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Educated Book cover

By: Ted Chiang

Exhalation

Nich's Emoji

Selected By

Nich P.

Number
Book 13
BookSluts Rating
★3.4/5 Stars
Month Read
April 2021

Summary

This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary Exhalation, an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in The Lifecycle of Software Objects, a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over twenty years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being.

Also included are two brand-new stories: Omphalos and Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom.

In this fantastical and elegant collection, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth—What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?—and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning, and compassion.

Highlights

“Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.”

Ted Chiang, Exhalation

“The universe began as an enormous breath being held. Who knows why, but whatever the reason, I'm glad it did, because I owe my existence to that fact. All my desires and ruminations are no more and no less than eddy currents generated by the gradual exhalation of our universe. And until this great exhalation is finished, my thoughts live on.”

Ted Chiang, Exhalation

“Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity”

Ted Chiang, Exhalation

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