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Stories of Your Life and Others (2002)

by Ted Chiang

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,7281862,558 (4.24)149
Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award for 1990. Now, collected for the first time, are all seven of this extraordinary writer's extraordinary stories--plus a new story written especially for this volume.
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» See also 149 mentions

English (177)  French (4)  Hungarian (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (185)
Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
Tem alguns ótimos contos, outros nem tanto, mas a média é muito boa, principalmente se considerarmos que muitas dessas ideias foram escritas nos anos 1990. Eu daria 3,7 estrelas, mas pelo sistema, arredondei pra 4. ( )
  tarsischwald | Oct 23, 2021 |
I use short story collections as palette cleansers and time-fillers that I read with my eyeballs (as opposed to novels that I usually consume as audiobooks). As such, it often takes me a lot longer to finish a collection, and by the time I've finished, I can't remember the earlier stories. Therefore, my rating and impression is based only on the last couple of stories. This time, I decided to write up each story as I finished it.

"Tower of Babylon" - **** - Strangely fascinating story mostly involving ancient technology.
"Understand" - **** - Started off as a combination of Flowers for Algernon and Lawnmower Man, but went in a different, thoughtful direction.
"Division by Zero" - ** - Thankfully a rather short story, as I really didn't FEEL this one like I'd felt the previous stories.
"Story Of Your Life" - **** - Another story with seemingly unrelated threads entertwined around each other. The first : the story of a linguist brought in to help communicate with aliens. Much discussion about linguistic concepts and some physics, too. The second was a story told in an odd past/future tense. Interesting how they were finally connected. And sad. As a father of a young adult, it really touched me. Funny thing - I'd noticed the similarity to the trailer for Arrival (which I still haven't seen yet); I didn't realize until I'd finished that it really WAS the basis for the movie. Makes me want to see the movie even more now.
"Seventy Two Letters" - **** - Huh... So golempunk is a thing? And it's pretty interesting. Ok, sounds good
"The Evolution Of Human Science" - ** - Tiny little opinion piece from a future scientific journal. Meh.
"Hell is the absence of God" - **** - A world where God's presence (via angelic visitations) is a regular occurrence, having massive effects both positive and negative to people caught nearby. Cancers given and cured, deformities, car accidents. It's all part of life. Also, periodic glimpses into hell, which is a bit different than most people's concept. Interesting and thoughtful. I'll stick with my atheism.
"Liking What You See: A Documentary" - **** - Another deep, thoughtful, terrifying piece. Gave off a distinct Black Mirror vibe. Wait... (checks Black Mirror story list) ... looks like I'm not the only one who picked up the Black Mirror-ness of this story.

So overall... 6 **** and 2 ** ... average: 3.5, which I'll round up to 4
( )
  KrakenTamer | Oct 23, 2021 |
This was really good. I've been reading more short stories lately and this is a really good collection.

Like with any short story collection, there are some stories I find more than others. My top three stories were 1. Liking What You See: a Documentary, 2. Story of Your Life, and 3. Hell is the Absence of God. These stories are all in the later half of the book, which I definitely enjoyed more than the first half. The earlier stories were fine but weren't really about topics that interested me particularly and seemed a bit more technical in ways I didn't completely follow.

To rate each story individually...
Tower of Babylon - this was interesting but not a topic I know a lot about because I didn't grow up religious and not something that really intrigues me either. 3.5/5
Understand - This is a story about what it would be like to unlock more of your brains potential and you could understand how you mind works. This was good but did remind me of that bad Scarlett Johansson movie about a similar idea from a few years ago. 3.5/5
Division by Zero - Even now, I really don't remember much about this story. I think this one lost me a bit but the later half of the story was interesting. 3/5
Story of Your Life - the titular story and the inspiration of the movie Arrival and it loved up to all that. I really enjoyed this and was the first story of this collection that really drew me in and had me thinking after I finished reading. 5/5
Seventy-Two Letters - The first part of this story was very technical and a bit confusing and it moved in a direction that was expected for me but the second half of the story became very interesting for me. 4/5
The Evolution of Human Science - This is super short so I don't have much to say and no rating but definitely a curious glimpse of a possible future.
Hell is the Absence of God- unlike the other story about religion, this story was very interesting to me. I think this was because this is about the ramifications of God if we take the Bible as reality and contains really interesting content about the way people interact with each other about religion. 4.5/5
Liking What You See: A Documentary - This was such an amazing story exploring a really interesting idea. I felt myself trying to figure out where I stood on this issue being discussed. This was the one that had my mind spinning the most in a way that I really enjoyed. I'm glad this was the story to close the collection. 5/5

I'll definitely try to pick up Chiang's other collection. The writing was consistently very good and I really enjoyed most of these stories.
( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
Some really good and thought-provoking stories in here, and (as always in a short story collection), some duds - namely, "Tower of Babylon" and "The Evolution of Human Science." But the genius and pathos of the good stories more than makes up for it. In particular, "Hell is the Absence of God" delivers a gut-punch of a story and really makes you consider, without being overtly religious.

Overall, a very good collection and a quick read. ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
I am completely blown away by Chiang's genius. The stories were brilliant, making me look at the world in various ways. He crafts worlds with precision, building on the foundation of science and fantasy to create fantastical realities that are infused with enough charm and cynicism so as to feel both real and unreal.

Yes, that sounds strange, but that's exactly how I felt about his stories.

Of course, Story of Your Life is one of the best I've read. However, I loved Understand to bits, and Hell is the Absence of God is another masterpiece. All of the stories are amazing, to say the least.

The only problem I have is with the dry writing style. It comes off as very technical and academic from time to time. However, given the content, I feel it merits the style, though I wish it had a bit more pizazz to it and didn't read like an academic essay. ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chiang, Tedprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Craden, AbbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manchess, GregoryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLaren, ToddNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wong, JoanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Brian Chiang and Jenna Felice
In memory of
Brian Chiang
and
Jenna Felice.
First words
Were the tower to be laid down across the plain of Shinar, it would be two days' journey to walk from one end to the other.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The movie Arrival is based on the novella Story of your Life, not this anthology.
This collection contains eight (8) stories. Please do not combine with a similar collection that has a different set of stories.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award for 1990. Now, collected for the first time, are all seven of this extraordinary writer's extraordinary stories--plus a new story written especially for this volume.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Collects these stories
"Tower of Babylon"
"Understand"
"Division by Zero"
"Story of Your Life"
"Seventy-Two Letters"
"The Evolution of Human Science"
"Hell Is the Absence of God"
"Liking What You See: A Documentary"
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Average: (4.24)
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3.5 42
4 334
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Small Beer Press

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Tantor Media

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