Monday, June 25, 2018

Chiang, Ted (Stories of Your Life and Others)

Slog, slog, slog. Sorry to everyone who thinks Chiang brings a special flavor of science and technology to short-story writing. Unless you like obtuse and overwrought as flavors, give it a miss.

Granted, the one story I read it for - "Story of Your Life" - which is what the movie, Arrival, is based on, was as-expected. Slightly different from the movie, but only slightly. The movie is actually a bit better because of the visuals (and because of whatever linguist they hired to design the language).

It's not that his concepts are not interesting. A story in which you can see directly into hell? Another that disproves mathematics? Or yet another about someone who gets smarter and smarter and smarter because of a drug he's taking? But let's take that latter one as an example of my problem with his writing. First of all, it's Flowers for Algernon with a different ending, so it's been done before in a better way. Second, he tries to craft it so that his writing is getting smarter and smarter, and that's a useless endeavor (because his writing naturally plateaus at a certain point, disproving his efforts). And third, why should I care about super-smart people who end up crazy? Don't we have enough of those already??

I guess I'll watch the movies made out of his books instead.

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