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Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang

Exhalation: Stories (edition 2019)

by Ted Chiang (Author)

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197690,209 (4.45)4
Title:Exhalation: Stories
Authors:Ted Chiang (Author)
Info:Knopf (2019), Edition: 1st Edition, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang



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Chiang writes the most amazing short sf stories. They’re about the nature of consciousness, free will, and moral duty/desert, whether they’re about nonhuman intelligences in the form of parrots, AI, God, or otherwise. My favorite here was The Lifecycle of Software Objects, in which “digients”—intelligent, childlike artificial entities—start out as commercial products, then become obsolete and still beloved by a few, who struggle with how to treat them (as children, pets, corporate entities with their own decisionmaking capability, something else) and how to deal with technical obsolescence. When a chance to port the digients to a more modern environment arrives, but only if the company at issue can make some of the digients into sexual companions, the ethical challenges get even more severe. Can a digient consent to having its reward pathways changed so that it “genuinely wants” to have virtual sex with a human being? If that’s the only way to get the money to give the digients access to the rest of the virtual world, is that ok? How different is that from one of the humans involved, who is considering taking a designer drug that will make her love her employment so that she can get a chance to convince her employer to port the digients without the sexual aspect? Chiang’s characters are serious people trying to do well, but they aren’t perfect, just thoughtful. Another great story imagines being a scientist in a world with clear evidence of recent creation: tree cores that have a uniform radius five thousand years back; mummies with no navels; ancient deer bones with no growth marks because they were created as adults. But what happens to faith when science shows that the Earth isn’t the center of the universe and, crucially, that some other planet is? See also his almost-story op-ed in the NYT, It’s 2059, and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/opinion/ted-chiang-future-genetic-engineering.... ( )
  rivkat | Jul 12, 2019 |
Outstanding. Unfussy prosese explores technological issues of our day and how humans think feel and interact. ( )
  JesseTheK | Jul 12, 2019 |
Another amazing collection of short stories for Chiang. He really has the touch to go to the bottom of an idea or new concept. I had previously read about half the stories on this book, but re-reading them was still quite interesting. Highly recommended. ( )
  Guide2 | Jun 27, 2019 |
Sci-fi short story collections are not always my jam - I tend to engage more with those that fall closer to the fantasy side of the spectrum - but Ted Chiang might be the author to change by mind. The creativity and diversity of subject in this collection made it a delight to read.

Standouts for me include: The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, combining time travel and The Arabian Nights; Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom, in which all selfs are possible, and so is communicating with them; and Omphalos, in which humanity received indisputable evidence of God. In fairness, though, I can't think of a miss in the bunch. Great collection - very highly recommended. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Jun 16, 2019 |
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To Marcia
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The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate
O might caliph and commander of the faithful, I am humbled to be in the splendor of your presence; a man can hope for no greater blessing as long as he lives.
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In these nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories, Ted Chiang tackles some of humanity?s oldest questions along with new quandaries only he could imagine. In (3zsThe Merchant and the Alchemist?s Gate,(3y sa portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and second chances. In (3zsExhalation,(3y san alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications that are literally universal. In (3zsAnxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom,(3y sthe ability to glimpse into alternate universes necessitates a radically new examination of the concepts of choice and free will. Including stories being published for the first time as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, Exhalation is Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic?revelatory.--Amazon.com.… (more)

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