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2019 Book Spotlight: Ted Chiang’s Exhalation Makes Us Hold Our Breath (In a Good Way)

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  • Tip Bones

We all have that one friend, the one who you sit down for coffee with, and suddenly, you’re talking about the possibilities of life after death and the material, appreciable consequences of time travel. Scientific theory rolls off their tongue in a way that makes your coffee go cold and your heart increase pace.


That’s what Ted Chiang does in his short story collection Exhalation (Knopf, 2019). Each of the nine stories puts forth a philosophical question that elevates an overall conversation in the collection that fully 360s to astound the reader.


The collection is credible as it is incredible, fleshing out science fiction concepts similar to (but different from) Black Mirror. Watch the episode “The Entire History of You” and then read “The Truth of the Fact, the Truth of Feeling,” and get back to us.


From vignettes to entire safaris of science fiction, the stories are highly original and profound, exploring the links between the future of technology and humanity, delving into alternative worlds, free will and what it means to have faith.

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