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"All my desires and ruminations are no more and no less than eddy currents generated by the gradual exhalation of our universe". One of my favourite science-fiction novellas is Ted Chiang's Nebula-winning Story of Your Life, about alien heptapods whose consciousness and script are so different from ours that their physicists find velocity and mass less natural than Fermat's Principle of Least Time. A skimpy description, I know, but if I revealed any more, I'd spoil the joy of discovery. Last week, I found a new Chiang story, Exhalation, about a being — you might call him a robot, although he wasn't created to work — struggling to understand the mechanisms of his aeolian brain and the fate of his universe. The story, published in Year's Best SF 14 edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, is online via Night Shade Books. It makes a good companion to Douglas Hofstadter's A Conversation with Einstein's Brain.