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"Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom" is a new story published in Ted Chiang's collection Exhalation. The story is about a future technology called “prisms.” “In colloquial terms, the prism created two newly divergent time lines … and it allowed communication between the two.” The ability to talk to one’s doppelgänger in an alternate time line has a massive and complex impact on society and individuals, including an epidemic of existential crises: “Many worried that their choices were rendered meaningless because every action they took was counterbalanced by a branch in which they had made the opposite choice.” The story follows Nat, who works at a prism rental shop called SelfTalk, and Dana, a therapist who specializes in treating the various pathologies that arise from the new technology. The intersection of the two women’s lives leads to a captivating and fateful ethical dilemma.

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