Saturday, January 17, 2009

What's Expected of Us

Today is Out of this World Mini-Challenge! I am reading and reviewing science fiction stories. As I mentioned in a post before, I am starting with Ted Chiang.

Title: What's Expected of Us
Author: Ted Chiang
Published: Nature, 2006
Genre: Science fiction, short story

Rating: 8/10

Thoughts: The whole story is only one page, but it gives something to think about. Ted Chiang introduces a device called Predictor which is a box that blinks a light a second before the button on it is pressed. Then implications of the box on human free will is discussed.

I thought the format of the story was tied quite well into the message itself. And I feel like my take-away from the story is that discussing whether free will exists does not change much -- lots of circular arguments abound and at the end they don't matter. And that's a little ironic in the context of the story. But decide for yourself!


  1. Thanks for reviewing this - I've just read it - great story ;0)

  2. That was fun. I am always amazed when someone can tell such a tight story in such a succinct manner. Great first taste of Chiang's work. I was entertained, but I certainly won't be one of those people sitting down trying to find the flaw in the logic. I don't need that kind of headache! Ha!
    Great ending line.