Ted Chiang story from 2005 about free will or lack thereof

This is an 2005 very short story from one of my favorite authors, Ted Chiang. The story is "What's Expected of us" PDF link here.

It is a revolves around the difference between suspecting some terrible secret and _knowing_ the same secret. Nothing physically changes... ONLY just the thought paradigm and all the personal filters into perception changes and that is literally what it takes to shatter everything.

Pretty interesting.

PS. Ted is supposedly writing some NEW short stories and a Novella! YES!

PPS. His "The Merchant and The Alchemist" novellette(?) won Nebula for Best Novelette 2007 and a Hugo Nomination for Best Novelette 2008! (story link here and podcast) (It was interesting but I didn't like it that much) A little "free will" in there too!

PPPS. Still believe "Understand" was one of his most wonderful gems. Read this one!


  1. Anonymous12:16 PM PDT

    Understand is pretty cool - a good choice!

    Aren't you happy I am commenting now!

  2. Yes, I am happy you are commenting Mr/Ms "anonymous"!

    Yeah, I really liked "Understand." Always like to spread the knowledge of Ted Chiang.

    Do you know that Robert knew him (from Microsoft?)?

  3. Anonymous5:14 PM PDT

    No I did not know that Robert knew Ted. However, note that no one really knows me as I am anonymous. I could be your cat. I could be Ted Chiang. What evil lurks in the hearts of men... I know...


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