Review: The Melancholy of Mechagirl

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The Melancholy of Mechagirl
The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had already read most of these stories separately, so reading them again together was like visiting a distant country for the second time: though the overall panorama has not changed, some things have moved, some have changed, some touch you in different ways.

I will leave judging the poetry to someone else, as that is not really my usual field. I liked Tsukayama Park better than Mechagirl, though.

The short stories are great and raw and powerful, though the recurrence of the autobiographical themes is definitely more noticeable once you line them in a row, rather than reading them years apart. Killswitch, the Baku, Story No. 6, and The girl with two skins are the strongest of the lot for me.

The real gem of this collection is however the short novella Silently and very fast, a story set in the far future and inside the shared mind of a woman and an artificial intelligence. It touches all the themes of emergence of conscience, knowledge of self, identity, ego, sex, gender, memory, myth, family, and what any of those things even mean in the shared mind-world inside of yourself.

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