Stories of Your Life and Others

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Stories of Your Life and Others is a wonderful collection of modern science fiction short stories written by Ted Chiang. The collection, originally published in 2002, features many award winning pieces. Amazon.com calls Chiang “one of science fiction’s most thoughtful and graceful writers” and I would agree. His stories all have interesting concepts behind them. Though some are definitely better than others, they are all good, and the fact that they’re short makes even the not so great ones easy to get through.

I’m a science fiction fan, so I’d read pretty much anything in the genre. But more than anything, what I liked about Chiang’s stories is how they all involved linguistics in one way or another. In my line of work, both as a developer at a market research company and a manager of transcription services, I rub shoulders with languages and linguists on a daily basis. I graduated with a specialization in copywriting. And I continue to find the study of language and its structure fascinating. When a friend told me about Ted Chiang, and how his work combines linguistics and science fiction, I immediately ran out to the bookstore to pick up a copy of Stories of Your Life and Others.

One of Chiang’s short stories from this collection, “Story of Your Life”, is the basis for a recently released movie called Arrival. The movie was well received. I’m hoping that encourages Ted Chiang to write even more (he currently works as a¬†technical writer¬†in the software industry, writing short stories on the side).

If you saw the movie and enjoyed it, I recommend you check out Chiang’s other stories. Or, if you’ve never heard of Chiang’s work, but you find linguistics and science fiction interesting, give Stories of Your Life and Others a try.

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