Soft Science by Franny Choi

Soft Science

Soft Science explores queer, Asian American femininity. A series of Turing Test-inspired poems grounds its exploration of questions not just of identity, but of consciousness―how to be tender and feeling and still survive a violent world filled with artificial intelligence and automation. We are dropped straight into the tangled intersections of technology, violence, erasure, agency, gender, and loneliness.

Details Soft Science

TitleSoft Science
Release DateApr 2nd, 2019
PublisherAlice James Books
GenrePoetry, LGBT, Science Fiction, GLBT, Queer

Reviews Soft Science

  • Roxane
    Intelligent, always interesting poems. I particularly like when the poems look at the intersections between the human body and technology. A really strong collection from one of my favorite poets.
  • Hannah
    I was drawn to this poetry collection because of the concept: queer, Asian American femininity wrapped in the symbolism of the body as a machine. SOFT SCIENCE by Franny Choi blends science fiction and poetry, paying particular focus on the language of the earth with the language of the future.A part of me just didn’t feel smart enough for this collection and a majority of the poems went a little over my head. But the ones I did understand were ...
  • l.e.
    to be honest, i liked the concept of this book more than i liked many of the poems themselves. some were amazing; and i loved the way so many experimental poetic forms were combined with the various themes of the book. aesthetically and conceptually, it works pretty well as a collection. individually, however, there were only a few poems/moments that i really enjoyed beyond that theme.
  • charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
    franny choi, that's so hot
  • Acqua
    Reading Soft Science felt like trying to grasp onto something as it disintegrates in your hands and falls through your fingers, which I guess is what the author was going for.I didn't get a lot of this. It's probably not the right collection to start with if you - like me - aren't used to reading poetry at all, but it was still a really interesting experience. Taken literally, there's often not a lot to get, because everything in this collection ...
  • E.
    i feel i didn't 'get it' but i enjoyed the play with the structure and the rhythm
  • Alex Johnson
    I knew this book was going to be weird, but I wasn't expecting it to be inscrutable-weird like it was for some of the poems. Sometimes Choi knocked it out of the park, like writing the poem in code that I always wanted to write with "Program for the Morning After" and turning the question "Where are you from?" on its head in "Turning Test_Weight," but sometimes I just had no idea what was going on other than machines and human body parts. I guess...
  • Courtney LeBlanc
    I struggled with this collection of poetry. I really like some of Choi's poetry -- her poem "To the Man Who Shouted 'I Like Pork Fried Rice' at Me on the Street" is one of my favorites. But Soft Science fell short for me. Weaving in technology, sexuality, gender, and even more technology - robots, cyborgs, etc. - this collection pushed things a little to far for me. I like to be challenged when reading poems, but I also like to connect with them....
  • Andrea Blythe
    A gorgeous book-length collection of poetry that explores queer, Asian American femininity through the lens of robots, cyborgs, and artificial intelligence. I have an podcast interview with Choi coming soon.
  • Rhys
    I enjoyed this book of poems - I read it in one sitting, even staying up later than I had planned to finish it - but I do feel like a lot of it went over my head. What I did understand really resonated with me and I liked it, though I will admit that I just don't feel like I necessarily *got* all of it. Sometimes I felt like all I got from reading the poems was the feeling of it, the emotions that it provoked in me. Sometimes I just liked the for...
  • Caroline
    3 starsBeing a little generous with my rating here, because although this collection didn't do much for me as a whole, there are quite a few admirable poems that made the reading experience worthwhile. I was very intrigued by this book in concept (the intersection between humanity and technology and queer identity, as seen through a cyborg) but the execution fell very flat. I think it's easy to fall back on the old "I just didn't get it" phrase w...
  • rick.
    I was excited for this one, but on a whole goodread's "it's okay" is probably the right rating for me. There are some clever approaches and thoughtful moments, and at least one laugh at loud line. But too much felt wrapped and mired in its cyborg frame of reference, or too impressed with its own cleverness to sustain or convey emotion.
