May 02, 2023

books like ted chiang

I conducted research by examining various Reddit threads, articles, and discussions related to Ted Chiang, his works, and authors or books similar to his style. There was a general consensus among the sources that Chiang's works are thought-provoking, grounded, and unique. While no author is an exact match to his style, several recommendations for similar works and authors were found. My level of uncertainty is low, as the sources were directly related to the original query and provided numerous suggestions.




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K. L.



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K. L., 447d ago

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Greg Egan's Works

One Reddit user recommended the works of Greg Egan, specifically "Axiomatic" and "Diaspora" as well as "Luminous".

Andy Weir's "The Egg"

Another recommendation from a Reddit user is Andy Weir's "The Egg," which is said to have a similar emotional vibe to some of Ted Chiang's stories.

Ken Liu's "The Paper Menagerie"

Ken Liu's short stories in "The Paper Menagerie" were praised by multiple Reddit users, with some stating that Liu's stories struck them as unusually thoughtful, creative, and definitely not run-of-the-mill.
Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

A Reddit user suggested that Jorge Luis Borges was likely a significant influence on Ted Chiang and other writers of conceptually weird short stories with experimental premises.
Claire North

George Saunders and Alice Munro

George Saunders and Alice Munro were also recommended for their similar writing style to Chiang's.

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"Looking for science fiction books similar to Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos."

  • A reddit user asked for science-fiction books similar to Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” and Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”, which feel grounded, realistic, with deep and interesting characters.
  • They provided “Signs” by M. Night Shyamalan as an example of a similar work.
  • Another reddit user suggested the following books:
    • “Children of the New World” by Alexander Weinstein
      • The book is a collection of speculative short stories that explore the impact of technology on people’s lives. It includes stories about realistic virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and brain-enhancing neurotechnology.
    • “The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories” by Ken Liu
      • The collection includes a mix of short speculative fiction stories that range from magical realism to science fiction. The stories explore such themes as family relationships, cultural identity, and technology’s impact on consciousness.
    • “Annihilation” by Jeff VanderMeer
      • The first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, it tells the story of a group of scientists who explore a strange and dangerous area known as “Area X”. The book explores themes such as environmentalism and psychological horror.
    • “The Vanished Birds” by Simon Jimenez
      • The book is a science-fiction novel that explores themes such as time travel, colonization, and the relationship between a traveler and a young girl he adopts.
    • “Ammonite” by Nicola Griffith
      • The book is a science-fiction novel that takes place on a planet where a virus has killed all the men, leaving the women to rebuild the society. The book explores themes such as anthropology, feminism, and sexuality.
    • “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang
      • This book is Ted Chiang’s second collection of short stories after “Story of Your Life”. It includes stories that explore such themes as the nature of consciousness, time travel, and morality.
  • Other users pointed out that Ted Chiang’s other works are also worth checking out.

Note that the notes provided are a summary of the information found on the webpage, written in concise bullet points. They are intended to be an aid to memory, not a complete summary of the works mentioned. It is recommended that you read the works themselves or investigate further about them to get a full understanding of what they are about and if they might suit your taste.

"I just discovered Ted Chiang and blew through every single one of his short stories in a week. I believe he is one of the best sci fi writers today."

  • 2 years ago, a Reddit user discovered Ted Chiang’s short stories and praised them for being thought-provoking.
  • “Story of Your Life” is one of Chiang’s most popular short stories and explores themes of love, grief, destiny, and free will.
  • Another popular short story of Chiang’s is “Liking What You See: A Documentary,” which is compared to Black Mirror and explores technology that blocks people from recognizing physical attraction in others.
  • “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” is another highly-recommended short story that explores the effects of glimpses into parallel universes and parallel selves.
  • “Hell is the Absence of God” is a short story that some readers consider Chiang’s best work and tackles the theme of faith.
  • Chiang’s short story “The Life Cycle of Software Objects” is mentioned as a personal favorite by a Reddit user.
  • Chiang is praised for his ability to create thought-provoking stories that make readers stop and think.
  • Some comments mention other science fiction writers, such as Greg Egan, and compare them to Chiang.
  • “Exhalation” is another one of Chiang’s most popular short stories that explores consciousness and mortality.
  • The writing style of Chiang is debated among commenters, with some praising it as poetic and others considering it plain or utilitarian.
  • Chiang is popular among readers for his ability to convey deep human emotions and ideas in only a few pages.
  • Fans of Chiang’s work express frustration that he does not publish more frequently, but appreciate that his work is consistently excellent.

