{5/5} “The universe began as an enormous breath being held. Who knows why, but whatever the reason, I am glad that 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.”

Exhalation by Ted Chiang, published in 2019

“The Lifecycle of Software Objects” — Ana worked for a company that produced digients, digital animals in a virtual reality, Data Earth. They sell lots of them, but eventually they go out of style and the company goes under. Ana still has her digient, Jax. The inhabitants and worlds in Data Earth have dwindled, and she wants to port the digients to a new environment but she can’t find anyone to pay for it.

It’s about moral questions regarding a new class of creatures.

“The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” — The narrator is researching a new technology that allows people to search their recorded memories. He goes back to the time he was most upset at his daughter, and finds that it was he who said the terrible words that day that he’d always remembered she’s said.

He also tells a story about a time when Europeans were coming into contact with an indigenous people, and how they had different ideas about truth.

It’s about the advantages and disadvantages of a perfect memory, and how what’s true can be different than what’s right.

Chiang fans will be delighted by this long-awaited 2nd collection. If you’re not a fan, you need to drop everything and read one of his books right now — either one will do.

Chiang’s stories are always set in a world different from ours. Characters in his stories are trying to figure out their world, and trying to be better people. You might even use the word “perfection” to describe the stories.

This is the 2nd book I’ve read by Chiang. His previous collection Stories of Your Life and Others is one of my favourite collections ever. I also reviewed the movie Arrival, based on one of his stories.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 at 8:16 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply