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Story Of Your Life By Ted Chiang

June 26, 2012
By

This is an odd story by Chiang. He's actually got two things going at once.

In a Linguist attempts to communicate with an alien species whilst recollecting her daughter who apparently dies at the age of 25. This is an odd story by Chiang. He’s actually got two things going at once. Finally Chiang gets to the but intersperses his tale of alien arrival with the life of the daughter of the Linguist. I began to like the tale of the daughter more than story of the aliens who simply arrive for no discernible reason. In the end the story is incomplete both thematically and structurally. Unsatisfying on both counts leaving the reader wondering what happened to both the aliens and the daughter.

Seven lidless eyes ringed the top of the heptapod’s body. It walked back to the doorway from which it entered, made a brief sputtering sound, and returned to the center of the room followed by another heptapod; at no point did it ever turn around. Eerie, but logical; with eyes on all sides, any direction might as well be “forward.”

Our biggest source of confusion was the heptapods’ “writing.” It didn’t appear to be writing at all; it looked more like a bunch of intricate graphic designs. The logograms weren’t arranged in rows, or a spiral, or any linear fashion. Instead, Flapper or Raspberry would write a sentence by sticking together as many logograms as needed into a giant conglomeration.

Your father is about to ask me the question. This is the most important moment in our lives, and I want to pay attention, note every detail. Your dad and I have just come back from an evening out, dinner and a show; it’s after midnight. We came out onto the patio to look at the full moon; then I told your dad I wanted to dance, so he humors me and now we’re slow-dancing, a pair of thirtysomethings swaying back and forth in the moonlight like kids. I don’t feel the night chill at all. And then your dad says, “Do you want to make a baby?”

 

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