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Stories of Your Life and Others

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  51,280 ratings  ·  6,741 reviews
A new edition of Ted Chiang’s masterful first collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, which includes his first eight published stories plus the author’s story notes and a cover the author commissioned himself. Combining the precision and scientific curiosity of Kim Stanley Robinson with Lorrie Moore’s cool, clear love of language and narrative intricacy, this ...more
ebook, 298 pages
Published October 22nd 2010 by Small Beer Press (first published July 2002)
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Katie Fellows no tears from me but it certainly impacted me on both an emotional and mental level. There are a few stories in here (ie Hell is the Absence of God,…moreno tears from me but it certainly impacted me on both an emotional and mental level. There are a few stories in here (ie Hell is the Absence of God, Division by Zero, and Story of your Life) that have very emotional ties but for the most part, I would not label it a tear jerker by any means. Still excellent though(less)
Amelia Volkova The movie has some minor changes,but is largely based on it and the story they filmed is more than the book tells us. Also,they made the alphabet for…moreThe movie has some minor changes,but is largely based on it and the story they filmed is more than the book tells us. Also,they made the alphabet for heptapods that was described in the story. Read first or watch first,doesn't matter,you need to do both,because they complete eachother(less)
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Cecily


Reading is nothing; comprehension is everything”.
Sarah Richards

I read the title short story while away at a conference for technical writers. The quote above came from a presentation about transforming the Government Digital Service, but the issues of communication (context and audience) that are at the heart of this story are key to technical writing and had echoes in many of the presentations. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Ted Chiang is also a technical writer.

Note: This review is just
...more
Bradley
Update: Saturday the 12th, November 2016

I just watched the movie The Arrival and OMG it was amazing. :) :) :)
I cried. Like, a lot. I had chills and sat on the edge of my seat and I was totally engaged.
What's worse? The personal aspects of the movie just blew me away. And even worse? The mental ones were profound and beautiful and amazing. :) I AM SQUEEEING!!!!

Now here's the big question: Am I a fanboy because the movie only improved my appreciation of the original story? Or am I just blown away
...more
Kevin Kelsey
Posted at Heradas

Ted Chiang’s name continually comes up in lists of great short stories. He’s never written a novel, but his short fiction has won nearly every SF award that exists. 4 Nebulas, 4 Hugos, John W. Campbell, Locus, and on and on. He’s greatly admired among authors and almost entirely unknown by most readers. I’ve heard him referenced as an inspiration by several authors that I enjoy reading. Specifically Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (who collectively write the Expanse series under
...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I don't read very many short stories collection but after this one I feel like I now need to.

This one contains the most mind bending and original sci-fi stories I've read in a while.

My favorite what the last one!
Apatt
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi
"Interfering Gremlin of GR" Alert!
This review was originally of the anthology Stories of Your Life and Others, then recently I wrote a separate review for the individual story "Story of Your Life". Today I woke up to find GR have merged the two reviews. WTF? Now it looks super long-winded! OK, I'd better reorganize this review a bit.
fancy line

Review of the novella "Story of Your Life"

Story of Your Life is one of Ted Chiang’s best stories. Ted Chiang is one of the greatest sci-fi short stories writers ever
...more
BlackOxford
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loving Imperfections

If arithmetic were consistent, love could not exist. That is to say, if arithmetic were undeniably logical in its foundations, logic would rule the worild and love would be eliminated as the irrational thing it is. This is how I read the moral of Chiang‘s marvellous story.

Mathematicians tend to view numbers as the natural constituents of the universe, existing independently in a Platonic realm of perfection. Such a universe is orderly, reliable and comprehensible even if it
...more
Adina
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sf
3.5* for the 4 stories I read

I am not the number 1 expert or fan of short stories so please take my review with a grain of salt. This is the first SF anthology that I read so I am basically a newbie in this genre. I will review 2-3 stories at the time as I am going through other books at the same time and I would not want to forget what I read.

