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Exhalation

Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
4 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In ‘The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate’, a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary ‘Exhalation’, an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people but for all of reality. And in ‘The Lifecycle of Software Objects’, a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over 20 years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two brand-new stories: ‘Omphalos’ and ‘Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom’.

In Exhalation, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth - what is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human? - and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning and compassion.

©2019 Ted Chiang (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

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    3 out of 5 stars
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contains lots of content from previous books

so alas it is not as good value as I'd hoped, but still sufficiently entertaining

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    5 out of 5 stars

Anthology thought experiments perfectly executed

Ted Chiang combines excellent writing with interesting scenarios in a way which engages deeply. If you are not thinking after listening to this book, it's on you.

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  • darren
  • 08-10-19

good but slow

I do realise that Ted's stories can be slow over a novel, but I hoped these may have been less of a plod. several chapters were given to one arc about AI which seemed a real waste of potential, whereas others lost the plot as they meandered along.

this isn't punchy short sci-fi, but worth listening to if you're a fan

1 person found this helpful

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  • Magnus Domellvf
  • 01-19-20

Great SF

This is the best science fiction short story collection I have read in many years. Good narrator.

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  • The Vikid Truth
  • 01-04-20

Just Great

I love sci-fi and these short stories are just wonderful thought provoking bites for the busy person. As I am getting older and a bit busier at work, I don't have the time always to get stuck into a long book. This is where the art of the short story can really come to the rescue. Somehow, Ted Chiang seems to pack a punch well above its weight in word count. Each story is meaningful and will get you thinking on a deeper level while keeping you throughly entertained.

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  • Scallywag
  • 10-03-19

Entrancing

I've read some negative reviews of this collection, but I loved it. Each story is carefully developed, beautifully written and completely absorbing. “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” is one of the best things I've read in ages. I even loved the parrot story, which people say is the weakest in the book. From the first, beautifully crafted Arabian Nights-style tale about time, and redemption, I was engaged. Every page of this collection is suffused with optimism. It's clever, kind, thoughtful and thought provoking and I highly recommend it. Yes, even the parrots.

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  • Tom D
  • 08-26-19

some good stories

I enjoyed all the stories but some were much better than others. some 5*, some I'd rate 2* if they were stand alone. As a collection overall though, it's okay.

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  • Keith
  • 08-19-19

Thought provoking and well delivered.

I really enjoyed this especially with the author's notes at the end of each story. Such a clever author and a master at work.

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  • Zhuo Jia Dai
  • 12-04-19

Only the first story is really good. The rest, meh

The first story about the Merchant was pretty good. Then the stories explored intriguing themes but were not as interesting to listen to

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  • pootlebaby
  • 11-22-19

Wonderous

A series of extraordinary short stories, that are intelligent and glistening with questions and ideas.
Highly recommended.

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  • michael strong
  • 10-14-19

Outstanding!

Fantastic performance added an extra dimension to a collection of extraordinary tales. Highly, highly recommended.

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  • Tiffany
  • 08-16-19

Enjoyed the book but hated the female narrator

The stories and author's notes were interesting but the female narrator was terrible. She was robotic and lacked nuance. Other narrators were good.