RE: [modernsciencefiction2] This week's Short Fiction "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate"...
I read this one recently as part of a ‘Best SF’ collection which I’m reviewing in batches on my blog at the moment.
This is what I said about it:
“A merchant in long-ago Baghdad tells a fantastic tale to the Caliph, concerning a gate through which people can travel twenty years into the future - or into the past. He recounts the varied fortunes of those who have used the gate, including himself. More of an Arabian Nights tale than conventional SF but a fascinating read. An intriguing contrast with the author's award-winning Exhalation, reviewed in this blog on 15 May 2009, which demonstrates the remarkable versatility of this master story-teller.”
This week's story is "the Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang. It won the Hugo award for best novelette in 2008 as well as the Nebula too.
The story follows Fuwaad ibn Abbas, a fabric merchant in the ancient city of Baghdad, who find a black stone arch which is a gateway into the future.
This one skews more towards the fantasy spectrum, but I think we should read it because we all enjoyed reading "Exhalation" by Chiang a couple of months ago.
Here is a link to the text:http://web.archive.org/web/20080214145811/http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/fiction/tc01.htm
And here is the audio: http://www.starshipsofa.com/20080323/aural-delights-no-15-ted-chiang/