Tower of Babylon 2.5*
As synopsis the story is about people in the Old Testament reality which are building a tower to heaven and a surprise waits when
...more
Manuel Antão
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, favorites
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Coding Languages vs. Natural Languages: “Story of Your Life and Others” by Ted Chiang



Are you familiar with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? Back in the day when I was in college I remember writing a paper on applying this language paradigm to coding. It was so long ago I don’t really remember what I wrote, but I still remember agreeing with the fact that coding could also be a fitting subject to the Sapir-Whorf wisdom… Thinking it over once
...more
Gwern
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What's there to say about Chiang that all the others don't say? He is the closest thing to a modern Jorge Luis Borges in melding high concepts with literature to create something better than either; in some respects, I'd rank his best short stories as better than Gene Wolfe's (too often tedious & unsolved puzzleboxes). His writing is deceptively excellent: I would call him a writer's writer, because the flat evenness of his prose may strike a reader as boring unless they have tried to write ...more
Joe Valdez
My introduction to the fiction of American author Ted Chiang comes with Stories of Your Life and Others, a 2002 collection of eight hard science fiction short stories published over the previous twelve years. My anticipation was to dust off one tale in particular, "Story of Your Life", the source material for a movie titled Arrival starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner that opens in the U.S. two months from the time I'm posting this book report. I dove into the collection due to Chiang's gift for ...more
Eh?Eh!
These are amazing, more than 4 stars, and worth propping open on my steering wheel and glancing down to grab up a thought-ful of words at a time on straighaways and gentle curves.*

As far as I can gather, Ted Chiang is an egghead scientist (technical writer?) who attended a fiction writing workshop and began belting out these incredibly well thought out short stories that have much more science than the typical science fiction. He's won enough awards that he once turned down a Hugo nomination for
...more
Matthew
Stories of Your Life and Others is a very interesting collection of stories. I think you really need to be into the “Sci” part of Sci-fi to truly enjoy them; they are thick with scientific terminology and theorems. For me, that reduced my enjoyment of a few of the stories while others had the perfect balance for me.

My favorites were Tower of Babylon, Hell is the Absence of God, and Liking What You See: A Documentary. One story (The Evolution of Human Science) was only 3 pages and, therefore, too
...more
Blake Crouch
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The greatest living short story writer in my humble opinion.
Michael Finocchiaro
[UPDATED] This collection of short stories was quite insightful. There are seven stories here:

Tower of Babylon was probably my favorite. It is based on the Biblical story but with great twists and insights about human pretentious at higher knowledge and how the universe conspires silently to confound them.
Understand was an interesting one, but for me ended kind of abruptly. The idea of augmented intelligence was addressed famously (and better IMHO) in Keyes' Flowers for Algernon, but still this
...more
Carmen
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
THIS STORY IS THE ORIGIN OF THE 2016 FILM "ARRIVAL"

"God, of course I know that. Do you think I'm an idiot?"

"No, of course not."

What I'll think is that you are clearly, maddeningly not me. It will remind me, again, that you won't be a clone of me; you can be wonderful, a daily delight, but you won't be someone I could have created by myself."


This is a brilliant short story. Basically the plot is (view spoiler)
...more
Kristijan
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dok ne sročim nešto o ovoj kolekciji priča, evo mojih ocena:

Vavilonska kula - 4
Shvati - 4
Deljenje nulom - 3
Priča tvog života - 5
Sedamdeset dva slova - 5
Razvoj ljudske nauke - 3
Pakao je odsustvo Boga - 5
Voleti ono što vidiš: Dokumentarac - 4

Dakle, prosečna ocena za celu zbirku je: 4,125

Ove tri priče koje su dobile peticu su baš baš baš odlične!!!
Trish
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review once I'm home. For now, let's just say that the final story got me into trouble with some people at the train station. *lol*
...
Now that I've had some time to reflect on all the stories I've listened to in this collection, I can honestly say that not one was bad. Sure, three were rather mediocre, but the others were either at least good or even so exceptional that they made up for the mediocre ones without much effort.