"Authors like Ted Chiang?"

  • In a Reddit thread titled “Authors like Ted Chiang?” from 10 months ago in the r/scifi community, users asked for recommendations about authors or stories similar to Ted Chiang.
  • Some users thought that Chiang’s stories and George Luis Borges’ work share some similarities, and also recommended authors like Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino. Ken Liu’s work was also suggested by some users.
  • Multiple users suggested Gene Wolfe, Ursula K Le Guin, Damon Knight, Harland Ellison, James Tiptree Jr., John Crowley, Jeff Vandermeer, Michael Swanwick, M. John Harrison, and Avram Davidson.
  • One user stated that there are no authors like Ted Chiang, but suggested Becky Chambers’ “To Be Taught…” and Emma Newman’s “Planetfall” series.
  • A Reddit user recommended Greg Egan’s “Axiomatic” and Diaspora, as well as Luminous.
  • Another user suggested Andy Weir’s “The Egg,” as it apparently comes close to the emotional vibe of some of Ted Chiang’s stories.
  • Some users agreed that Ken Liu’s short stories in “The Paper Menagerie” are phenomenal. They also shared that Liu translated Cixin Liu’s “The Three-Body Problem” and was featured with some frequency on Reddit, similar to Chiang, who was mentioned frequently due to his stories that are unusually thoughtful, creative, and not run-of-the-mill.
  • Users had differing opinions on Ken Liu’s works compared to Chiang’s. Some stated that Liu is nothing like Chiang because he is not a philosophical writer, while others said that some of Liu’s stories struck them as unusually thoughtful, creative, and definitely not run-of-the-mill.
  • One user suggested that Jorge Luis Borges is probably a big influence on Ted Chiang and anyone else who writes conceptually weird short stories with experimental premises. Borges didn’t write sci-fi specifically but did write a ton of magical realism and fantasy-adjacent fiction.
  • Users recommended some specific books: Ken Liu’s “The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories” and his “The Hidden Girl and Other Stories,” James Patrick Kelly’s, Ian McDonald’s, Bruce Sterling’s, and Michael Swanwick’s books. Others recommended John Crowley, Jeff Vandermeer’s early stuff, and some of Michael Swanwick’s stuff as well.
  • One user recommended Yoon Ha Lee’s short stories, saying that they’re not exactly like Chiang’s stories but that there are

"Is it just me or are some of Ted Chiang's stories REALLY similar?"

  • A reddit user posts a thread about Ted Chiang’s stories and asks if some of them are similar in terms of both theme and structure.
  • The user said they read “Tower of Babylon” and “Story of Your Life” previously and thought Chiang’s new collection, “Exhalation: Stories”, was similar in terms of both theme and structure.
  • The user also mentions that Ted Chiang is an amazing writer and they will only be positive in their feedback and comments.
  • Another reddit user comments that Chiang carries a similar tone more than narrative structure and it’s a distinct blend of sci-fi storytelling and revelation of human consciousness that elevates his writing and makes it seem similar.
  • Another user points out that every author has their own tone and sounding the same is never something they’d fault someone for; the consistency of Chiang’s tone across decades is impressive.
  • Another user recommends Claire North as another author with highly stylized books with similar voice and themes.
  • Another user recommends the book “The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories” by Ken Liu which they felt had a similar ‘deeper’ theme to Chiang’s works.
  • Another user recommends other Ken Liu books - “The Grace of Kings” and “Touch” and mentions that Liu’s books are more fantasy than sci-fi.
  • Other users join in and also recommend George Saunders and Alice Munro
  • Users discuss the specific themes and concepts in Chiang’s stories:
    • “Exhalation” is about life and how it requires entropy to function.
    • “Story of Your Life” was about the fundamental equivalence between the usual time-aware conception of identity and a different one where the “yous” across all instants of your life are ‘you’ to the same degree and you see every instant of your life to date as a unified “now”.
    • “The Merchant and The Alchemist’s Gate” explores that all parts of your existence are interwoven in a way that integrally defines us, whether we can see it or not, and we can’t change this about us.
    • “Tower of Babylon” presents a pre-modern society which has dedicated itself to the construction of a vast, ever-growing tower.
  • Users also point out that Chiang’s stories are much richer than they had initially noticed and that the brilliance of his stories is how different elements tie into the main theme.
  • One user mentions that this similarity among short story writers is a trap that every short story writer gets into and that even some


