SF Crossing the Gulf (Episode 1): A Discussion of Ted Chiang’s “Exhalation” and Others

Welcome to the debut episode of SF Crossing the Gulf with Karen Burnham and Karen Lord.

We’ll be discussing contemporary hard sf and Caribbean speculative fiction over the course of our new, twice-monthly podcast. We spend most of this first episode discussing “Exhalation” and the collection Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang.

Other books we’ll be discussing in the future:

  • My Bones and My Flute by Edgar Mittelholzer
  • A selection of short stories by Greg Egan
  • and The Rainmaker’s Mistake by Erna Broadber
  • More titles to be announced when we’re sure we can actually lay our hands on them ourselves.

We look at these stories from our perspectives as readers, writers, critics, scientists, sociologists, women, etc.

SPOILER ALERT: We want to talk about the stories in depth, so if plot or conceptual spoilers bother you, please read the stories first!

18 thoughts on “SF Crossing the Gulf (Episode 1): A Discussion of Ted Chiang’s “Exhalation” and Others”

  1. Good inaugural podcast — reminds me a bit of Squeecast. I like the banter of SF fans :-)

    Ted Chiang is truly a special talent, similar in style to Gene Wolfe. I think my favorite story of his is The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate.

    I think the podcast could be improved by giving it more context. Why are we talking about a particular book? I read the Chiang stories years ago and vaguely remember some of them. What is the premise of the story (before explaining particular details)? I think a more rigid show outline could help (perhaps with interview-style questions?).

    Anyway, good job and I look forward to hearing more :-)

  2. I’m only a half hour it, but it sounds like two very smart ladies. Sounds like someone’s got a squeaky bed.

      1. Maybe you should get a headset, or put a blanket over your head and the laptop while recording like Matthew Sanborn Smith.

  3. One of the recurring themes in many of Chiang’s short fiction is determinism (even if he is using free will to justify this). Do you see this as well?

    1. Charles – I can see that deterministic streak with “Story of Your Life” and “Exhalation”. But does the same apply to “Babylon” or “Seventy Two Letters”?

      1. Will have to read them again as I don’t quite remember, but one of my favorites (not included in the podcast was Chiang’s only other work not included) was The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate and it was present there too.

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