An essay analyzing Ted Chiang’s Exhalation.
“When on board H.M.S. ‘Beagle,’ as a naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent… After five years’ work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes…”
It is with these words that Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species begins. It frames his magnum opus both as a description of personal experience, but also as an attempt at an objective description of the wider world and an attempt to reveal insight into it. Ted Chiang’s Exhalation begins similarly.