The two collections, published seventeen years apart, both demonstrate Chiang’s ability to subtly weave very human stories using the mechanics of traditional science-fiction tropes. Yes, there are aliens and teleportation devices, time machines and androids, and artificial intelligence but these are just tools used to tell something of the human experience.
“You think that festering shithead can be renewed?” I said. “Burn it all down!”
“Why would you want to harm so many people?” she asked gently. “It’s my country. It’s where I grew up. It’s being ruined by the leaders. I want it to be better.”