Forest Of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Summary: Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all.
But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.
The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.
There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her…
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: A captivating and mysterious short story where technology has become a fundamental part of everyday life.
Having listened to audio drama podcasts recently (many in the vein of quirky sci-fi/fantasy) I was easily transported into this Dystopian/Futuristic Pacific Northwest.
Centering around a futuristic world where AI Tech is a part of everyday life, Katya Gould, the main character, recounts her story on a typewriter of what happened to her when she found herself in a forest with her connection to her AI tech mysteriously cut-off and how she gets tangled with a mysterious character who is hunting deer.
Katya’s recollection of this moment in her life was written in such a unique way. There are misspellings/typos throughout this short story and I felt they really tied into how this world with so much tech. had influenced Katya as a character and the imperfections of memory.
Another aspect that made this short story so much fun to read was the overall concept. Katya is an antiquities dealer who trades objects (mostly tech) that are vintage or everyday objects we have today, such as books, that have been used/have lived through experiences and are seen as nostalgic to people in this world.
This novella brings up fascinating ideas in such a short amount of time such as man and machine, connecting with nature, and the importance of memory. The ending is rather open ended, but I felt so connected to this world in such a short amount of time.
However I did take away a star b/c the pacing felt slow at times and I wish Katya’s job dealing with Authenticities was given a bigger role because it was such a fascinating concept!
Overall a mysterious, unique and immersive story that I highly recommend. Katya’s POV will keep you reading from start to finish as you uncover more about this peculiar world!