This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In ‘The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate’, a portal through time forces a fabric-seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary ‘Exhalation’, an alien scientist makes a shoc...more
This time I felt like a lot of these were possible futures linked to technology that reminded me a bit of "Black Mirror", maybe less dark though.
Would recommend. ...more
President Obama’s summer 2019 reads.
It’s an incredible - yet credible - collection of highly original, profound stories of the personal and societal implications of future tech. From a 3-page snippet to a 100-page novella, they explore humanity’s relationship with technology and hence ourselves: science, literacy, parallel and alternative worlds, faith, and ...more
The cost of awareness is the knowledge of inevitability. This is the inherent irony of the universe. It doesn’t matter what we know, our fate has already been fixed. The idea of predestination is simultaneously an intellectual triumph and a spiritual dead-end - mind realising its own impotence.
This self-consciousness is the dominant theme throughout Chiang’s stories. In a tale that could be from the Arabian Nights, the protagonist discovers that “Coincide ...more
This is the second time I read his brilliant second collection, Exhalation, this time on the quest to read (or reread) this year’s Hugo and Nebula nominees (Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom, nominated for both, and Omphalos nom ...more
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate - 1001 Nights meets fixed-timeline time-travel. Easily one of my favorites.
Exhalation - A rather interesting logical-breakdown of universal principles from the PoV of a robot race.
The Lifecycle of Software Objects - Novella, and easily the most wrenching, exploratory of the lot. Touch ...more
Nothing Erases the Past: "Exhalation: Stories" by Ted Chiang
“Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.”
In “The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate” by Ted Chiang
I could write a review for each one of the stories in this collection, but my favourite is the “The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate”.
If I had a Time Machine, I would save my time machine journey ...more
We spoke for more than an hour, and my fascination and respect bloomed like a flower warmed by the dawn, until he mentioned his experiments in alchemy. (c)
We don’t normally think of it as such, but writing is a technology, which means that a literate person is someone whose thought processes are technologically mediated. We became cognitive cyborgs as soon as we became fluent readers, and the consequences of that were profound.
Before a culture adopts the use of writing, when its knowledge is ...more
This collection has 9 stories, from which only 3 were new for me. Here they are:
Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny – what would be like if our children would be raised by robotic nannies. A bit unnerving…
Omphalos – how will your perception of Earth history will change if you’ll learn that the Earth does not have 8912 years and humanity is not ...more
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate
What's expected of us
The Lifecycle of Software Objects
Dacey's Patent Automatic Nanny
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling
The Great Silence
Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom
'Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom' was definitely my favourite. It imagines a world not much different from our own, except for the ubiquity of 'prisms'. These are devices which allow a person to communicate with their parallel self (or paraself) in an alternate dimension (or branch), which is seemingly created by the activation of the prism itself. There's a lot going on, from a prism store ...more
This was so enjoyable! Chiang took some inspiration from Arabic fairy tales and gave a time travel spin on it. I liked how the story discussed the consequences of changing the past and even if you can’t change it, how one can learn and grow from the experience.
Exhalation - 3.5 stars
A good story about uncovering life’s mysteries with references to climate change. I kind of struggled with this for some reason.
What’s Expected of Us - 4 stars
A short yet ...more
In my review of Chiang's first collection, I noted his creativity often takes centre stage in his stories, but I've come to appreciate the depth with which he investigates his premises. Tak ...more
Just as with "Stories of Your Life and Others", there are a couple of less than stellar stories here, but they don't diminish the quality of this col ...more
From the short story "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" in EXHALATION: Stories by Ted Chiang.
Much like Chiang's first collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, these stories had a profound effect on me. Chiang's creativity and philosophical science fiction hit all the right buttons for me.
Common themes of these storie ...more
He's careful with his logic but what I appreciate is the his exploration of the human impact. A miniature device with a negative time delay that can send a signal back a second in time creates a catastrophic existential to ...more
Being the modern Cla ...more
I really liked: The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, Exhalation, What's Expected of Us, The Great Silence. These were all so good. It's hard to say which would be my favorite out of these. Maybe Exhalation.
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling was ok and I cared nothing for the other stories. The last story was the only one that tripped me up a little on the id ...more
ted chiang takes a lot of classic SF concepts and gives them a fresh, new spin. you’ll find tales about time travel, android lifeforms, environmental issues, and parallel worlds. interwoven with genuine concerns about how technology changes our perception of life continuously, this collection also poses questions about faith, religion, and personal identity.
i loved how chiang never really hands a conclusion to the reader. there is not The On ...more
Exhalation is a collections of short stories, "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," "Exhalation", "What's expected of us", "The Lifecycle of Software Objects", "Dacey's Patent Automatic Nanny", "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling", "The Great Silence","Omphalos" and "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom". Some of these stories have been published before, but this was my first exp ...more
The Lifecycle of Software Objects as many people have noted is an absolute star. I am unsure if this was merely because of those baby robot pandas, awwww look at them rolling down hills, learning to dance !. However, I also know I would be one of those owners whose digient would be suspended after the novelty wears off.
The story of Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny , was so believable in its execution that I had to go and check that one of these didn't exist somewhere i ...more
Also "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," "The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling," and "Omphalos."
Oh, all of them. ...more
THE GREAT: "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," "Exhalation," "Omphalos," and "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom"
Starting this collection with "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" and then seguing right into "E ...more
Although not a prolific author, having published only eleven sh ...more