Exhalation is a collection of sci-fi short stories by Ted Chiang. With four Hugos, four Nebulas, and four Locus awards, you know this collection by the author of the short story that inspired the movie Arrival is going to be top-notch.
In the short story that inspired the cover title, the universe began “as an enormous breath being held.” A robot society thinks that time is speeding up, but then they realize that their brains are, in fact, slowing down. One brave leader self-dissects his brain to determine why. The cause is both futuristic, and much too close to home.
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