Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five, published in 1969, shares a number of similarities with “Story of Your Life.” Vonnegut introduces readers to extraterrestrial creatures called Tralfamadorians. Like Chiang’s heptapods, Tralfamadorians do not experience time linearly, but rather experience every moment of their lives as one simultaneous experience. The story’s protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, also experiences the effects of coming “unstuck in time,” like Louise Banks. Both stories explore grief, perspective, and time travel.

Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace

Atwood is known as a writer of dystopic science fiction, but in Alias Grace, Atwood delves in to the past. The story takes place in 1859 and chronicles psychologist Dr. Simon Jordan’s attempts to unearth the buried memories of Grace Marks. Jordan hopes to find the truth about what really happened in the murder that Grace has been convicted of. The story is told both from his and Marks’s perspectives and investigates the mysterious workings of memory and the human mind.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Though decidedly less realistic and far more dystopian, Aldous Huxley’s seminal piece also delves into what makes the human mind tick. Rather than focusing on the things we cannot control, as Chiang does in “Story of Your Life,” Brave New World explores how understanding the workings of the human mind might be used to control people. Huxley’s vision of mind manipulation is as dark and full of hopelessness as Chiang’s is illuminating and full of acceptance.