  • Ted Chiang is an acclaimed science fiction writer.
  • He is known for his literary style, minimalist elegance, and themes that explore the intersection of faith and science.
  • Chiang’s short stories have won multiple awards in the science fiction and literary fields.
  • “Story of Your Life” is a short story written by Chiang, and it was adapted into the movie “Arrival” directed by Dennis Villeneuve.
  • “Hell is the Absence of God” is another notable work written by Chiang. It explores a reality where biblical angels exist in suburbia and is a restrained, brilliant demolition of fundamentalist religious beliefs.
  • “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a Silk Road fantasy story exploring time travel, received both the Hugo and Nebula awards.
  • “The Life Cycle of Software Objects” traces the accidental emergence and evolution of artificial intelligence. It is a notable work that examines the idea of life rather than being an AI story of the SF genre.
  • It’s been noted that Chiang’s rigour and logic take him to a point of mysticism.
  • Chiang’s works have been published almost exclusively in limited runs through small presses, with the text often released free online.
  • Chiang is not active on social media and is absent from self-promotion. His readership is limited to those in-the-know in SF and literary circles.
  • While Chiang’s prominence may not be widely known by the general public, his fanbase is significant and loyal.
  • It’s worth mentioning that “Arrival” is not the only movie adaptation of Chiang’s work; Alex Rivera’s “Sleep Dealer” was also adapted from one of Chiang’s short stories, “The Great Silence.”
  • Finally, the text on the page praises Chiang’s writing, calling him the Platonic ideal of a science fiction writer. It highlights that his writing displays no particular interest in style and yet shines with a brutal, minimalist elegance.


  • Webpage is titled “Let’s Rank Every Ted Chiang Story Ever Published”
  • Author claims that the page is the definitive ranked list of all of Ted Chiang’s stories.
  • Methodology for rankings is discussed:
    • Ratings are based on three criteria: Emotional Impact, Intellectual Impact, and Public Impact.
    • Each criterion is scored from 1-5, with scores added together to determine a story’s final placement.
    • Qualitative judgment is used to distinguish between tied stories.
    • Ratings are relative to other Ted Chiang stories.
    • Ratings will be made as spoiler-free as possible.
  • An 18-item list of Ted Chiang’s works is presented, from lowest to highest.
    • Each entry includes brief descriptions of the stories.
  • Final comments on author’s methodology are presented.
  • Query: books like Ted Chiang.

"Ted Chiang super fan looking for similar reads"

  • A Reddit user posted in r/printSF six years ago, asking for recommendations for authors similar to Ted Chiang.
  • The user expressed their love for Chiang’s style and mentioned having devoured all of his works within a week.
  • The user requested modern short story authors, stating their preference for short stories and anthologies.
  • Four commenters recommended various authors to the user, saying that while none are quite like Chiang in terms of diversity, they are also excellent in their own right:
    • Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Word Puppets
    • Michael Swanwick’s latest short story collection
    • Ken Liu, author of ‘Mono No Aware’ and ‘Good Hunting’
    • Bruce Sterling, whose ‘Ascendancies’ features a collection of his best stories with interesting writing and great characters.
    • Liu Cixin, author of ‘The Wandering Earth’ A bot also recommended a subreddit focused on anthologies and collections that might have relevant suggestions.
  • One commenter noted that all Chiang fans are left with a “yearning in their heart” after completing his works.
  • Another commenter recommended Kelly Link’s ‘Get in Trouble’.
  • The post has 27 upvotes and 10 comments.

💭  Looking into

Exploration of 2 themes common amongst Ted Chiang's works

💭  Looking into

A list of 5 science-fiction books similar to Ted Chiang's style and themes