Invisible Planets: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF in Translation
Ed. by Ken Liu
The just-completed English translation of Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem trilogy has triggered a growing interest in Chinese SF, and this collection of stories by seven contemporary practitioners, including Cixin Liu, provides readers with an excellent introduction to the territory.
Is there anything distinctly Chinese about Chinese SF? In his introduction, Ken Liu, the translator and a respected SF author in his own right, expresses doubts. He does, however, include a selection of helpful essays on the subject that offer other points of view.
Of course there is no form of writing, no matter how speculative, that can be entirely divorced from its particular cultural environment. Yes, the stories here address universal SF themes, but they also tell us a lot about China today, or at least how it is imagined.