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New Treasures: Invisible Planets, edited by Ken Liu

Friday, December 9th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

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Ken Liu’s been having a heck of a year. His English language translation of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem helped the book win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015, and his first collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, appeared in hardcover from Saga Press in March. And the second volume in his new fantasy epic, The Dandelion Dynasty, arrived in October (read the first chapter right here at Black Gate).

That should be enough for anyone… but not for him, apparently. Last month Liu released his first anthology, a groundbreaking collection of SF stories from China that is getting a lot of attention. Invisible Planets is available now in hardcover. Don’t look for a review here any time soon… I didn’t mail our advance copy out to our reviewers, because I refused to part with it.

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?

Invisible Planets was published by Tor Books on November 1, 2016. It is 384 pages, priced at $24.99 in hardcover and $11.99 for the digital edition.

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