‘One of the most exciting writers in science fiction . . . Although dark in premise, these parables – threaded through with references to ancient mythology and folklore – are filled with hope and humanism: a balm for anxious souls.’ – Daily Telegraph From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others – the basis for the Academy Award nominated film Arrival – comes a groundbreaking second collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories. These are tales that tackle some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries that only Ted Chiang could imagine. In ‘The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate’, a portal through time forces a fabric-seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past errors and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary ‘Exhalation’, an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. In ‘Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom’, the ability to glimpse into alternate universes necessitates a radically new examination of the concepts of choice and free will. In Exhalation, Ted Chiang addresses the most fundamental of issues – What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human? – alongside others that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning, and compassion. ‘Deeply beautiful stories . . . Each thoughtful, elegantly crafted story poses a philosophical question; Chiang curates all nine into a conversation that comes full circle, after having traversed remarkable terrain.’ – New York Times 'The 10 Best Books of 2019' ‘Chiang’s writing . . . inspires awe for the natural properties of the universe; it renders the fundamentals of science poignant and affecting.’ – Economist ‘A scintillating cavalcade of ideas . . . Chiang breathes new life into well-worn SF themes such as time travel, artificial intelligence and parallel universes.’ – Financial Times 'Books of the Year'