Too many robots?

Exhalation: Stories - Ted Chiang

When I read Stories of Your Life and Others in 2017 I was blown away by Ted Chiang's writing. It's unique to find a short story collection where so many of the stories are standouts (and memorable) but his first collection managed to do both. I found it mind-boggling that he hadn't written more so when I heard Exhalation was coming out I added it to my library holds list. With the memory of the stories from the first book still pretty fresh in my mind, I went into Exhalation with high expectations...and was slightly disappointed. This collection veered much more strongly toward artificial intelligence and existentialism while his previous work was varied (and exceptional). The best story from this collection was actually Exhalation which was about robots constructed with artificial lungs (yes, it's creepy). I can't really remember any of the rest except one about a robotic nanny which had a great philosophical bent to it. Quite a few stories were novella length which I think contributed to why it didn't feel as diversified as the first collection since not as many stories could be included. (A/N: Many of the stories were collected from various publications over the years and some are as old as 10 years.) That isn't to say that I didn't still appreciate his artistry as a writer because without a doubt he is a brilliant wordsmith but when you come out of the gate with such a winner like Stories of Your Life and Others it can be difficult to reach that height again. ¯_(ツ)_/¯  My overall assessment: 6/10.


What's Up Next: Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs by Caitlin Doughty


What I'm Currently Reading: Do You Mind if I Cancel? (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti