Ken Liu “Invisible Planets” (Tor, 2016)
With the successful publication of Liu Cixin’s Three Body Problem there has been a higher profile to Chinese SF. I still haven’t read 3BP or any of the sequels, but have to say that I am somewhat intrigued. My hesitation, and the reason it still resides in Mount TBR is the comparison to “classic SF”. I’m by no means a classicist, & quite frankly have real problems with the genre before the New Wave.
But an anthology did seem like a great way to have a tasting of the SF that is being written in China.
I was a bit apprehensive, expecting it to all read like short stories from 1950. You know, things that (to me) seem more like engineering word problems than actual stories.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered how wonderful this collection actually is! It feels contemporary. It feels literary. Absolutely wonderful.
There is a through line of the authors writing about life in authoritarian societies that I found particularly compelling. Will American fiction feel like this in a decade or two?
I was absolutely blown away by this collection & really can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m looking forward to reading more from these writers.