Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An Open Letter to the Chinese Science Fiction Community

Roughly seven years ago, at the suggestion of my then-editor, Jennie Bai, I wrote a column explaining the workings of the Hugo Award for Science Fiction World. I ended the column by pointing out that it was perfectly possible for a Chinese writer to win the award and suggested that one of my readers might be the first one to do so.

At the time, I thought it would happen a decade or two from now.

Last Saturday, I was present at the Hugo Awards ceremony at Sasquan, the World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, when Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem won the Hugo for Best Novel. The applause was thunderous. But nobody applauded harder than me.

I applauded chiefly because as a reader I loved the book and because as a writer I admired Liu's ideas. But I was also applauding the entire science fiction community for how rapidly you made my prediction come true.

It does not diminish Cixin Liu's accomplishment to observe that no book is written in isolation. A novelist writes with the example of those who came before him, and in awareness of what his peers are writing as well. He also requires the support of editors, publishers, reviewers, and most particularly readers. So in part credit for the award goes to everybody who has worked so hard to make science fiction a respectable form of literature in China.

Congratulations, then, to all of you.  Most particularly, of course, to Cixin Liu.



Ruhan Zhao said...

Thanks for the post. May I repost this article on my Chinese blog, so that Chinese readers can see it?

Michael Swanwick said...

Yes,of course, Ruhan. Everything on my blog is free for all. But I very much appreciate your asking.

Ruhan Zhao said...

Thanks, Michael! I have posted it here: . Actually, I have also translated into Chinese.:)