Book Review

THE MELANCHOLY OF MECHAGIRL
by Catherynne M. Valente

Genre: Science Fiction, General Science Fiction

2013 Science Fiction Novel Nominee

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To date, publisher Haikasoru has focused primarily on the most outstanding works of Japanese speculative fiction. This single author collection revisits territory explored by Haikasoru’s The Future is Japanese, speculative fiction written by a westerner influenced by her exposure to Japan. Valente’s austere prose and poetry draws from her experiences in Japan; where lesser authors simply appropriate, Valente treats her source material with respect. Also featured are a short introduction by reviewer/critic Teroyuki Tashimoto and a detailed autobiographical afterword by the author, a history of an American woman in Japan and the metamorph-osis that resulted. The result reveals why she is a frequently nominated author for awards from the Tiptree to the Rhysling. The sole weakness of this collection is its brevity; at just a little over 300 pages, it is too short.

This volume offers four poems and nine short stories; here a cyborg ponders her condition, curiously animated inanimate objects suffer doomed romances, and an artificial intelligence matures through transformation. (HAIKASORU/VIZ, Jul., 304 pp., $14.99)

Reviewed By: James Davis Nicoll

Publisher: HAIKASORU/VIZ

Published: July 2013

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