Chiang is not prolific and every time he publishes his stories tend to be one of the best published in a given year. So, you'll want to go read this.
Honestly, though, this is one of the few times I've been disappointed in one of Chiang's stories. There's supposed to be heart in the story, but Chiang left me feeling a bit cold towards the characters and that situation - which is never a good thing for me as a reader. This is why I haven't talked about the story all year. I had no idea what to really say. Elizabeth Bear loved it, though. You can probably find scads of other positive reviews all over the place.
This is a descriptive work of science fiction, rather than a strongly plot-driven one. It’s meditative and thoughtful, and it does not offer tidy closure or resolution: just a series of ever-more-complicated questions.I think this may be one of my issues, that more descriptive works challenge my reader-brain in ways that I just not tend to enjoy so much.
So why point out a story I didn't overly like?
Dude, it's a new Ted Chiang. Even when I don't like it, it's impressive and worth noting. You don't want to miss new Ted Chiang that is offered online for free. Besides, what the hell do I know?