REVIEWS+

Exhalation

Knopf. May 2019. 368p. ISBN 9781101947883. $25.95;ebk. ISBN 9781101947906. SF
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OrangeReviewStarChiang (Stories of Your Life and Others) is always thought provoking, and his latest collection is no exception. "The Lifecycle of Software Objects" considers artificial intelligence, with one woman wondering if they should be treated as living beings. "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" asks, if the past cannot change, is life driven by fate? "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" posits a future in which we record every moment of our lives and how that affects us, with a second narrative featuring a man who learns to read and write and its impact on his oral storytelling culture. Two of the nine pieces are new: "Omphalos" deals with creationism as science, and "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom" centers on talking to our other selves in alternate worlds.
VERDICT Any sf reader can dive into these stories and find something exciting. Especially recommended for fans of Greg Egan, Ken Liu, and Netflix's Black Mirror. [See Prepub Alert, 11/19/18]

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