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The Melancholy of Mechagirl
 
 

The Melancholy of Mechagirl [Kindle Edition]

Catherynne M. Valente
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.23
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Product Description

Product Description

A woman who dreams of machines. A paper lantern that falls in love. The most compelling video game you’ve never played and that nobody can ever play twice. This collection of Catherynne M. Valente’s stories and poems with Japanese themes includes the lauded novella “Silently and Very Fast” and the award-nominated “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time,” and “Ghost of Gunkanjima”—which originally appeared in a book smaller than your palm, published in a limited edition of twenty-four.

Also included are two new stories: the semiautobiographical metafictional, and utterly magical “Ink, Water, Milk” and the cinematic, demon-haunted “Story No.6.”

“I finished this collection late one night and feel asleep and had what felt like a year’s worth of intense dreams.”
—Charles Yu, author of Sorry Please Thank You

About the Author:
Catherynne M. Valente is a New York Times best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry. She lives on a small island off the coast of Maine with her husband, two dogs, one enormous friendly cat and one less enormous, less friendly one, and six chickens.
She has been nominated for or has won every major award in the science fiction/fantasy field, including the Hugo, World Fantasy, Locus James Tiptree Jr., Andrew Norton, and Mythopoeic awards.

About the Author

Catherynne M. Valente is a New York Times best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry. She lives on a small island off the coast of Maine with her husband, two dogs, one enormous friendly cat and one less enormous, less friendly one, and six chickens. She has been nominated for or has won every major award in the science fiction/fantasy field, including the Hugo, World Fantasy, Locus James Tiptree Jr., Andrew Norton, and Mythopoeic awards.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1858 KB
  • Print Length: 182 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Haikasoru/VIZ Media (14 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DYB956M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,630 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short story set with an unusual theme 10 Nov 2013
By M Lamb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a tightly linked and often poetic series of short stories based around a central 'Japan' theme which we will discover is semi-autobigraphical. Defintely worth a read if you appreciate material that's a little different.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback
Package received in good time, item as described, very happy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A luminous collection of stories like pearls, each with an unpalatable truth in the center 4 Jan 2014
By Heidi Waterhouse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I went back to this book to look up the bits I had highlighted for review, and I ended up re-reading Fade to White, the story in this book that I found creepiest and best.

The whole book is an excellent assemblage, and I especially loved the poem at the beginning, about the titular mechagirl.
~Boys won’t do; the memesoup is all wrong. They stomp when they should kiss~

Silently and Very Fast is a singularity story without being the kind of singularity story that makes me want humanity to just go ahead and never transcend. Thirteen Ways of Looking at Spacetime made me cry a bit, because the language was so tuned to my frequency, because the pain was familiar. It was like hearing an old sad lovesong you thought you knew, and hearing the lyrics in a different way all at once.
~Hermes breached the matter/antimatter boundary and found Persephone hiding herself in the chromodynamic garden, her mouth red with the juice of hadron-pomegranates. She had eaten six seeds and called them Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, and Bottom. At this, Hades laughed the laugh of unbroken supersymmetries. He said: She travels at a constant rate of speed and privileges no observer. She is not mine, but she is not yours. And in the end, there is nothing in creation which does not move.~

But Fade to White, ah, this one haunts me, because it is close to the dystopias of my childhood, the radiation and the fear of infertility, and all of the things you would grow up with if you knew that you would have 2 minutes from the flash bright as the sun. And she takes all of that and filters it down into a coming of age story that keeps me up at nights.

Read if: You are ready to let go of what you think you know of Japan, and learn some fairy tales, and some horror stories, and about the souls of machines.

Skip if: You are not at all amused by artsy meaningful short stories. These stories are probably super annoying if you don't like layers.

Also read: Palimpsest, for more of Valente's longing stories.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical 27 Nov 2013
By Cat Langford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderful, magical collection of stories that made me think about my own time living in Japan in a new light.
4.0 out of 5 stars A gem to grace the shelves of SFF fans everywhere! 22 May 2014
By Ria (Bibliotropic) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The title of this collection alone could have drawn me in, since it’s so unusual that I’d feel compelled to know just what it was all about. Find out it’s a collection of poems and short stories by an author whose work I like (Catherynne Valente) with influences from a country I’m interested in (Japan), and I was sold right there and then.

The collection opens with a poem, the same title as the book itself, a frantic and synesthetic perspective piece that I could probably read a dozen times over and still fail to fully grasp (though I’d appreciate it in new ways every time). It’s a compelling beginning to the book, really; short and fast-paced, giving you a taste of what’s to come without requiring much in the way of time or pages.

Some of the stories in The Melancholy of Mechagirl were not new to me, but they lost nothing in the rereading, and it was good to revisit stories that I’d read elsewhere and enjoyed. I’d heard the story of Killswitch elsewhere, in a collection of gaming urban legends, so it was good to be able to read the story in its entirety instead of just a summary. Most of them, though, were new stories to my mind, and I just drank them up. Valente’s skill with prose, her ability to meld metaphor and myth with solid science and sci-fi is amazing, and not to be missed.

"Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time" is one of the stories worthy of particular note, as it rewrites classic creation myths with a scientific bent in an amazingly complex way, while including autobiographics scenes and blending the whole thing into a seamless back-and-forth narrative that is so beautiful to read. This is a prime example of what you’re going to get when reading The Melancholy of Mechagirl. Some stories are better than others, as will forever be the case in anthologies and collections, but all are superb and all will impress you.

This is definitely a collection for fans of sci-fi and speculative fiction who enjoy playing with atypical ideas , and who want something new and fresh and their reading. It’s for those who enjoy good SFF fiction about Japan (in the time of Japanophilia, there’s a lot of Japan-centric fiction out there but a lot of it doesn’t exactly have a stamp of quality). It’s for those who, like me, are just addicted to Valente’s writing! It’s a book that has wide appeal, and is filled with stories and poems that all bear reading at least twice to fully grasp, which means it’s one of those uncommon books that I can identify early on as having great reread value. A gem to grace the shelves of SFF fans everywhere!
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical and challenging and very worth it 14 April 2014
By Kellswitch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was not what I was expecting, nor anything like what I usually read and had I know just what it was I probably wouldn’t have bought it and that would have been a real shame. This book challenged me in ways I haven’t been challenged in a long time.
Many of the stories felt more like extended poetry than narrative and were so heavily influence by Japanese myths and culture that they were very hard for me to follow, some didn’t feel like stories at all. Once I fell into the rhythm of her writing though, and accepted the lack of a straight forward narrative I began to really appreciate the beauty and flow of her words, I got a sense of place, color and feel for what she was writing even when I didn’t fully understand what she was referencing.
I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite story out of this collection, there were a few I didn’t like at all but of the others each one I liked I liked for completely different reasons. I would have to pick three. The first is One Breath, One Stroke, reading it felt like being inside a Japanese myth or a Miyazaki film. The second would be Story No. 6, it is harder to explain why. It’s sort of eerie without being creepy or unsettling, a mystery that never really gets answered. And lastly is Silent and Very Fast. I guess you could call this a Singularity story, it had a cyberpunk feel without the cynicism and the most beautiful imagery and ways of expression.
The one thread through these stories that stand out once you are done is that they all feel so personal, like you got a peek into the authors mind in a more intimate way than I’m used to, there was not “story” or character to distract and hide behind. Some of the stories were unsettling and uncomfortable, all were well worth reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing author, amazing voice 12 April 2014
By Nimue Melpomene - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't even begin to state just how much I adore this book. The stories are lyrical, poetic and fascinatingly full of mythology and the author's own experiences living in Japan. My favorite piece in this anthology is probably the title poem, but I won't ruin it for you. Read it for yourself, you won't regret it.
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