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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review: Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang

This collection is definitely worth your while. Chiang is a classic-SF idea man like Isaac Asimov (see prominent Greg Bear quote) but filtered through the lens of narrative play like Jorge Luis Borges's.

If I were to get meddlesome, I'd have put my favorite, "Seventy-Two Letters", first. It sucks you in and gives you an immediate idea of the strangeness of his worlds. Sample that one first.

"Division by Zero" should follow, giving the reader clues on how to read Chiang. "Story of your Life" should finish the set, having the best ending. Right now it's ordered by publication dates.

The book has gone through numerous covers. Reportedly, Chiang did not care for the first one although it does seem to capture the spirit of "Understand" (who knows why the horse is there). The 2003 Orb edition is a bit drab--just words. The lettered face seems to capture "Story of your Life".

The British Tor edition must have been closer to what Chiang wanted since it is similar to the image Small Beer Press used (orange/yellow on left), which was supposed to be definitive, but other covers also came out afterwards, so maybe he changed his mind.

To find out about specific stories click the above links.

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