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Stories of Your Life and Others

by Ted Chiang

Stories which will take you to the heart of what it means to be human. All of them have breathtaking alternatives to reality as we know it, in the universe or the human psyche. I found some of them pointedly relevant to the genetic engineering controversy. Also, there's a powerful portrayal of a parent caught in the age-old heartache - did I determine the shape of my child's life?

Extract

Hillalum thought of the story told to him in childhood, the tale following that of the Deluge. It told of how men had once again populated all the corners of the earth, inhabiting more lands than they ever had before. How men had sailed to the edges of the world, and seen the ocean falling away into the mist to join the black waters of the Abyss far below. How men had thus realized the extent of the earth, and felt it to be small, and desired to see what lay beyond its borders, all the rest of Yahweh's creation. How they looked skyward, and wondered about Yahweh's dwelling place, above the reservoirs that contained the waters of heaven. And how, many centuries ago, there began the construction of the tower, a pillar to heaven, a stair that men might ascend to see the works of Yahweh, and that Yahweh might descend to see the works of men.

Parallels

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Pavane by Keith Roberts
The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov
 

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