Can a time machine offer us the meaning of life?

TechCrunch | 1/22/2020 | Staff
jenn1020jenn1020 (Posted by) Level 3
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We are continuing our discussion of Ted Chiang’s Exhalations. Today (and one day late thanks to the MLK holiday), I give some thoughts on the first short story of the collection, “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” and kick off the discussion for the second short story of the collection, the eponymous “Exhalation.”

Previous editions of this “book club”:

Notes

Some quick notes:

Want to join the conversation? Feel free to email me your thoughts at danny+bookclub@techcrunch.com or join some of the discussions on Reddit or Twitter.

Book - Club - Page - RSS - Feed

Follow these informal book club articles here. That page also has a built-in RSS feed for posts exclusively in the Book Review category, which is very low volume.

Feel free to add your comments in our TechCrunch comments section below this post.

Reading - Story - Examples - Power - Work

I was electrified reading this short story. It’s one of the most obvious examples I can give on the power of re-reading the same work multiple times: what begins as a fairly open-ended and fractal plot finally comes all together in its final lines, beautifully inviting the reader to come back around a second time to understand how the various puzzle pieces fit together even better.

Structurally, Chiang has done something marvelous in such a short number of pages. He has taken the familiar trope of the time machine and has managed to create a multi-layered and non-linear narrative about fate and destiny, while also maintaining a sense of progressive plotting. There is the overarching story of the main character talking to His Majesty, but then this story is also a retrospective of multiple tales, all of which interrelate with each other directly and through their messages. Like the Gate itself, this structure is truly a masterwork of craftsmanship.

Bit - Chiang - Theme - Message - Story

A bit aggressively, Chiang has laid on his primary theme quite thickly, with the main message of the story bottled up...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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