Stories of Your Life and Others (Paperback)
"Your father is about to ask me the question. This is the most important moment of our lives, and I want to pay attention, note every detail. Your dad and I have just come back from an evening out, dinner and a show; it's after midnight. We came out onto the patio to look at the full moon; then I told your dad I wanted to dance, so he humors me and now we're slow-dancing, a pair of thirtysomethings swaying back and forth in the moonlight like kids. I don't feel the night chill at all. And then your dad says, 'Do you want to make a baby?' "
So begins Story of Your Life, the absolutely mind-bending fourth story of eight within Ted Chiang's collection. I read this at the recommendation of a friend, and I've been struggling for months now to put into words just how profound a piece of writing this is. I can't recommend it enough. Honestly, if you're in the mood to have your notions of time and language reconceptualized entirely, keep this title in mind.
Note: pairs well with a sunny afternoon and a cup of your favorite tea.— From Ben
This is an imaginative and delightful collection of short stories from one of my favorite science fiction writers. The title story "Story of Your Life" inspired the gorgeous 2016 film Arrival. This story—and the film—helped shape my understanding of time (and history) not as a straight line beginning at Point A and ending at Point B, but as a jumbled circle where everything is happening at once.
What really stands out to me, thought, is the first story in this collection "Tower of Babylon". You'd expect science fiction to be focused on the future, but this story takes place in Biblical Babylon and follows a miner as he ascends the tower—past moon, sun, and stars—to mine the granite slab that separates Heaven and Earth. I don't want to give too much away, but Chiang provides and incredibly interesting idea about space—just as with time, what if there is no Point A or B?
-Brittni— From Brittni
Stories of Your Life and Others delivers dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar, often presenting characters who must confront sudden change—the inevitable rise of automatons or the appearance of aliens—with some sense of normalcy. With sharp intelligence and humor, Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by beauty and wonder. An award-winning collection from one of today's most lauded writers, Stories of Your Life and Others is a contemporary classic.
Includes “Story of Your Life”—the basis for the major motion picture Arrival
“Chiang writes with a gruff and ready heart that brings to mind George Saunders and Steven Millhauser, but he’s uncompromisingly cerebral.”—The New Yorker
“Blend[s] absorbing storytelling with meditations on the universe, being, time and space. . . . raises questions about the nature of reality and what it is to be human.”—The New York Times
“Shines with a brutal, minimalist elegance. Every sentence is the perfect incision in the dissection of the idea at hand.”—The Guardian
“Meticulously pieced together, utterly thought through, Chiang’s stories emerge slowly . . . but with the perfection of slow-growing crystal.”—Lev Grossman, Best of the Decade: Science Fiction and Fantasy, Techland
"Ted Chiang is one of the best and smartest writers working today. If you don't know his name, let's fix that. Now."—Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
"Ted Chiang astonishes. You must read him."—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“United by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang’s calm passion.”—China Mieville, The Guardian
“Ted is a national treasure . . . each of those stories is a goddamned jewel.”—Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
“Confirms that blending science and fine art at this length can produce touching works, tales as intimate as our own blood cells, with the structural strength of just-discovered industrial alloys.”—Seattle Times
“Chiang derides lazy thinking, weasels it out of its hiding place, and leaves it cowering.”—Washington Post
“Essential. You won’t know SF if you don’t read Ted Chiang.”—Greg Bear
“Chiang writes seldom, but his almost unfathomably wonderful stories tick away with the precision of a Swiss watch—and explode in your awareness with shocking, devastating force.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred Review)
“The first must-read SF book of the year.”—Publishers Weekly (starred Review)
“He puts the science back in science fiction—brilliantly.”—Booklist (starred Review)