Stories of Your Life and Others

This is a clever book with snazzy concepts and technical jargons, masqueraded under dull titles that sound more like high school English composition topics. Don’t let them fool you.storiesofyourlife
Few weeks before I got to read The Story of your life during a train journey, impressed me very much in its intellectual and literary aspects. Aliens, Fermat something, linguistics, Whorfianism, calculus of variations, all in a Mom’s monologue to her kid. The tipsy tenses and concepts impressed me quite as much to bag the complete book and dwell in this delightful sci-fi juxtaposition.

Below is me being brief, giving a peek into this cool book from my bland inane mind, hoping it be a little conviction to read any of the shorts. They did quite whet my appetite for more, one after the other.

Tower of Babylon is a philosophical story about the search for heaven and earth, surprisingly devoid of the biblical language tragedy, mixed with enough marvel, vertigo and claustrophobia.

Another one Understand got a Flowers of Algernon type Charlie going all Limitless and Lucy in a near future world. It’s a bit mind blowing, dishing out concepts that help one accept most of things sci -i, when it comes to extreme human intelligence and manipulative controls. You might even give Purple Man from Alias/Jessica Jones some slack.
Division by Zero is the story of a mathematical genius where every reference felt like an archaic unknown enemy from old question papers – x. And most of my readings were intuition based than understanding here.

Seventy-two letters felt more like a journal review article, that every scholar got to torture oneself through, during literature survey. Except this one made sense in its own strange way in a well-crafted weird lexical universe. It’s a macabre story set in an alternative world with unconventional gestation, where movement of inanimate objects are controlled by words, superseded by our known thermodynamic principles. And do google “Shemhamphorasch”
Then a really short, short on obviousness of something obvious –The evolution of human science

Hell is the absence of God is one bitter sweet theological take on various doctrines of God thoughts. Remember that portion in Bible where Jesus was asked the reason for a particular person’s blindness, his sins or his ancestor’s? This story trails around his answer, “this has happened so that the works of Lords might be displayed in him.” This short is deep and I couldn’t help but compare the angel visitations with the alien zones in Roadside Picnic, giving the premise a whole different perspective.

Liking what you see: a documentary, as the name suggests is a compilation of interviews and articles from people having various opinion about a neuro tech that eliminates the bias towards pretty looks. Sounded more like a Fair and Lovely product, if they were an IT company. Like most of the other stories around, it’s not the flow of circumstances that grips you in, but the concepts and school of thoughts we ignore always.

It’s funny how every story is interpersed with linguistic undertones except the one you most expect to, Tower of Babel. And I have a new fav sci-fi author now.


The Story of Your Life – Ted Chiang

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I wish I had more stars to give and more pages to read.971e4a52d1b2318d04a3c67271b01b43

Honestly this review covers only the eponymous story and I read it after watching first trailer of ‘Arrival’. Expected something of Contact sort, never in my head crossed what it really was during the speculative process of determining what it could be. The writings of a mom to her daughter, those wore some of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I found myself standing in train absorbed in the copy, never caring to check for seats or station.

Big alien ships out of nowhere like Childhoods End all over the world and a linguist is hired by government to establish communication with the visitors. Stuff like Calculus of variation and Fermat principle of least time seems elementary to them, the very stuff I dozed off in last weeks lecture series. Now I am stuck with Whorfianism and sorts like below in my head. Human ear is adapted for the sounds of human larynx and so forth with every other sensory elements, and perception outside usual neurotic receptions would certainly be overwhelming. Also we as well maybe limited in our capabilities and thought processes by our language and senses.

Anything more will be rendition and spoilers. And keep an eye on the usage of tenses through out the read. Totally a non zero sum game 🙂