Ted Chiang's collection of short stories, "Stories of Your Life and Others," is out. Ted is a national treasure. He writes one story every million years or so, but each of those stories is a goddamned jewel. He's won two Nebula awards (I was at one of the Neb banquets where he received an award, though he wasn't, and sat at a table filled with three or four of Ted's agents; that's right, three or four
of Ted's agents. The guy's never written a novel, has no plans to, but just in case, there's a whole queue of agents ready to represent him). He's sold a short-story collection -- this collection -- to Tor, even though he has no novel planned; an occurrence that's basically unheard of. I'd be jealous if he wasn't such an amazing, humble, decent guy -- check out his bio from the jacket-flap: "Ted Chiang lives near Seattle, Washington." If I could write as well as Ted, I'd be (even more) insufferable.
So even if you're the kind of person who waits for the paperback, even if you're the kind of person who doesn't read short stories (which is basically everyone except short-story writers, it seems), this is the book you need to make an exception for. If you've read all of Ted's stories -- that's not a very large number of stories, so it's quite possible that you have -- buy this book so that you can read the original story, "Liking What You See: A Documentary." It's worth the price of admission.
I can't say enough wonderful things about Ted. Tor used to have his fantastic story, "72 Letters" online on their site, but they've since take it down. Luckily, we have the Wayback Machine, so you can still read it. Give it a shot and ask yourself why you don't own an entire book full of Ted's stories.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
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