There are 8 short stories in this book:
1) Tower of Babylon
2) Understand
...more
Dana Ilie
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
Way to short.
I liked the concept, but it was so short, I like big books....
Montzalee Wittmann
Arrival by Ted Chiang is an ebook I picked up from the library because everyone was talking about the movie and I wanted to watch it but I like to read the books before seeing the movies, I have a thing about that. I didn't know this was a book of short stories. Again, I have a thing about not reading blurbs if I can help it in books I have already. (If I am looking for a book, that is different.) This book is not a novel but a lot of short stories. Each one is drastically different and each ...more
Simeon
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, sci-fi
Story of Your Life

Told from the perspective of a mother remembering her child. Absolutely heartbreaking. And it was only 50 pages.

The mother, a linguist, is recruited by the government to interpret the language of an alien species, and she adopts a new perception of reality.

Easily one of the best short stories ever written.

The Tower of Babylon

A weird and mysterious way to start the short stories collection. Rewriting legend; as always with Chiang, best prefaced with the words: "Imagine if..."




...more
Stephen
6.0 stars. Simply put, this is the single best collection of short fiction (science fiction or otherwise) that I have ever read. While my personal favorite is "Hell is the Absence of God," each and every story has something memorable, something original and something brilliant to offer. If you have not experienced Mr. Chiang's warmly intelligent and scientific yet emotional prose, then do yourself a favor and IMMEDIATELY go and get a copy of this collection. You will be very glad you did. ...more
Rob
May 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No accounting for taste especially your own.
This book has had rave reviews and not from the usual sources. It has won a few well regarded awards. And I hated it.
The overall writing style I found to be flat. The characterisation was awful. Has this author ever met another human and talked to them? It has the same warmth as an IT support manual.
Quite a bit of science fiction is not exactly literary but it more than makes up for it by exploring ideas. This collection of short stories had ideas but
...more
JV (semi-hiatus)
Ted Chiang is a genius! This anthology is total brain candy. Although some of them are quite dense for my taste, it makes you think and re-read the paragraphs so that you can have a thorough grasp of what he's actually trying to say. Although this is tagged as "sci-fi", it lingers more on "hard science" since it discusses scientific theories and other jargons, which is also esoteric, by all means.

"Tower of Babylon" - 5


Tower of Babel by lindbalk

Oh, dear miners and builders! For centuries, you
...more
Sheziss
Yes, I admit I read this because of the movie Arrival.





Different from everything else I've read. In all the senses of the word.

The movie is very faithful to the written story, yet there are a few differences.

For once, in the book it's never told why aliens come, why they are here.

The written story focuses on grammar, on differences and similarities with these beings who came from outer space, on the use of 'will', as the 'will' in future sense, and the 'will' in freewill and fate.

The Book of Ages
...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
I have a very emotional personal connection to this short story collection. It’s intense enough inside my head and unique to my experience, so that even talking about this feels like baring an uncomfortably sensitive part of one’s flesh… It’s like crying in public because you can’t stop, and hoping nobody laughs at you for being soppy when you are, in fact, grieving.

I first read Stories of Your Life and Others in 2014, and I finished it the day before I had surgery. This was a very intense time
...more
Stuart
Stories of Your Life and Others: Sadly I couldn’t connect with these stories
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
This is one of books that receives such universal praise and accolades from readers, critics, and award committees that it represents a real risk for a book reviewer. After all, if you love the book, you’re merely contributing to the overwhelming chorus of praise and not really adding much to the discussion, but at least you are “on the same page” as everyone. The alternative is
...more
Leonard Gaya
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ted Chiang is a very parsimonious, yet many times awarded author. This collection of eight short stories, published in periodicals in the 1990’s, has been republished recently upon the release of the motion picture Arrival (which I have yet to see), adapted from one of these stories.

These tales build up on very simple ideas: What if the Tower of Babel was actually reaching the vault of the sky? What if there existed a drug that bestowed superhuman cognitive abilities? What if mathematics were
...more
Gabrielle
Now THIS is why I read speculative fiction. To have my mind blown by very intelligent stories that do not underestimate the reader and that force my brain to venture somewhere it doesn’t usually go. I love stories that blend themes you do not expect to work well together: when an author has the skill to mix ideas like the nature of language and time, math and theology and human perception, I’m a very happy reader indeed!

This collection by Ted Chiang had been on my radar for a while. I have only
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Ted Chiang is a brilliant storyteller, and this set chronicles his first decade or so of stories, including the first story he ever wrote ("Tower of Babylon," the one that went on to win a bunch of awards.)

