Grand Jeté (The Great Leap) • 2014 • SF novella by Rachel Swirsky

★★★★

Meta: isfdb. This SF novelette appeared September 2014 in Subterranean Online. It was re-published in The Best SF&F of the Year 2015.

Synopsis: A Jewish father sees his only daughter Mara dying of cancer. He builds a life-size robot AI called Ruth, resembling Mara in every detail and fills it with an exact copy of Mara’s personality and memories. The golem comes alive and behaves normal – both girls fear replacing.

Review:  “Sideways immortality” is an interesting concept: You aren’t immortal yourself, but an exact replica is. Love can cause pain, the process of loss and death, Jewish culture, and mostly the family relationship – including the dog – make this story very emotionally involving. The ending with Ruth stepping out and taking control of her own live isn’t dark but hopeful, which makes the story one of my favourites. It isn’t “Frankenstein” at all.

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