Monday, September 21, 2009

Hell Is the Absence of God, by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang is my favorite author to emerge in this millenium. His stories challenge you to follow them through and consider the ideas. So I have been very much looking forward to reviewing Hell is the Absence of God as free online literature.

The piece depicts a world in which God, through the Angels and other beings, is very much a part of ordinary life. But that presence has a very random feel to it. Miracles happen regularly, but they produce collateral damage. The story revolves around ordinary peoples' responses to both.

It is a very thought-provoking piece. Chiang manages not to fall into the ordinary supernatural-being-in-the-story traps, just as he avoids the usual time travel lessons in The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate. The Podcastle website allows comments, and there are some highly literate ones. As an SF reader and a religious person it was a must read (listen) for me.

Podcast Vs. Reading

And yet, like several other commenters, I will want to go back and read this one in print. The audio quality is a bit poor--I don't recommend listening in the car. The deadpan reading style actually helps one focus, in my opinion, but not all would like it. When I have the choice, I like my SF as literature rather than a story told to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment