Exhalation -- Ted Chiang
Since reading Exhalation, I’ve repeatedly thought about its stories and characters, which is the hallmark of great speculative fiction. Stories about ideas--whether time travel, parallel universes, or artificial intelligence--can get bogged down with heavy philosophy and unsatisfying scientific explanations, but Chiang’s stories (thankfully) do neither. Each story is truly unique, not only in subject, but in style and scope. They explore the implications of technology precisely, contain characters with whom we empathize because of their flaws, and provide plots that genuinely enrapture and surprise you. Most importantly, they challenge us to think through the philosophy ourselves, instead of force-feeding us the “right” conclusion.