Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate

Title: The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate
Author: Ted Chiang
Published: The Subterranean Press, 2007
Genre: Science Fiction, short story
Url: (Read by James Campanella)
Unfortunately the full-text got taken down, I am glad I saved a copy.

Rating: 10/10

Thoughts: I loved this story! I am not surprised it has won both Hugo Award for Best Novelette and Nebula Award for Best Novelette in 2008. The story is lyrical, poignant, and at the same time examines the questions of time travel and human nature.

The premise of the story is that a man in Baghdad discovers a shop at the back of which there is a gate that will allow one to travel 20 years into the future. Before the main character makes up his decision on whether he wants to try the gate, the shopkeeper tells several tales of other people who have done the journey previously.

The whole story is told in the Arabian Nights style, the images are very vivid and the conclusion is satisfying without being predictable. I can't recommend it enough!


  1. This is the story of his that I am really wanting to read.

    By the way, I popped over to Best Sci Fi Stories and don't see your comment over there. Do you think it didn't go through for some reason?

  2. I can see it when I go to