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Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang (born 1967) is an American science fiction writer. His Chinese name is Chiang Feng-nan (姜峯楠).

His work has won four Nebula awards, four Hugo awards, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and four Locus awards. His short story "Story of Your Life" was the basis of the film Arrival (2016).

Early life and career

Chiang was born in Port Jefferson, New York. Both of his parents were born in China, and immigrated to Taiwan with their families during the Communist Revolution before immigrating to the United States. He graduated from Brown University with a computer science degree and in 1989 graduated from the Clarion Writers Workshop. As of July 2002, he was working as a technical writer in the software industry and resided in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle.

Critic John Clute has written that Chiang's writing has a "tight-hewn and lucid style... [which] has a magnetic effect on the reader."

Chiang has commented on “metacognition, or thinking about one’s own thinking” being something most humans, but neither animals nor current AI, are capable of. He has also commented on the lack of competition or regulation on some major tech companies.


Chiang has published fifteen short stories, novelettes, and novellas as of 2015, and has won numerous science fiction awards for his works: a Nebula Award for "Tower of Babylon" (1990); the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992; a Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Award for "Story of Your Life" (1998); a Sidewise Award for "Seventy-Two Letters" (2000); a Nebula Award, Locus Award, and Hugo Award for his novelette "Hell Is the Absence of God" (2002); a Nebula and Hugo Award for his novelette "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" (2007); a British Science Fiction Association Award, a Locus Award, and the Hugo Award for Best Short Story for "Exhalation" (2009); and a Hugo Award and Locus Award for his novella "The Lifecycle of Software Objects" (2010).

Chiang turned down a Hugo nomination for his short story "Liking What You See: A Documentary" in 2003, on the grounds that the story was rushed due to editorial pressure and did not turn out as he had really wanted.

In 2013, his collection of translated stories Die Hölle ist die Abwesenheit Gottes won the German Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for best foreign science fiction.


His novelette "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" (2007) was also published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

"The Great Silence" was included in The Best American Short Stories anthology for 2016, which is a rare honor for stories and authors that fall under the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres.


  • "Tower of Babylon", Omni, 1990 (Nebula Award winner)
  • "Division by Zero", Full Spectrum 3, 1991 (available online)
  • "Understand", Asimov's Science Fiction, 1991 (available online)
  • "Story of Your Life", Starlight 2, 1998 (Nebula Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award and Seiun Award winner)
  • "The Evolution of Human Science" (also known as "Catching Crumbs from the Table"), Nature, 2000 (available online)
  • "Seventy-Two Letters", Vanishing Acts, 2000 (Sidewise Award winner; available online)
  • "Hell Is the Absence of God", Starlight 3, 2001 (Hugo Award, Locus Award, Nebula Award and Seiun Award winner)
  • "Liking What You See: A Documentary", Stories of Your Life and Others, 2002
  • "What's Expected of Us", Nature, 2005 (available online)
  • "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate", Subterranean Press, 2007 and F&SF, September 2007 (Nebula Award, Hugo Award and Seiun Award winner; available online)
  • "Exhalation", Eclipse 2, 2008 (BSFA, Locus Award, and Hugo Award winner; available online)
  • "The Lifecycle of Software Objects", Subterranean Press, July 2010 (Locus Award, Hugo Award and Seiun Award winner; available online)
  • "Dacey's Patent Automatic Nanny", The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Ann VanderMeer) June 2011
  • "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling", Subterranean Press Magazine, August 2013 (available online)
  • "The Great Silence", e-flux Journal, May 2015 (included in The Best American Short Stories, 2016; available online)
  • "Omphalos", Exhalation: Stories, 2019
  • "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom", Exhalation: Stories, 2019


  • Stories of Your Life and Others (Tor, 2002; Locus Award for Best Collection), republished as Arrival (Picador, 2016)
  • Exhalation: Stories (Knopf, May 2019)


A film adaptation by Eric Heisserer of "Story of Your Life", titled Arrival and directed by Denis Villeneuve, was released in 2016 to a critical and commercial success. It stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.


Chiang was an instructor at the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop at UC San Diego in 2012 and 2016.


External links

  • Stories of Ted Chiang’s Life and Others Ted Chiang Interview
  • Ted Chiang on the Future Video of a speech by Ted Chiang
  • Interview conducted by Al Robertson
  • Interview conducted by Lou Anders
  • Interview conducted by Gavin J. Grant
  • Ted Chiang at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • Ted Chiang's online fiction at Free Speculative Fiction Online
  • Ted Chiang on IMDb
  • Ted Chiang at Library of Congress Authorities, with 3 catalog records

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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