Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Queer Rep Summary: No canon queer rep.

These stories play with math, language, and science, situating their more technical aspects within various strange and internally consistent rule-sets which stretch into the fantastic while wearing the clothes of the scientific, all to tell deeply moving stories about people in strange worlds which are almost like our own. From a literal interpretation of the Tower of Babel wherein they reach to the heavens, to a mathematical formalism so destabilizing that it drives the theorist to despair, to a contemplation on beauty and appearance which refuses to ever quite take a side on its central question. One of the strengths of this collection is the worldbuilding, the way the details vary from story to story but they're all extremely immersive, exploring the strange corners of each premise while still feeling complete and focused. My favorites were "Tower of Babylon" and "Understand", closely followed by "Story of Your Life" (upon which the 2016 film, "Arrival" is based). Several of them were uncomfortable in a good way, but that experience will obviously vary widely. 

Tower of Babylon: CW for death.

Understand: CW for anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, major character death (not depicted), death (not depicted).

Division by Zero: CW for mental illness, attempted suicide.

Story of Your Life: CW for death (not depicted).

Seventy-Two Letters: CW for sexism, racism, eugenics, violence, torture (not depicted), death (not depicted).

The Evolution of Human Science: No major CWs.

Hell is the Absence of God: CW for bullying (not depicted), ableism, discussion of suicide, major character death, death.

“Liking What You see: A Documentary”: CW for sexism (minor), ableism (minor).

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The hands of a clock float surrounded by "STORIES OF YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS" with "TED CHIANG" on the bottom edge, suggesting a clock.


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