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Stories of Your Life and Others
Cover of Stories of Your Life and Others
Stories of Your Life and Others
Includes "Story of Your Life" the basis for the major motion picture Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, Jeremy Renner, and directed by Denis Villeneuve.
"Shining, haunting, mind-blowing tales . . . Ted Chiang is so exhilarating, so original, so stylish he just leaves you speechless." —Junot Díaz
Stories of Your Life and Others delivers dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar, often presenting characters who must confront sudden change—the inevitable rise of automatons or the appearance of aliens—with some sense of normalcy. With sharp intelligence and humor, Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by beauty and wonder. An award-winning collection from one of today's most lauded writers, Stories of Your Life and Others is a contemporary classic.
Includes "Story of Your Life" the basis for the major motion picture Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, Jeremy Renner, and directed by Denis Villeneuve.
"Shining, haunting, mind-blowing tales . . . Ted Chiang is so exhilarating, so original, so stylish he just leaves you speechless." —Junot Díaz
Stories of Your Life and Others delivers dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar, often presenting characters who must confront sudden change—the inevitable rise of automatons or the appearance of aliens—with some sense of normalcy. With sharp intelligence and humor, Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by beauty and wonder. An award-winning collection from one of today's most lauded writers, Stories of Your Life and Others is a contemporary classic.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book STORY OF YOUR LIFE


    Your father is about to ask me the question. This is the most important moment in our lives, and I want to pay attention, note every detail. Your dad and I have just come back from an evening out, dinner and a show; it's after midnight. We came out onto the patio to look at the full moon; then I told your dad I wanted to dance, so he humors me and now we're slow-dancing, a pair of thirtysomethings swaying back and forth in the moonlight like kids. I don't feel the night chill at all. And then your dad says, "Do you want to make a baby?"

    Right now your dad and I have been married for about two years, living on Ellis Avenue; when we move out you'll still be too young to remember the house, but we'll show you pictures of it, tell you stories about it. I'd love to tell you the story of this evening, the night you're conceived, but the right time to do that would be when you're ready to have children of your own, and we'll never get that chance.

    Telling it to you any earlier wouldn't do any good; for most of your life you won't sit still to hear such a romantic — you'd say sappy — story. I remember the scenario of your origin you'll suggest when you're twelve.

    "The only reason you had me was so you could get a maid you wouldn't have to pay," you'll say bitterly, dragging the vacuum cleaner out of the closet.

    "That's right," I'll say. "Thirteen years ago I knew the carpets would need vacuuming around now, and having a baby seemed to be the cheapest and easiest way to get the job done. Now kindly get on with it."

    "If you weren't my mother, this would be illegal," you'll say, seething as you unwind the power cord and plug it into the wall outlet.

    That will be in the house on Belmont Street. I'll live to see strangers occupy both houses: the one you're conceived in and the one you grow up in. Your dad and I will sell the first a couple years after your arrival. I'll sell the second shortly after your departure. By then Nelson and I will have moved into our farmhouse, and your dad will be living with what's-her-name.

    I know how this story ends; I think about it a lot. I also think a lot about how it began, just a few years ago, when ships appeared in orbit and artifacts appeared in meadows. The government said next to nothing about them, while the tabloids said every possible thing.

    And then I got a phone call, a request for a meeting.

    * * *

    I spotted them waiting in the hallway, outside my office. They made an odd couple; one wore a military uniform and a crewcut, and carried an aluminum briefcase. He seemed to be assessing his surroundings with a critical eye. The other one was easily identifiable as an academic: full beard and mustache, wearing corduroy. He was browsing through the overlapping sheets stapled to a bulletin board nearby.

    "Colonel Weber, I presume?" I shook hands with the soldier. "Louise Banks."

    "Dr. Banks. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us," he said.

    "Not at all; any excuse to avoid the faculty meeting."

    Colonel Weber indicated his companion. "This is Dr. Gary Donnelly, the physicist I mentioned when we spoke on the phone."

    "Call me Gary," he said as we shook hands. "I'm anxious to hear what you have to say."
    We entered my office. I moved a couple of stacks of books off the second guest chair, and we all sat down. "You said you wanted me to listen to a recording. I presume this has something to do with the aliens?"

    "All I can offer is the recording," said Colonel Weber.

    "Okay, let's hear it."

    Colonel Weber took a tape machine out of his briefcase and pressed...
About the Author-
  • Ted Chiang was born in Port Jefferson, New York, and holds a degree in computer science. In 1989 he attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Workshop. His fiction has won four Hugo, four Nebula, and four Locus awards, and he is the recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Stories of Your Life and Others has been translated into ten languages. He lives near Seattle, Washington.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 24, 2002
    Here's the first must-read SF book of the year. Chiang has acquired a massive reputation on the basis of very few pieces of short fiction. This collection contains all six previously published tales, including the Nebula Award–winning "Tower of Babylon," plus a new story, "Liking What You See: A Documentary." It's rare for a writer to become so prominent so fast. In this case, though, the hype is deserved. Chiang has mastered an extremely tricky type of SF story. He begins with a startling bit of oddity, then, as readers figure out what part of the familiar world has been twisted, they realize that it was just a small part of a much larger structure of marvelous, threatening strangeness. Reading a Chiang story means juggling multiple conceptions of what is normal and right. Probably this kind of brain twisting can be done with such intensity only in shorter lengths; if these stories were much longer, readers' heads might explode. Still, the most surprising thing is how much feeling accompanies the intellectual exercises. Whether their initial subject is ancient Babylonians building a tower that reaches the base of Heaven, translation of an alien language that shows a woman a new way to view her life as a mother, or mass-producing golems in an alternative Victorian England, Chiang's stories are audacious, challenging and moving. They resemble the work of a less metaphysical Philip K. Dick or a Borges with more characterization and a grasp of cutting-edge science. (July 12)Forecast:Chiang is poised to prove the exception to the rule that short story collections don't sell as well as novels, backed by blurbs from David Brin, Greg Bear, Ellen Datlow and a host of other big names in the field.

  • Junot Díaz "Shining, haunting, mind-blowing tales . . . this collection is a pure marvel. Chiang is so exhilarating so original so stylish he just leaves you speechless. I always suggest a person read at least 52 books a year for proper mental functioning but if you only have time for one, be at peace: you found it."
  • Lev Grossman, Best of the Decade: Science Fiction and Fantasy, Techland.com "Meticulously pieced together, utterly thought through, Chiang's stories emerge slowly . . . but with the perfection of slow-growing crystal."
  • Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves "Ted Chiang is one of the best and smartest writers working today. If you don't know his name, let's fix that. Now."
  • Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble "Ted Chiang astonishes. You must read him."
  • China Mieville, The Guardian "United by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang's calm passion."
  • Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing "Ted is a national treasure . . . each of those stories is a goddamned jewel."
  • Seattle Times "Confirms that blending science and fine art at this length can produce touching works, tales as intimate as our own blood cells, with the structural strength of just-discovered industrial alloys."
  • Washington Post "Chiang derides lazy thinking, weasels it out of its hiding place, and leaves it cowering."
  • Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) "Chiang writes seldom, but his almost unfathomably wonderful stories tick away with the precision of a Swiss watch--and explode in your awareness with shocking, devastating force."
  • Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "The first must-read SF book of the year."
  • Booklist (Starred Review) "He puts the science back in science fiction--brilliantly."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Ted Chiang
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