Aliens. Time travel. Portals into another world. These are mainstays of science fiction, and can make or break an audience’s viewing experience. Ted Chiang crafted a short story that quietly broke the mold, and would later inspire a cerebral blockbuster by director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Eric Heisserer: 2016’s Arrival. Authors Jon and Melissa Matos praise Chiang’s mastery of world-building, organic storytelling, and how “Story of Your Life” uses theoretical physics to explain human connections.

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