character from earlier novels by Straub), as he attempts to cope with a series of tragic, mysterious events afflicting the family of his dour brother, Phillip.

First is the seemingly inexplicable suicide of Nancy, Phillip’s wife. Next, their teenaged son, Mark, becomes obsessed with the abandoned house across the alley, with its labyrinthine secret passageways and seductive, dangerous former inhabitants: a pedophile, a serial killer, and the ghostly lost girl of the title. Read more »