Book Reviews: July 2021 Reads

Speculative fiction — fascinating sci-fi anthology Exhalation and the timey-wimey literary novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold — make up this month’s reads, warping reality as we know it. But before then, I’ll be starting off with two light reads that I am happy to recommend for YA fantasy fans.

The Aeriel Chronicles: A Flight of Broken Wings / A Call for Brighter Days (Nupur Chowdhury, 2019 – 2021)
4/5

Aerial Chronicles Novels

Book 1 is available for free on Amazon and Kobo. Book 2’s review is based on an ARC, kindly provided by the author.

Six centuries after a lost war against humanity, the Aeriels are back on Ragah to steal a powerful weapon that could prove deadly to their own race. Their return to Earth stirs painful memories for Aerial hunter Ruban Kinoh, who ​arms himself not just to protect his city but avenge his family.

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Book Review: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life

Stories of Your Life and Others (Ted Chiang, 2010) – The collection includes eight of Ted Chiang’s original published stories of remarkable wit and consistency.

Verdict

Meditating on the irresolvable meaning of humanity, Stories of Your Life and Others is an essential for keen readers of sci-fi, theology and philosophy.

5/5

Review

What if language has the power to change our perception? The story behind the acclaimed film Arrival owes its cerebral genre narrative to Ted Chiang’s source material. Story of Your Life tells of one woman’s account of her newfound perspective and resultant personal choices, positing how linguistics can shape civilisation.

The story is interestingly in itself, an experiment in language. Tenses shift between past, present, and future to untangle a complex yarn. Physics come into play with Fermat’s Principle of Least Time. But while rooted in vernacular and scientific technicalities, the speculative work is primarily philosophical, questioning the dichotomy of freewill and fate.

Equally thought-provoking themes can be found in the rest of the collection, Stories of Your Life and Others. Each of the eight short stories proves remarkable in their sophistication, accessibility, and rare originality.

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