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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  51,744 ratings  ·  6,787 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 tackl
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Tanya There are two previously unpublished stories in this new collection, "Omphalos" and "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom". The other seven have been p…moreThere are two previously unpublished stories in this new collection, "Omphalos" and "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom".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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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
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, sci-fi
Self-Consciousness and Its Discontents

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
Ted Chiang is the master of the short form. His execution of short stories and novellas is nearly always flawless, the ideas are great, and his writing style is versatile. This is a writer who has mastered his craft, and his infrequent offerings are well worth the wait.

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
Violet wells
Every story has a mind-boggling idea as its fulcrum. A prism replaces the smart phone as favoured piece of handbag technology which allows the owner to communicate with her paraself in an alternate universe; virtual ai pets are brought into the real world via robotic bodies as their owners seek to discover how fruitful a bond can be created with them; a robot performs an anatomical study on its own brain; in another story we're told we've been hunting aliens in the wrong places - we should be co ...more
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 wrenching, exploratory of the lot. Touch
Michael Finocchiaro
This is a collection of 9 short stories from author Ted Chiang. I was less impressed by this collection than the previous one I read, The Story of Your Life. Several sounded like minor Black Mirror episodes, others were just not that plausible or interesting. I think my favorite was the first one with the time portals. Not sure I am even up to analyzing each story here. There are some interesting ideas, but overall I found this collection wanting and hardly as good as, for example, the magical P ...more
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 Alchemist's Gate”.

If I had a Time Machine, I would save my time machine journey
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡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 writing, when its knowledge is
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 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
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
Loved one of these stories, enjoyed a couple of them, did not resonate at all with the rest. I liked when Ted Chiang wrote stories about innovative concepts – if there were a technology that could allow us to perfectly recall all our memories (“Truth of Fact, Truth of Feeling”), if we could raise AI software as if they were digital pets or almost like our own children (“Life Cycle of Software Objects”) – and merged them with some aspects of human relationships.

I loved the last story in this boo
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. All but the title story, in fact, were 2.5* because they have nothing exciting to say and they say it so very slowly. I must be at fault. I don't care for or about the stories or the collection. ...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
Spencer Orey
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. These hit hard.

Amazing stories that think through technology and humanity.
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
The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate - 4 stars
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
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. Tak
"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.

Common themes of these storie
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, but they don't diminish the quality of this col
4.5 stars - Oh how I enjoyed this. I had planned to space these stories out over a few days but nope. Zoomed right through. There were no duds in this collection, though there were a few that really stood out to me. Mostly, though, what tipped this to a 4.5 over a 4 star for me was "Omphalos." One of my favorite stories ever and I think I will end up having to reread it a few times to fully understand its impact on me ...more
Tom LA
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars are nothing. Do people realize what Ted Chiang has been doing for the last 20 years? Writing the best SF short-stories out there, that's what he's been doing. I’ve read everything that Ted Chiang has published (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 Cla
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 existential to
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
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 id
Marcheto Marcheto
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.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who's ever claimed they were a fan of sci-fi. yes, even you.
Recommended to jade by: someone who said, "if people love ken liu's works they should also read ted chiang", and they were Right
this collection of short sci-fi stories was delightful.

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
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
"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". Some of these stories have been published before, but this was my first exp
Well this was excellent.
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
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.
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
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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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  Every December, as we wrap up our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, we ask our book-loving colleagues a simple yet incredibly tough...
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“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.” 53 likes
“Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity,” 35 likes
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