|Genre(s)||Science fiction novelette|
|Published in||Asimov's Science Fiction|
|Publication date||August 1991|
Understand is a science fiction novelette published in 1991 by Ted Chiang. It was nominated for the 1992 Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and won the 1992 Asimov’s Reader Poll. The story has been recorded by Rhashan Stone and broadcast as a four-part series on BBC Radio 7.
The story follows a man who is given an experimental drug to heal brain damage caused by anoxia after he nearly drowns. The drug regenerates his damaged neurons and has the unintended side effect of exponentially improving his intellect and motor skills. As he gets smarter and smarter, he is pursued by several government agencies and eventually receives a message from—and then enters into conflict with—another super-intelligent test subject.