Stories of Your Life is a collection of eight stories from 1990-2001 that comes with a little note at the end meant to "inspire" the reader to learn more. Very earnest. I really liked the ideas... but it was like listening to college roommates discuss philosophical ideas.... each story was (as the notes make clear) a philosophical idea that they got turned into a story. So the writing isn't fluid, and feels forced. Not like Chiang's story "Exhalation" (of 2009) that I thought was really nicely written.
The Lifecycle of Software Objects, which I finished over the last two days, is much better. But not quite Kazuo Ishiguro-quality. The novella is very reminiscent of Never Let Me Go, the difference being that Ishiguro is such a great writer that he can take the point of view of the clones, while Chiang is still not quite ready for that challenge (which he did rather well in Exhalation) and so he does the safer thing, narrating from the viewpoint of the "creator". But the novella is wonderful reading nevertheless, and Chiang does a remarkably economical job of conveying personality, character change, and a realistic and likely world of the future (i.e. about 25 years ahead). It is the genre of Pinocchio stories (AI, Hal-2000, etc.) and I would love to teach a freshman seminar someday reflecting on this genre... what makes us human, after all?
I am looking forward to reading more from Chiang... I mean, I'm waiting for Vonnegut's future dog to deliver more stories, because I don't remember Chiang's future stories yet.