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...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.
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 is the dominant theme throughout Chiang’s stories. In a tale that could be from the Arabian Nights, the protagonist discovers that “Coincidence and intention ...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. ...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
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
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 the ...more
'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
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 ...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. Take, ...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 ...more
Being the modern ...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 ...more
This collection makes me fear for our technological future but gives me hope that our humanity will stay intact. Not bad, for a bunch of short stories that is ;-)
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 ...more
Also "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," "The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling," and "Omphalos."
Oh, all of them.
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 ...more
My personal favorites are:
"The Great Silence"
One of the most emotional ones for me. It made me think of the reason why we spent so many resources for outer space and forget that our world and almost ...more
EDIT: my initial thoughts expanded:
I read Ted Chiang's first collection of stories before this blog, when ...more
"The Merchant and the Alchemist's ...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 ...more
Ted Chiang's "what if" scenarios through which he tells his stories just work for me. I loved his previous collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, and this one did not disappoint. Here, the overarching theme that stood out most to me was growth through acceptance—acceptance of self, of change, of differences, of mistakes, of lack of control. This is not the most comfortable thought for those of us who believe in our power to shape our lives and our reality, and in certain ...more
If you have never heard of Ted Chiang, you may perhaps be more familiar with the movie Arrival, adapted from his short story, The Story of Your Life. Ted Chiang doesn’t write novels, his works are usually novella length at best and each one released roughly two years apart. He is nevertheless most certainly no lightweight in the world of ...more
Although not a prolific author, having published only eleven ...more