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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Review: Stories of Your Life and Others

Stories of Your Life: And Others - Ted Chiang

Count me among the many who'd never heard of Ted Chiang before 2016 and who read Stories of Your Life and Others because of a little movie called Arrival. (Hey, at least I read the story before seeing the movie.) Before I get into my thoughts on the book, I must say, “Well, done moviemakers. You did a fine job adapting what must have been a tough story to adapt.”

Stories of Your Life and Others is such a mixed collection. All the stories in here are very cerebral. At times, it feels more like a science journal than a work of fiction. And this is both the collection's BOOM and its whimper. While the analytical approach brought validity and uniqueness to some of the stories, especially the titular story, it made others feel dry and inaccessible. Though I strongly enjoyed “The Story of Your Life,” I struggled with many of the other stories and was on the verge of giving up. I'm glad I didn't as the second most enjoyable story in this collection was the last, "Liking What You See: A Documentary".

Like all story collections I've ever read, Stories of Your Life and Others is a mixed bag, but when Chiang pulls together a fresh story and the right voice, he writes a killer story. Those looking for more science in their science fiction should be pleased with this author.