Tag Archives: fiction

On ‘Division by Zero’ by Ted Chiang

This is a short, spoilerific rumination on the short story ‘Division by Zero’ by Ted Chiang.

We are told in the opening paragraph of this story that, unlike what we may have learned in elementary school, the result of division by zero is not infinity, but “undefined”.

This is a story about negation, about depression, about suicide. Both characters have attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

Renee is a brilliant mathematician whose world is shattered when she proves something quite basic simply isn’t true. This introduces uncertainty into the simplest of things. She has proved that any number can be equivalent to any other number. She becomes depressed and tries to kill herself.

“Her concentration was gone, and last night she had had a nightmare about discovering a formalism that let her translate arbitrary concepts into mathematical expressions: then she had proven that life and death were equivalent.”

But her partner Carl finds himself in a similar state because of his inability to help Renee. He has experience of attempted suicide, as well as comforting others who had been suicidal. His world view was that he could handle this kind of situation. He can not.

“He had always had reason to consider compassion a basic part of his character, until now. He had valued that, felt that he was nothing if not empathic. But now he’d run up against something he’d never encountered before, and it rendered all his usual instincts null and void.”

Renee’s situation is to Carl what the now-unreliable mathematics is to Renee. They are both mired in uncertainty.

The ending of the story is foreshadowed by the opening paragraph. It is, in fact, a division by zero: undefined.

(Division by Zero can be found in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others)

 

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Meanwhile, in the Grimdark Land of Grimdarkness…

The first major review of MAKING WOLF is up over at Nerds of a Feather.

“Sometimes, though, novels have no interest in the heights of achievement, in evil as something that can be banished or defeated, in heroes of any sort. In such books, instead of sharing the triumphs of the protagonist, the reader is made complicit in their sins. Making Wolf definitely fits into the later category, creating a rich and haunting narrative that moves with power and destructive energy of a truck tearing a man in half.”

Read the rest here.

It’s a damn fine review, with great insight.

So you might want to buy the book 🙂

wolf

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Strong Tragedy, Lingering Power

Review of my Apex Magazine short story Child, Funeral, Thief, Death:

“this character playing a game and finding little fulfillment in it but playing anyway, because the alternatives are equally unsatisfying and, whatever happens, he has his sensitivity to fall back on. An interesting story, with a strong tragedy and a lingering power.”

Read the rest at Quick Sip Reviews.

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Afro SF 2 Anthology cover art, Table of Contents and Release Date

Yeah, this:

Afrosf2

A novella I wrote with Nick Wood (‘The Last Pantheon’) is in this anthology. It comes out 1st December, 2015.

The Last Pantheon is a science fiction novella where two superheroes come to terms with their conflicts. It’s the second time I’ve collaborated on a story, and I enjoyed the process immensely.

The table of contents:

‘The Last Pantheon’
Tade Thompson & Nick Wood
An epic superhero face-off thousands of years in the making.
‘Hell Freezes Over’
Mame Bougouma Diene
Long after the last skyscraper has drowned who remains and how will they survive?
‘The Flying Man of Stone’
Dilman Dila
When ancient technology seems like magic legends live again in the midst of war and sides will be chosen.
‘VIII’
Andrew Dakalira
A space shuttle crash, the numeral eight, serial murders, what connects them all could end humanity.

‘Paradise City’
Efe Tokunbo Okogo
Change is coming to Paradise city and it won’t be pretty, but if this is paradise then heaven must be hell in need of a revolution.

Editor: Ivor W. Hartmann
Title: AfroSFv2
Publisher: StoryTime
Release: 1st December 2015

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Booksmugglers Roundtable Discussion

My novel MAKING WOLF is out on the 21st of September, 2015.

I joined a bunch of other novelists to talk about writing, history, culture and offending Western sensibilities at Booksmugglers.

wolf

Also, don’t forget to check out my story ‘Child, Funeral, Thief, Death’ over at Apex magazine.

And leave a comment! Writers like it when you do that 🙂

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Child, Funeral, Thief, Death

My story ‘Child, Funeral, Thief, Death’ is out today in issue 76 of Apex Magazine.

apex

This sort-of coming-of-age story, sort of exploration of morality (or the lack thereof) was the inspiration for my (as yet unpublished) novel ‘Rosewater’.

If you like it, leave a comment. Writers like it when you do that 🙂

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Apex

See the pretty cover? That’s the September issue of Apex Magazine.

My story “Child, Funeral, Thief, Death” is in it.

Wait till August ends…then go read it.

Oh, Happy Friday.

apex

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