Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stories of MY Life

I'm two stories into Ted Chiang's collection Stories of Your Life and Others. If the quality of the first two stories holds up...this will be absolutely essential SF reading. "Tower of Babylon" and "Understand" are superb. "Tower of Babylon" imagines what could happen if a second tower had been built thousands of years after the first (yet in the same technological setting) and this time they might actually make it to heaven and bridge the gap between God and Human. People live on the tower, never having set foot on land, generation after generation builds the tower and it takes days and months to reach near the top. The story does not go where you think it will, but the journey is impressive. "Understand" takes human intelligence and increases it in one man again and again and the narration follows this ever increasing intelligence to the inevitable end.

I wouldn't even write about this until I finished the collection, but it's too good not to bring it up now! Two stories out of Eight. Chiang is a Master.


Amy Sisson said...

Oh my goodness, and you haven't even gotten to the two best stories in the book (IMHO!): "Story of Your Life" and "Hell is the Absence of God". I wish I could read them again for the first time!

Todd said...

I saw this at the store the other day but as I haven't ever read any of his work I thought I'd try to read some reviews first. I've heard some good things about Mr. Chiang but have no clue as to his style or whatnot.