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Stories of Your Life and Others

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  77,002 ratings  ·  8,951 reviews
Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov's SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer
ebook, 281 pages
Published October 26th 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, D…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)
Rachita Sharma
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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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 t
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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 th
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!
Blake Crouch
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The greatest living short story writer in my humble opinion.
Kevin Kuhn
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ted Chiang asks brilliant questions, of this there is no doubt.

What if someone developed an undeniable proof that demonstrated that mathematics is unreliable? That everything we thought about geometry and physics was built on an inconsistent structure? What would that do to a brilliant, mathematical mind?

What if science developed the ability to create ‘beauty blindness’? What if society were given the ability to turn on and off the ability to perceive physical attractiveness in others?

What if t
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
"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
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 i
3.5 stars

I don’t often read science fiction, and when I do, those I’ve chosen in the past are more appropriately labeled as speculative fiction. Stories that take place right here on our planet, sans aliens. Or, if they do happen to occur in other worlds, what is being examined is not so much the ‘aliens’ themselves, but the nature of our own humanity in comparison to these other beings. These are the best kinds of stories, and I’ve found some of my very favorites in this genre. Having once read
This is a story of love, and the devastating consequences of realising one’s love object is not as perfect as one thought.

The opening paragraph reads like a maths textbook and the second is set in a psychiatric hospital. Don’t let either put you off.

I married a man with a maths degree, and our child is now at university studying theoretical physics that is practically maths, but I am primarily a words person. This gave me a wonderful peek at the joy that can be found in numbers and patterns -
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Moved to ...more
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
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 t
May 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

I had hazy memories of reading the title story of this collection, “Story of Your Life,” when it won the Nebula and was nominated for the Hugo in 1999, and have been wanting to reread it for ages. I finally got my hands on it again as part of this collection, and reread “Story of Your Life” first. It didn’t disappoint… in fact, I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Chiang combines linguistics, psychology, and sociology with alien first contact an
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
Leonard Gaya
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ted Chiang is a frugal, yet many times awarded author. This collection of eight short stories, published in periodicals in the 1990s, has been republished upon the release of the motion picture Arrival (2016), adapted from one of these stories.

These tales are built upon straightforward, almost minimalist ideas. What if the Tower of Babel was reaching the vault of the sky? What if there existed a drug that bestowed superhuman cognitive abilities? What if mathematics were proven inconsistent? What
Manuel Antão
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone

"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)
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. HIGHES ...more
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 mak ...more
Dana Ilie
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
Way to short.
I liked the concept, but it was so short, I like big books....
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, literature
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..."

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
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 m
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, y
Timothy Urges
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Ted Chiang is like God explaining the physics of reality.
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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 sh

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