Stories of Your Life and Others

Contemporary science fiction at its best

By William Wetherall

First posted 23 September 2006
Last updated 23 September 2006


Ted Chiang
Stories of your Life and Others
New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2002
2003 paperback edition, 333 pages

I read just enough science fiction to remind me that some of the finest writers are working in this often misunderstood genre. I, too, have been guilty of judging the genre by the often very unscientific fiction that fill the paperback racks at stores today.

Ted Chiang goes back to the roots of the genre to explore a cornucopia of fascinating intellectual and social issues in crisp, elegant prose that approaches pure literature, rich in show and practically free of tell.

To be continued.

There are eight stories in this anthology.

Tower of Babylon
Division by Zero
Story of Your Life
Seventy-Two Letters
The Evolution of Human Science
Hell Is the Absense of God
Liking What You See: A Documentary

In "Story Notes" at the end, Chiang relates what inspired him to write each of the stories -- a fascinating insight into the workings of the mind of a writer who has the touch.