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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  9,465 ratings  ·  1,470 reviews
An alternate cover edition for this book can be found here.
The universe began as an enormous breath being held.

From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others—the basis for the Academy Award–nominated film Arrival—comes a ground-breaking new collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories. These are the tales that tackle some of humanity's oldes/>The
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Knopf
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Tanya There are two previously unpublished stories in this new collection, "Omphalos" and "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom". The other seven have been…moreThere are two previously unpublished stories in this new collection, "Omphalos" and "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom". The other seven have been published in magazines/journals/anthologies/online before, obviously not in the first collection.(less)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  9,465 ratings  ·  1,470 reviews

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Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
If you're looking for incredibly original sci-fi short stories, look no further!

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.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cecily by: Gabrielle
“A collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.”
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 free will.

You can’t fault the w
Manuel Antão
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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 Alchem
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2019-shelf
All said, Chiang's new collection rocks. :) I've read a good number of these in other places, but it doesn't diminish my enjoyment. I'm referencing the stories I liked the most.

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 wren
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
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 writin
Kayla Dawn
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Overall a very good and interesting short story collection. Definitely worth checking out.

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
Jessica Woodbury
There's a lot to love about Ted Chiang's short stories and that's all here to love in this collection. He creates amazing worlds, sometimes close to the ones we know and sometimes drastically different. Once he's transported the reader into that world he isn't content to just let you look around and enjoy the novelty, he's going to dive into the deepest moral and philosophical questions that world presents. And, in a collection of Chiang stories, you get to move from world to world, question to ...more
(3.5) An excellent, varied collection, one that made me think I should read more short science fiction.

'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 manag/>'Anxiety
He really is the High Master of sci-fi short stories ;)

Three/five minutes reading, here it is:

Merged review:

Ted Chiang is a master of short fiction, no doubt about it. He may not be the most empathic writer, but his ideas and topics are absolutely brilliant.

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/>
I just love Ted Chiang. I read his earlier collection of short stories a few months ago ( and all the praise I heaped on him then are still true with "Exhalation". His style is completely unique, and while he sometimes plays with old ideas, he has a way of making them fresh, bright and very thought-provoking.

Just as with "Stories of Your Life and Others", there are a couple of less than stellar stories here, b
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
A must for any Ted Chiang's fan. Only two new stories, but really strong ones, and, of course, it's always a pleasure to reread Chiang's "old" stories.
☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
"Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity."

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"
David Yoon
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you talk about a short story collection? Some work, others don't but what's clear throughout is the thoughtful effort Chiang puts to these stories. He explores notions of time travel, free will, entropy, alternate realities and wrestling with notions of being and memory.

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 ex
"People are made of stories. Our memories are not the impartial accumulation of every second we’ve lived; they’re the narrative that we assembled out of selected moments."
▫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. ...more
This collection is just as good as Stories of Your Life and Others, with "Exhalation," "The Lifecycle of Software Objects," and "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom" as particular standouts.

Also "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," "The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling," and "Omphalos."

Oh, all of them.
Tom LA
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars are nothing. I’ve read everything that Ted Chiang has published in the last 15 years (not difficult to do because he’s really not very prolific) and I consider him to be the modern-day Arthur C. Clarke. I don’t know if I could imagine a better compliment for a science fiction writer, at least coming from me. And I know Chiang loves Clarke, too.

Being the modern Clarke means that : 1) he is a genius; 2) he has a deep technical and scientific rigor, a mind that loves to wrap itself around
Matthew Quann
Exhalation highlights some of my favourite aspects of Ted Chiang's writing, but also brings out some of the content I was less keen on with Stories of Your Life and Others . I read this one over a few months--my short story game has been weak this year!--but took down the last three stories over a few days.

