Michelle Morrell's Reviews > Arrival

Arrival by Ted Chiang
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it was amazing
bookshelves: hugo-award-nominee, i-own, x-read-2017, short-stories

This was originally printed as "Story of Your Life and Other Stories," this copy was the movie tie-in for "Arrival" though.

A collection of gorgeous, smart, and quiet stories. It came into my awareness because of the movie, so I'll start there. The adaptation to film was very well done, it really captured the tone of the story, of the whole collection. Thoughtful, intelligent, musing. The kind of stories where you put the book down and just think.

"Story of Your Life" has to do with an alien first contact. What stuck most with me was the shape of our thoughts. People who are raised with verbal language tend to think in words, "phonologically coded thoughts," that usually flow in a linear pattern, mimicking our sentence structure. But what about people raised without sound or words? How about an alien race that thinks and speaks circularly, outside of linear time?

A number of the stories dealt with theology, the science behind it, what ifs, crazy extrapolation etc. I was surprised at how well they meshed, religion and science are more often at odds than happy partners.

And bonus points for the appearance of one of my favorite words, "parthenogenesis." (As heard in the Shriekback song, "Nemesis.")

Well worth the read!
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 22, 2017 – Finished Reading
January 23, 2017 – Shelved
January 23, 2017 – Shelved as: hugo-award-nominee
January 23, 2017 – Shelved as: i-own
January 23, 2017 – Shelved as: x-read-2017
January 23, 2017 – Shelved as: short-stories

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Rebbie (new)

Rebbie This sounds fantastic! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I guess it doesn't matter if I do one or the other first. Thanks for the great review!


Michelle Morrell Hi Rebbie, there are benefits to either way, but they're both worth checking out (imo!). Thanks back at you :)


message 3: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Valdez Marvelous review, Michelle. What I like about this collection is that a doctorate in mechanical engineering can enjoy these stories as well as a teenager who just wants to read a short story about aliens. There's just a higher appreciation for Chiang's intelligence the higher your own education, I think.


Michelle Morrell That's a great insight, Joe, I can totally see that.


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