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Book Review: Stories of Your Life and Others


Mahjabin Meem


Stop everything you’re doing and start reading this book.

I watched Arrival a couple of years ago and it instantly became one of my favourite movies of all time. So, when I learnt that it was adapted from a short story, I immediately knew I had to read the original story. The movie was adapted from the title story of this short story collection, Stories of Your Life and it is undoubtedly a masterpiece. This whole collection is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Ted Chiang is a master of his craft.

It is so freaking brilliant, what he does in these stories. It is the perception and acceptance of the bizarre, in a seemingly mundane life by mundane characters. Each story has a concept—so unique and fresh, and the execution does it justice. Each story is so different in itself; it feels they are all written by different authors. I cannot express in words how in love I am with Ted Chiang’s writing and ideas. I have never read anything like it and I doubt I will, ever again, unless it’s by Ted Chiang himself.

From ancient Mesopotamia to the near future, we surf through time and consciousness in his words. What lies beyond heaven? How far can human consciousness go? What happens when angels start visiting the earth? Or aliens? He explores history, science, language, psychology, biology, religion, mathematics… almost every topic in his stories. It is abundantly clear from his writing how knowledgeable he is and how thoroughly researched his writings are.

The writing is very readable. Even though some of the stories have scientific and academic jargon, it doesn’t take away from the reading experience, rather adds to it. It is very hard to choose my favourites from the collection, because all of them are amazing. But if I had to choose my top three, Story of Your Life, Understand and Liking What You See, will be the ones.

This book is something else really. It made me feel things I cannot explain. It made me feel the vastness, greatness that lies within and beyond.

If you want your mind to be blown, go read this. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.

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