Exhalation

Ted Chiang

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23 July 2020
9781529014495
208 pages
Synopsis

'A collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.' Barack Obama

'Chiang at his best, and worth the price of admission on its own.' Guardian

From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others – the basis for the Academy Award nominated film Arrival – comes a groundbreaking second collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories.

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 shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in ‘The Lifecycle of Software Objects’, a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over twenty years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two previously unpublished stories: ‘Omphalos’ and ‘Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom’.

In Exhalation, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth – What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human? – and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning, and compassion.

A collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.

Barack Obama

Beautifully written and conceived, this is a marvellous, astonishing collection that we would do well to read before the worlds it conjures are upon us. Urgently recommended.

Alan Moore

Deeply beautiful . . . This book is as generous as it is marvelous, and I’m left feeling nothing so much as grateful for it.

New York Times