January 20th, 2020

politics

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buzz

Exhalation, by Ted Chiang

Second paragraph of third story ("What's Expected of Us"):
By now you've probably seen a Predictor; millions of them have been sold by the time you're reading this. For those who haven't seen one, it's a small device, like a remote for opening your car door. Its only features are a button and a big green LED. The light flashes if you press the button. Specifically, the light flashes one second before you press the button.
Ted Chiang has published very few short stories, but they are all good and most of them have won awards. This is a collection of his more recent work. Some of these I remembered very vividly indeed - "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate", "The Lifecycle of Software Objects" and "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling". I had completely forgotten the title story, but I loved it when it was a Hugo finalist and I loved it again this time. There are two brand new stories here as well, "Omphalos" in which Young Earth cosmology is true, and "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom" which opens communications with parallel Many-Worlds universes. All tremendously good stuff, getting my 2020 reading off to a good start. You can get it here.