What I like about Chiang is that he isn't afraid to include all the science and math that made him want to explore a concept to begin with. I like knowing that the stories come from research and thinking, not just inside his head. Something in me as a reader connects to that.

My favorites:

...more
Chris March
This is an unusual sci-fi story that turned me into a fan of the author. It explores mental transformation, and going meta to the limit. Read it here: https://web.archive.org/web/201008191...

Merged review:

I enjoyed this collection of short stories more than any other I can remember. One story in particular stands out for me, in which the main character describes his mind bending transformation, as he begins to comprehend reality at a level of detail which leaves idiot savants in the dust. It's
...more
Greg
rated it it was amazing
Mar 27, 2007
Katie
Apr 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE EVER
Amazing collection of short stories, not quite all sci-fi, but written with full knowledge of the genre. Amazing.
Matt Napier
rated it really liked it
May 12, 2007
Ali Davis
rated it it was amazing
May 15, 2007
Kris
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any sci-fi fan
Great sci-fi collection...loved every story. Full of brilliant what ifs.
martha
Imaginative, well-written speculative fiction. Lots of cool what-ifs: if the Tower of Babel hadn't been destroyed (which the author describes in a note as Babylonian science fiction), hyperintelligence, a documentary-style story and more. The title story made me cry, and I keep thinking about it a week later.

And I loved that there were notes at the end of the book where the author talked a little about each story -- all short story books should have that.

Also, awesomely, this is a whole scifi
...more
Michael
May 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very brilliant set of short stories based on thought-provoking premises. I felt like my mind was bending every time I read it.
stephanie
rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2007
Cristina
Jun 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
some of the best short stories i have read in a long, long time. touching on science fiction but going beyond in a fresh and amazing way. if anyone wants to borrow this let me know.
Oran Lang
rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2007
Susan
marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2007
Shonna
rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2007
Taliesin
is currently reading it
Aug 04, 2007
Adam
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like ideas
Ted Chiang is really terrific. These novellas (and one very short story) written in mock academic style like Borges (using magazine articles and fake documentary style along with essay like delivery and faux 19th century style), he takes idea like superhuman intelligence, the tower of Babel, alien language that affects the nature of time, Christian theology as a scientific fact,the industrial revolution run by golems, math as arbitrary system, nanotech that prevents you from seeing beauty; and ...more
Kenny
marked it as to-read
Sep 07, 2007
Karlo
Sep 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've continuously heard that Ted Chiang was not to be missed. Having read this book, I can concur that his approach to short fiction is both wonderful and unique. He covers subjects of reality, physics, religion and faith with equal applomb here. A worthwhile read.
Andrew
rated it it was amazing
Sep 24, 2007
Meg
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book of short stories, all of which are excellent and clever and will make you to think. The impact is somewhat lessened though, by reading all the stories one after another -- better to put it down after each and keep coming back to it.Still: Highly Recommended. Even if you don't think you like short stories. Or science fiction!
Graham
marked it as to-read
Oct 08, 2007
Ian
rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2007
Matt
rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2008
Mia
rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2008
Amy
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the finest SF writers I've ever read. This is the book that got me to start reading short stories.
Kgardnertoren
rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2008
Christopher
rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2008
Eric
rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2008
Internationalgentleman
rated it it was amazing
Jan 23, 2008
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Jan 23, 2008
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4,290 followers
Ted Chiang is an American speculative fiction writer. His Chinese name is Chiang Feng-nan. He graduated from Brown University with a Computer Science degree. He currently works as a technical writer in the software industry and resides in Bellevue, near Seattle, Washington. He is a graduate of the noted Clarion Writers Workshop (1989).

Although not a prolific author, having published only eleven
...more
“My message to you is this: pretend that you have free will. It's essential that you behave as if your decisions matter, even though you know they don't. The reality isn't important: what's important is your belief, and believing the lie is the only way to avoid a waking coma. Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has.” 70 likes
“Despite knowing the journey and where it leads, I embrace it and welcome every moment” 50 likes
More quotes…