"I imagined what a better person might do, and I did that instead."
May 6, 2019 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Ted Chiang's Exhalation reviewed by Joyce Carol Oates - "'Past and future are the same, and we cannot change either, only know them more fully', our narrator explains. 'My journey to the past had changed nothing, but what I had learned had changed everything. . . . Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.'" (previously: 1,2)
posted by kliuless (15 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
The new collection starts with “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,”

This is a fantastic story and I'm so happy it's been re-released because used copies are $90 on Amazon right now.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:48 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting this. Ted Chiang delights that riddle-loving part of my mind and this is a must-read. Good review too.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 6:53 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]

It’s lovely to see Chiang getting more mainstream attention. Also, holy shit, I better keep my signed+numbered copy of The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate in good condition!
posted by adrianhon at 6:58 AM on May 6

While this is a thoughtful review and sounds like a great collection, "Science Fiction Doesn't Have To Be Dystopian" as a headline is sort of a massive self-own by the New Yorker. It's like running a headline on a review of, eg, The Sky Is Yours or The Sparsholt Affair saying "Narrative fiction doesn't have to tell roughly mimetic stories set in the present about the interiority of straight white professional class suburbanites".
posted by Frowner at 7:04 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]

I stopped reading this post just long enough to go pre-order the book on Amazon. Ted Chiang is the *only* author I'll do that for.
posted by Quindar Beep at 7:17 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]

pre-order the book on Amazon

Pro-tip: The ebook is out tomorrow but Amazon keeps showing me July ship dates for the hardcover. Target, Indiebound, et al., seem to have availability this week.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:28 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]

Thank you. Pre-ordered the book as well!
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:48 AM on May 6

Love this guy, loved the collection, loved Arrival! Thanks for posting!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:26 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]

If you are, uh, a little bit obsessed with Ted Chiang, as I am, and scour the internet regularly for anything he has written, many of the stories may be familiar to you. Only two haven't been released before. But I will gladly take two new stories!
posted by Sibrax at 10:43 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]

NSAID (if I may call you that), I pre-ordered via Amazon.ca, and it was the hardback.

Sibrax, after reading the Oates review I thought there were no new stories, so two is a plus! Zero or two or nine, it must be mine.
posted by Quindar Beep at 12:35 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]

I don't care if I've read all the stories already or not, there's so much careful thoughtful work in this person's writing that I'll buy his book anyway just because it makes me feel good to throw money in his direction.
posted by crotchety old git at 8:08 PM on May 6

“What’s Expected of Us" is a nice story but from this review it's probable Oates hasn't read Greg Egan's “The Hundred Light-Year Diary” because it's like they're in a conversation with each other. SF writers have been playing with something like thiotimoline for a hundred years.
posted by meehawl at 8:53 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]

NSAID and Q (if I may call you guys that), Amazon was linking to the British hardcover for some reason, esp when crossing from then kindle to the hardcover. US hardcover is available too, and on sale now, just have to search for it.
posted by exif at 8:51 PM on May 7

You can call me that because I just got a certain book in the mail this afternoon and I'm busy reading that instead of the internet!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:54 PM on May 7

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