Review: Stories of Your Life and Others

Well that was a delightful collection of shorts.

I don’t often read anthologies, but perhaps I should read more. I do love me some epic fantasy (I’ve read the entire The Wheel of Time half a dozen times now…), but there’s just something about a story that builds up quickly, gets to the point, and doesn’t stick around.

I think of the 8, I only bounced off 1 (which was actually a fine story, I just couldn’t suspend disbelief enough for the premise) and 1 was a bit meh, just for how short it was. 6 of 8 I absolutely loved though.

Absolutely worth a read.

A quick note about each (minor spoilers):

Tower of Babylon, a story taking the idea of building a tower to Heaven literally. A journey of weeks to climb. Where it’s said that a man falling off is no big deal, but a lost brick… now that would be a tragedy to replace. And when you get to Heaven… what then?

Understand. Hormonal neuron regrowth leading to ever increasing intelligence. The base story I’ve seen before, but not the dual of the minds.

Division by Zero. Take the ‘proof’ that 1 == 2 and lean in towards the cosmic horror sort of implications? This is the only one I couldn’t really get into.

Story of Your Life. Alien linguistics, the story. So much better than that makes it sound. Became the film Arrival.

Seventy-Two Letters. Golems, with a bit more emphasis on the programming aspects of it, writ in an industrial revolution era world. Reminds me of the current worries of AI replacing jobs. The ending, tying it to what we actually see as ’normal’? chef’s kiss

The Evolution of Human Science. A very short story about meta human tech and what that would do for society. One of the weaker ones, but I enjoyed it.

Hell is the Absence of God. Literal visitations of angels, causing miracles, cancer, and mass destruction. The knowing of the thing… doesn’t make it any easier to love God. Suicide. Serial killers. It’s such a fascinating world. Of all these stories, this is the one I’d most like to see fleshed out into an entire novel. The short does certainly feel complete, but I want more!

Liking What Your See: A Documentary. What if face blindness… but only for how attractive people appear to be. “A kind of high functioning autism”. Which is certainly an interesting way to do the book. I appreciate the documentary style, although it was odd to listen to (audiobook).