  • Samantha
    I have waited maybe a year for this book and it didn't disappoint, I love it so much and everything in it that intersects and converses. Franny Choi has mastered the poetic mashup of AI and emotion and gender and science and queerness.
  • Ksenia
    absolutely brilliant, words vibrating off the page kind of stuff.
  • Bianca St.
    2.5 I appreciate the cohesion of themes and format and the ingenuity of some of the poems but, ultimately, this wasn't really my favourite collection...
  • Ally Muterspaw
    Super intelligent and well-written poems, I especially enjoyed Choi's association with the human body, particularly Asian American feminine bodies, to AI and dehumanization. Really looking forward to reading more from Choi.
  • honeybean
    Really enjoyed "Shokushu Goukan for the Cyborg Soul" and "A Brief History of Cyborgs"
  • Sarah
    3.75 stars, even though I’m unsure how to star-rate this.I am a cautious poetry reader. I sometimes find it inaccessible or difficult to understand. But I’m committed to broadening my poetry canon, and anyway I’m a huge fan of the VS podcast, which Franny Choi co-hosts with Danez Smith, so I wanted to read her work. (The podcast is wonderful and you don’t have to identify as a ‘poetry person’ to fully enjoy it.)Alice James Books was k...
  • shannon pulusan
    Soft Science is a hefty poetry collection that will, if you are a poet, inspire you to experiment with how words fit the page; to write about that pervy anime from your childhood; to be receptive of what AI can teach you about being human; to screw being in the present and yearn for alternate realities. Through the reoccurring character of the cyborg, Franny Choi upholds robots and artificial intelligence as sage figures able to show us our capac...
  • Ari
    This reads as a juxtaposition of hard metals and mossy organics. As you read each poem you'll be gently nestled into the soft science of this compilation in a way that demands your attention to the subtle mechanics of their composition. I am known to be impatient with poetry that leans too heavily into feelings alone and becomes cloying as result (my opinion). Choi is masterful in managing the fine balance between head and heartstrings: This isn'...
  • Krystal Caracol
    I assumed by the title, 'science', that this would be my style but it just sounds jumbled to me and my imagination is not stimulated. I might come back to it some day and see if I get a different reaction because there are beautiful bits within each poem.
  • L ✨
    cw: F word, death, graphic descriptions of sex (i'm not sure all of them were consensual)I guess it’s an old question: is there anything that works that isn’t a machine for killing, or doomed to collapse, or stolen from the sweat of the hungry? Maybe my body was all three, there, in the hotel room, liquor-shot and reaching in every direction for an answer,In December two years ago, I saw the cover and thought "I have to read it". I thought "t...
  • Kevin Hogan
    Another powerful collection from Franny Choi. Some of the poems in this book originally appeared in "Death by Sex Machine," and this book is less tightly focused on that subject matter, but not less powerful.Whether the violence is incidental or accidental ("who isn't bruised around the edges, / peaches poured into the truck bed" from & O Bright Star of Disaster, I Have Been Lit) or entirely purposeful (in many meanings of the word) ("I made all ...
  • Sarah
    I especially loved the Turing Test poems.
  • Valerie
  • Hilary ☀️
    I didn't get most of these poems individually. Most went completely over my head. However, I think after reading them all together, the general feeling I got around message was that love and sex and all humanness have been rendered as unfeeling, especially in relation to power dynamics between genders, a world increasingly driven to mechanization, and within the current political climate. Online hate against / cultural references to femmes is inc...
  • Lulu (the library leopard)
    Ah heck, this was so good.
  • Ellie Botoman
    “my face / is a game of telephone gone sour, our south. / fleshy marionette in the window, dancing / her awful crooked dance. & isn’t that / what you paid for? isn’t that what you came / to see? a god, on loop, failing” “my face / is a game of telephone gone sour, our south. / fleshy marionette in the window, dancing / her awful crooked dance. & isn’t that / what you paid for? isn’t that what you came / to see? a god, on loop, fai...