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, for
This collection of nine science fiction stories was inventive and interesting on an intellectual level, but only two of them touched me emotionally. Personally, I want to feel something when I read a book and not just engage my mind. I want my heart to beat faster or have it hurt in sympathy with the characters as my mind works to sort out where the author is leading me. This did not happen here for the most part as these stories pondered free will, fate, what shapes people to be who they are an ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I think that all in all I had a mixed reaction to this newest collection of short stories by Chiang. Some were pitch perfect. Others went on too long and just had a garbled message in my opinion. I still love how he talks about things such as fate, faith, love, and even touches upon how technological advancements does not always equal making things better for human beings or other species. Per usual, here are my individual ratings for the short stories.

"The Merchant and the Alchemist/>"The
More like 3 and a half stars. I remember loving his first collection but perhaps my memory has gilded over the rough edges - the clumsy dialogue and clumsy characterization and clumsy moralizing, which are all in evidence here. The grasps toward poignancy end up cold and aloof, a common problem with “hard” science fiction. Clumsy is the best description which is a shame. Still, worth reading.

EDIT: my initial thoughts expanded:

I read Ted Chiang's first collection of storie
Richard Derus
Not going to bother with a tale-by-tale because I wasn't interested more than 3 stars'-worth in any of them. I must be at fault. I don't care for or about the stories or the collection.
I'm done. I'm finished. I can't read another page. I read all the stories but the last one. I got about halfway through that one.

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 idea side of things.
Marianna Neal
4.5 out of 5 stars

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 sto
Leo Robertson
The title story is very cool, and many others are similarly thought-provoking.

Those stories that run to novelette/novella-length, I had to skip. Though Chiang's extensive research and imagination are evident, I wasn't that invested in the concepts he came up with. It was like, "Sure, if that concept existed, that's probably how that would all go down. Thank you for this comprehensive document, Mr Chiang."

Russell Brand told a story in one of his stand-up sets about how he
ashley c
Ted Chiang's second short story collection again is big on grand ideas. His stories feel like they're stripped of all extraneous material that will divert from the key message he is trying to convey, material such as too many supporting characters, or a plot.

I kid. I am seeing a lot of mixed reactions to Chiang's writing style and decision to work around any plot presence, but I think we can all agree that his ideas are fascinating. For a scifi enthusiast used to recycled ideas, Chia
Benji Glaab
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sumptuous foray with many mind bending concepts.

Like with most good sci-fi the writing needs to be smart, but also remain accessible to the masses. Chiang walks that line well by using the everyday person as the main pov excepting where he will use an AI or a Maccaw in 2 of the stories. Their are no outrageous characters in this collection which allows the reader to think what would you do in the situation giving it a charming appeal, and get yourself asking some questions throughout.
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are few authors whose works I anticipate with bated breath the way I do Ted Chiang’s, and oh, this collection - his second - was entirely worth the wait.

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 th
i've been reading so many great books lately that i think i'm getting kinda spoiled. not gonna complain, tho.

a more comprehensive review will come soon!
The first story is a wonderful take on the concept of time travel. Setting this story in a traditional Arab culture was a fresh approach. After this 5 star opener, however, I found most of Chiang’s Sci-Fi collection to be solid but unspectacular. The only other standout is the second to last story, Omphalos; an excellent look at the relationship between science and religion. Overall, a good collection with two stories that are worth the price of admission alone. High three stars.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again Ted Chiang delivers a nearly flawless collection of short stories.

His intelligent grasp on SF topics, his habit to meticulously think through those ideas and present them in stories that always also show a deep insight into the human soul has me in absolute awe.

His mind-boggling concepts almost always draw me completely into his stories. His fantastic and still so through-and-through logic narrations are the best that short stories has to offer.

I'm not sure I could
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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 on
“Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity,” 14 likes
“The universe began as an enormous breath being held. Who knows why, but whatever the reason, I'm glad it did, because I owe my existence to that fact. All my desires and ruminations are no more and no less than eddy currents generated by the gradual exhalation of our universe. And until this great exhalation is finished, my thoughts live on.” 12 likes
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