I read the second Ted Chiang collection of stories, Exhalation, earlier this year and thought it was very good. But I would be lying if I said I recalled a lot of the specific stories. I think this one will prove to be similar. I think the experience of the stories was riveting, but the consequences will be slight. All of this in light of the fact that I also think this story collection is also very good.
So there’s a long section of author’s notes at the end that help to explain a little of the motivations here. The opening story is about a kind of understanding of the Tower of Babel. There’s an incredibly stark story about angels and religion and how the awesome power of God is impossible to know or understand directly in spite of the many attempts to explain it verbally, if the words we use in association with the power of God were taking to be literal. There’s a long documentary style story about a new technology that allows people to “not see” or experience ranges of beauty. There’s a long story about someone who begins to tap into extreme depths of advanced human intelligence and the consequences that has on their ability to connect with others. There’s a long story about conventions of naming and genetics, referencing and borrowing heavily from Jewish Golem myths. And of course there’s the title story which was made into Arrival by Denis Villaneuve. I think all of the stories could be adapted, but also they would all the need the mature and guiding hand of a filmmaker to really help turn these raw mounds of speculative consciousness into workable narratives.