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Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation

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Broken Stars, edited by multi award-winning writer Ken Liu - translator of the bestselling and Hugo Award-winning novel The Three Body Problem by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu - is his second thought-provoking anthology of Chinese short speculative fiction. Following Invisible Planets, Liu has now assembled the most comprehensive collection yet available in the Englis Broken Stars, edited by multi award-winning writer Ken Liu - translator of the bestselling and Hugo Award-winning novel The Three Body Problem by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu - is his second thought-provoking anthology of Chinese short speculative fiction. Following Invisible Planets, Liu has now assembled the most comprehensive collection yet available in the English language, sure to thrill and gratify readers developing a taste and excitement for Chinese SF. Some of the included authors are already familiar to readers in the West (Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang, both Hugo winners); some are publishing in English for the first time. Because of the growing interest in newer SFF from China, virtually every story here was first published in Chinese in the 2010s. The stories span the range from short-shorts to novellas, and evoke every hue on the emotional spectrum. Besides stories firmly entrenched in subgenres familiar to Western SFF readers such as hard SF, cyberpunk, science fantasy, and space opera, the anthology also includes stories that showcase deeper ties to Chinese culture: alternate Chinese history, chuanyue time travel, satire with historical and contemporary allusions that are likely unknown to the average Western reader. While the anthology makes no claim or attempt to be "representative" or "comprehensive," it demonstrates the vibrancy and diversity of science fiction being written in China at this moment. In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore the history of Chinese science fiction publishing, the state of contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in science fiction in China has impacted writers who had long labored in obscurity. Stories include: "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia "The Snow of Jinyang" by Zhang Ran "Broken Stars" by Tang Fei "Submarines" by Han Song "Salinger and the Koreans" by Han Song "Under a Dangling Sky" by Cheng Jingbo "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu "The New Year Train" by Hao Jingfang "The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales" by Fei Dao "Moonlight" by Liu Cixin "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge" by Anna Wu "The First Emperor's Games" by Ma Boyong "Reflection" by Gu Shi "The Brain Box" by Regina Kanyu Wang "Coming of the Light" by Chen Qiufan "A History of Future Illnesses" by Chen Qiufan Essays: "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom," by Regina Kanyu Wang, "A New Continent for China Scholars: Chinese Science Fiction Studies" by Mingwei Song "Science Fiction: Embarrassing No More" by Fei Dao For more Chinese SF in translation, check out Invisible Planets.


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Broken Stars, edited by multi award-winning writer Ken Liu - translator of the bestselling and Hugo Award-winning novel The Three Body Problem by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu - is his second thought-provoking anthology of Chinese short speculative fiction. Following Invisible Planets, Liu has now assembled the most comprehensive collection yet available in the Englis Broken Stars, edited by multi award-winning writer Ken Liu - translator of the bestselling and Hugo Award-winning novel The Three Body Problem by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu - is his second thought-provoking anthology of Chinese short speculative fiction. Following Invisible Planets, Liu has now assembled the most comprehensive collection yet available in the English language, sure to thrill and gratify readers developing a taste and excitement for Chinese SF. Some of the included authors are already familiar to readers in the West (Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang, both Hugo winners); some are publishing in English for the first time. Because of the growing interest in newer SFF from China, virtually every story here was first published in Chinese in the 2010s. The stories span the range from short-shorts to novellas, and evoke every hue on the emotional spectrum. Besides stories firmly entrenched in subgenres familiar to Western SFF readers such as hard SF, cyberpunk, science fantasy, and space opera, the anthology also includes stories that showcase deeper ties to Chinese culture: alternate Chinese history, chuanyue time travel, satire with historical and contemporary allusions that are likely unknown to the average Western reader. While the anthology makes no claim or attempt to be "representative" or "comprehensive," it demonstrates the vibrancy and diversity of science fiction being written in China at this moment. In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore the history of Chinese science fiction publishing, the state of contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in science fiction in China has impacted writers who had long labored in obscurity. Stories include: "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia "The Snow of Jinyang" by Zhang Ran "Broken Stars" by Tang Fei "Submarines" by Han Song "Salinger and the Koreans" by Han Song "Under a Dangling Sky" by Cheng Jingbo "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu "The New Year Train" by Hao Jingfang "The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales" by Fei Dao "Moonlight" by Liu Cixin "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge" by Anna Wu "The First Emperor's Games" by Ma Boyong "Reflection" by Gu Shi "The Brain Box" by Regina Kanyu Wang "Coming of the Light" by Chen Qiufan "A History of Future Illnesses" by Chen Qiufan Essays: "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom," by Regina Kanyu Wang, "A New Continent for China Scholars: Chinese Science Fiction Studies" by Mingwei Song "Science Fiction: Embarrassing No More" by Fei Dao For more Chinese SF in translation, check out Invisible Planets.

30 review for Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Ken Liu openly states in his introduction that these stories are selected based on his tastes. There is a variety of some known Chinese science fiction writers, and some new voices. Most of them were new to me as I'm woefully behind on books like the Three Body Problem, among others. There is also an earlier volume of Chinese science fiction in translation that is probably worth the read. Not only are there stories in this anthology, but three essays about the current state of Chinese science fic Ken Liu openly states in his introduction that these stories are selected based on his tastes. There is a variety of some known Chinese science fiction writers, and some new voices. Most of them were new to me as I'm woefully behind on books like the Three Body Problem, among others. There is also an earlier volume of Chinese science fiction in translation that is probably worth the read. Not only are there stories in this anthology, but three essays about the current state of Chinese science fiction. I was fascinated to find out that contemporary acceptance of the genre in its home country is very recent, as the genre was widely disregarded up until just a few years ago (and I'm guessing not everyone is on board yet.) There are some stories focusing on technology in this anthology, but honestly not as many as I would have expected if I'd had to guess. Many are time travel or have time travel components, or are taking a part of known Chinese history and tweaking it, falling almost to alternate history, although sometimes these elements are merely the backdrop. This means you will enjoy the stories even more if you know about Chinese history and aren't just reading them cold. One story had a connection to a well-loved British science fiction novel, a reference even I understood. I did like how for the most part, these are not just copies or versions of stories from the west. These are inherently Chinese, and I'm so glad to see more of this type of work being translated into English. Length wise I felt there were too many on the novelette length size, with different numbered sections. Ken Liu must like his stories a bit longer. Thanks to the publisher for providing access to the title through Edelweiss, even though it took me a while to get to. The collection came out in February 2019.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    This is Ken Liu's second collection of contemporary science fiction after Invisible Planets and it is a great read. There is a wide variety of styles and lots of female authors. I hope some more of their longer work gets translated into English. Makes me want to go back and re-read The Three Body Problem and I grabbed a Kindle version of Waste Tide as well!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    Favorite stories: "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia (a reread for me, I enjoyed it even more the second time) "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu (it's a love story where historical events run backwards, and it made me cry) "The First Emperor's Games" by Ma Boyong (a ton of fun and kind of similar in concept to "The Snow of Jinyang", but worked better because it was short) My rating is probably more accurately 3.5 stars, if I average out what I would rate each story. There are Favorite stories: "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia (a reread for me, I enjoyed it even more the second time) "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu (it's a love story where historical events run backwards, and it made me cry) "The First Emperor's Games" by Ma Boyong (a ton of fun and kind of similar in concept to "The Snow of Jinyang", but worked better because it was short) My rating is probably more accurately 3.5 stars, if I average out what I would rate each story. There are two lengthy stories in the middle - "The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales" and "The Snow of Jinyang" - that I simply did not find interesting. I tried reading both when they were first published in Clarkesworld, and ended up skim-reading them then and again this time. I felt like they were too long. I was also a little thrown off by "Broken Stars" by Tang Fei - somehow it started off with a girl in school and struggling with friendships, then ended in insanity, death, and forced cannibalism. Uh.... I also loved the first essay, "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom" by Regina Kanyu Wang. I read parts of this a while ago when it was published in Mithila Review, and reread the whole thing this time. It was very informative! Overall, I love that we're getting more translated SFF and Ken Liu's translation work and rate of output has simply been amazing over the past few years. Even if I don't love all the stories, I really appreciate that I get to read them and see another side to SFF. Hopefully there will be a third anthology in a few years!