Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Published by Tor Books on July 5th, 2002
Genres: Science Fiction, Short Stories
“Despite knowing the journey and where it leads, I embrace it and welcome every moment.”
Another book finished for #AsianReadathon!
This short story collection satisfied challenge #4 for the readathon, which was to read a book recommended by an Asian person. But I’d first heard about this book from the internet. I’d just gotten home from watching Arrival in theaters and I was doing my usual “I must know everything about this movie because I LOVED IT” routine.
In Stories of Your Life and Others, Chiang’s extraordinary (in all senses of the word!), mind-bending, and original sci-fi stories are collected. Chiang revisits old myths, explores beliefs of religion and the fundamentals of math, and what happens when an alien language forever changes our perception of time.
I’m a novice when it comes to science fiction. I do enjoy reading it, but I find the genre to be very intimidating. But after reading Chiang’s collection of stories, I’m motivated to explore the genre some more!
Whenever I review short story collections, I always come to the same conclusion: Liked some stories, didn’t like some stories.
And until now that’s been true. But this time I actually thoroughly enjoyed all the stories.
Did some jump out at me more than others? Yes! But I didn’t end up hating any of the stories. But what really surprised me after I finished the collection was that I felt like every story held its own. The story didn’t end abruptly, I understood these characters and their motivations, and nothing was left unexplored.
My problem with science fiction is that sometimes the story gets caught up in the “science” part. It’s a lot of showing and explaining why this book belongs in the science fiction genre. Character development often gets lost in that.
I think what made me love this short story collection was the fact that you can’t ignore these characters.
You easily become invested in their lives through the course of only a few pages.
The two stories that illustrate this the most are: “Story of Your Life” (the one Arrival is based on) and “Liking What You See: A Documentary.”
I think what Chiang does best is illustrated in these two stories. He talks about very human experiences in a surreal world.
It’s not a coincidence that these two stories were my favourite out of the bunch! I highly recommend that you read these two stories out of the collection because I know you won’t be able to stop thinking about them after!