Arrival

Arrivalby Ted Chiang

I chose this book based on the reviews of the film, which to date I haven’t actually seen. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that this is not a novel but a collection of short stories, one of which was the basis for the movie.

I am not normally someone who reads short stories o probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I’d known, without seeing the film first.

Originally published as “Stories of Your Life and Others”, it is a collection of eight very different tales, each focusing on a unique aspect of science fiction.

The first two stories, (“Tower of Babylon” and “Understand”) are the most interesting. Each had a story I could follow and interesting characters. The rest, including “Stories of Your life” which the film was based on, mainly left me frustrated or simply unimpressed. At various times, I felt that Ted Chiang was stringing stories together as vehicles for his latest research and I found the plots either irrelevant or confusing. 

I was determined to read every story in the collection, but after an interesting start, it quickly become something of a chore.

I have read other reviews of this book and am well aware that I seem to be in a minority here, but tone, content and direction of six of the eight stories just did nothing whatsoever for me.

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