Exhalation by Ted Chiang


From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others—the basis for the Academy Award-nominated film Arrival: a groundbreaking new collection of short fiction.

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“Do not be fooled by the labels of “short stories” or “science fiction”. This collection may well be the most fascinating and imaginative set of thought exercises you’ll ever read. Ted Chiang’s masterfully crafted stories encompass humanity’s most pressing existential questions and draws on physics, history, and philosophy. Even Chiang himself humorously notes in the book’s concluding remarks that he is “generally incapable of writing a story on a specified theme’ “ – and this couldn’t be a better endorsement of his work. Dynamic, imaginative, and mind-opening, I couldn’t get enough of this collection.”

– Julia


In these nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories, Ted Chiang tackles some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only he could imagine.

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 second chances. In “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications that are literally universal. In “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom,” the ability to glimpse into alternate universes necessitates a radically new examination of the concepts of choice and free will.

Including stories being published for the first time in this collection as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, Exhalation is Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic—revelatory.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang