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Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation
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Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation

5.0 1
by Ken Liu
 

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Award-winning translator and author Ken Liu presents a collection of short speculative fiction from China. Some stories have won awards (including Hao Jingfang’s Hugo-winning novella, Folding Beijing); some have been included in various 'Year's Best' anthologies; some have been well reviewed by critics and readers; and some are simply Ken's

Overview

Award-winning translator and author Ken Liu presents a collection of short speculative fiction from China. Some stories have won awards (including Hao Jingfang’s Hugo-winning novella, Folding Beijing); some have been included in various 'Year's Best' anthologies; some have been well reviewed by critics and readers; and some are simply Ken's personal favorites. Many of the authors collected here (with the obvious exception of New York Times bestseller Liu Cixin’s two stories) belong to the younger generation of 'rising stars'. In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore Chinese science fiction. Liu Cixin's essay, The Worst of All Possible Universes and The Best of All Possible Earths, gives a historical overview of SF in China and situates his own rise to prominence as the premier Chinese author within that context. Chen Qiufan's The Torn Generation gives the view of a younger generation of authors trying to come to terms with the tumultuous transformations around them. Finally, Xia Jia, who holds the first Ph.D. issued for the study of Chinese SF, asks What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/01/2016
This stellar anthology of 13 stories selected and translated by Liu (the Dandelion Dynasty series) brings the best of Chinese science fiction to anglophones. Liu Cixin’s “Taking Care of God” relates the social problems that arise when the ancient interstellar travelers who created human civilization return to Earth and ask to be taken in by their creations. Ma Boyong’s “The City of Silence” is set in an Orwellian future where Internet access and all forms of communications are rigidly controlled by a totalitarian government, and Xia Jia’s “Night Journey of the Dragon-Horse” takes place in a Bradburyesque postapocalyptic world where machines have outlived the humans who engineered them. The title tale by Hao Jingfang is a sprightly tour of a series of imaginary planets; on each one, the culture of the inhabitants is shaped by the peculiarities of their environment. Although greatly varied in theme and approach, all of these stories impress with their visionary sweep and scope. The inclusion of three essays on the significance of science fiction to China and its writers underscores the thoughtfulness that Liu put into curating this superb compilation. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Nov.)
Library Journal
11/15/2016
Before Liu Cixin won the Hugo Award in 2015 for The Three-Body Problem, most Americans would probably have had trouble naming a Chinese sf author. Hoping to change this lack of awareness, editor and translator Liu (The Wall of Storms) begins this collection with a useful introduction to the big names in the genre. Chen Qiufan's three stories all feature melancholic protagonists; in "The Flower of Shazui," the hero helps a prostitute to atone for his past crime. Xia Jia's stories are dreamier, with "A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight" featuring a young boy raised on a street of ghosts, and "Tongtong's Summer," which explores the possibility of remote-controlled androids through the POV of a little girl. There are also two contributions from Cixin. VERDICT The 13 tales here demonstrate a wide range of styles. Most have won awards in China, but some are just Liu's favorites. Additional essays provides context for readers new to Chinese sf.—MM
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-08-22
In this anthology, Liu offers an assortment of the short fiction he’s translated, along with three short essays about Chinese science fiction. Some stories in this anthology have won awards and been anthologized elsewhere, while others are just stories Liu personally enjoys. In his introduction, he points out that although China has a rich science-fiction culture, “few stories are translated into English, making it hard for non-Chinese readers to appreciate them.” Hopefully, this collection is the first step toward rectifying that oversight, as every story is captivating. For instance, Hao Jingfang’s “Folding Beijing” takes place in a near-future dystopian version of the title city, where its buildings literally telescope out of and into the Earth, allowing three different strata of society to spend a portion of the day aboveground. A waste processor from the poorest level, Third Space, must slip through the breaches in the complex folding mechanism to deliver a letter to a woman in the far wealthier First Space in order to earn enough money to send his daughter to a good school. In “Taking Care of God” by Liu Cixin—author of The Three-Body Problem (2014), the first novel in translation to win the Hugo Award—who also contributes two essays here, a race of beings arrives on Earth, 2 billion old men and women with long white hair and white robes. They claim that they are God, creators of everything, and they now want to spend their golden years here with us. They’re taken in by people around the world, including Qiusheng’s family in rural China, which quickly learns how stressful housing an elderly relation can be. These stories, along with the rest of the anthology, represent the best in both science fiction and works in translation, detailing situations that appear alien on the surface but deftly reframe contemporary issues to give readers a new view of familiar human experiences.A phenomenal anthology of short speculative fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765384195
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
11/01/2016
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
101,851
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

KEN LIU (editor and translator) is a writer, lawyer, and computer programmer. His short story “The Paper Menagerie” was the first work of fiction ever to sweep the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards.

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Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
A collection of insightful stories into a different way of looking at things. The essays are essential reading.