Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others

Ted Chiang is one of those writers who's so good and whose stories are so well-crafted and compelling that you find trying yourself to prolong and savor the reading experience. As a speculative fiction writer, Chiang is particularly effective at melding accessible and cogent scientific extrapolation with seamless prose. But you don't need to be an SF fan to enjoy Chiang's fiction. Anyone who enjoys good writing and thoughtful stories should find something in Chiang's fiction to satisfy.

All of the stories in Chiang's collection Stories of Your Life and Others are good, and some are great. I especially enjoyed "Hell Is the Absence of God", a fantasy novella about a world where angels and God exist and intervene in the mortal world; "Understand", a fun SF story about heightened intelligence in the tradition of Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon"; "Story of Your Life", a poignant story about a linguist trying to learn an alien language and how her exposure to the language changes her perception of being in time; and "Liking What You See: A Documentary", an insightful examination of appearances and beauty.

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