Friday, June 17, 2016

Introducing Liu Cixin


The industrious Carl Slaughter has published an interview with Chinese SF superstar Liu Cixin (or, as his name is rendered in English translation, Cixin Liu) over in File 770. It is emblematic of how difficult it is for Americans to receive news of overseas SF that this interview took two long years, several intermediaries and more than one translator to get here. (The current version is by, one almost says "of course," Ken Liu, whose translations have become the gold standard for Chinese SF.)

Liu Cixin is best known for The Three-Body Problem, volume one of a hard-SF trilogy of the same name, which was the first science fiction novel to become a mainstream best-seller in China, and the first translated work to the the Hugo Award. More significant, I feel, is the fact that his fellow science fiction writers in China are in awe of his work. I'm a big fan of this guy.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

 Since the 80s, China has been introduced to a large amount of foreign (mainly English) science fiction.  Some influential American science fiction has been translated and published in China.  The publication cycle has been greatly shortened.  For example, when stories win a Hugo/Nebula, they are soon after published in China.  Foreign publishing in China is still in infancy and quantity is tiny.  “The Three Body Problem” is the only Chinese science fiction novel published in English.  It won a Hugo.  Some Chinese writers have appeared in western magazines and websites.  There are 2 Chinese writers published in Nature.  In my opinion, science fiction is the most global literature because it deals with issues relevant to all races.  So I prefer English speaking science fiction fans read my novel because it’s science fiction, not because it’s “Chinese” science fiction.

You can read the entire interview here.


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