Ted Chiang is one of my favorite authors. I like the name conceptual fiction for the kind of stories he writes – they’re the kind that completely alter your sense of reality. If you’re fond of, say, Slaughterhouse 5, then you’ll probably really enjoy his writing.
His story called Exhalation won the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. Here’s how it starts:
It has long been said that air (which others call argon) is the source of life. This is not in fact the case, and I engrave these words to describe how I came to understand the true source of life and, as a corollary, the means by which life will one day end.
He’s also written my all-time-favorite short story, called Story of Your Life, which I will happily push in your face in the hope that it will totally blow your mind as much as it did mine.