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Great collection of stories, more in the speculative fiction range than sci-fi, all of them with original ideas and fine writing. Also, the three essays at the end are a very informative and interesting journey in the origins and history of Chinese science fiction literature. Here's one thing: "the first text in the science fiction genre can be found [in China] as early as 450 BC to 375 BC". Who would have thought that someone from that age had been thinking about automatons... To my shame, except Great collection of stories, more in the speculative fiction range than sci-fi, all of them with original ideas and fine writing. Also, the three essays at the end are a very informative and interesting journey in the origins and history of Chinese science fiction literature. Here's one thing: "the first text in the science fiction genre can be found [in China] as early as 450 BC to 375 BC". Who would have thought that someone from that age had been thinking about automatons... To my shame, except Liu Cixin and a few others, I don't seem to be able to recall the writers' names without looking for them. But what I can tell for sure is that all have unique voices and interesting subjects. Most of them are quite depressing but so beautiful written. And I incline to believe that Ken Liu's wonderful job in translating them is part of the beauty of the stories. Highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Chinese Dystopias: "Broken Stars - Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation" by Ken Liu Dystopian fiction is always a bit frustrating, possibly because, as a depressive, it mirrors the way I catastrophise stupid little problems. I know that that impulse is irrational, so it's weird for an author to essentially explain why it isn't. Too often, dystopian fiction is anti-technology, relying on very conservative, slippery-slope l If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Chinese Dystopias: "Broken Stars - Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation" by Ken Liu Dystopian fiction is always a bit frustrating, possibly because, as a depressive, it mirrors the way I catastrophise stupid little problems. I know that that impulse is irrational, so it's weird for an author to essentially explain why it isn't. Too often, dystopian fiction is anti-technology, relying on very conservative, slippery-slope logic. We invent x thing, and years later, society is a trainwreck and we're supposed to blame the invention, rather than the litany of terrible decisions that would have to have been made since its invention. I'm glad that this trend seems to be dying out in fiction, tbh, and that how we actually get to a bad place is seen as worth exploring, rather than just taking as read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kalin

    A wonderfully diverse (and wonderfully translated) anthology. Highly recommended. My impressions of the individual stories are here: https://choveshkata.net/forum/viewtop... A wonderfully diverse (and wonderfully translated) anthology. Highly recommended. My impressions of the individual stories are here: https://choveshkata.net/forum/viewtop...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    If you look back to my review of Invisible Planets , I praised Ken Liu for bringing more Chinese SFF to Western audiences after the flashbulb-debut of Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past and delighted in the seven writers' works he'd selected for the collection. Going into Broken Stars I was hoping it would hit some of the highs of the first collection--Folding Beijing still sticks with me!--and introduce some new voices. Liu certainly went bigger on this one: we've got a higher page coun If you look back to my review of Invisible Planets , I praised Ken Liu for bringing more Chinese SFF to Western audiences after the flashbulb-debut of Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past and delighted in the seven writers' works he'd selected for the collection. Going into Broken Stars I was hoping it would hit some of the highs of the first collection--Folding Beijing still sticks with me!--and introduce some new voices. Liu certainly went bigger on this one: we've got a higher page count, twice the number of authors, and a wider variety of stories. As is my experience with most short story collections, I rarely love a everything the whole way through. If there's going to be ups and downs in a collection from a single author, you can bet that most anthologies are going to take an even more tumultuous ride. Indeed, that's the case with Broken Stars which was a little disappointing when held next to Invisible Planets. As you can tell by the almost five months it took me to get through the collection, I was never compelled to return to the stories for more than half of the read. Luckily, to my tastes, some of the later stories were terrific: both Chen Qiufan stories were superbly dark, Ma Boyong's The Emperor's First Games was cute, and Anna Wu's recurring restaurant story parlour had me looking for more. Baoshu, too, comes through with What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear a sci-fi story that imagines Chinese history happening in reverse, and redeems him in my mind after the execrable The Redemption of Time . Some of the other novellas and short stories bored me with their ideas or execution, and it's a shame that they make up almost half of the collection. In his introduction, the unstoppable Ken Liu talks about Invisible Planets being curated to suit a general audience, while Broken Stars hews more to Liu's personal taste. This means we get samples of genres unique to Chinese SFF. For instance, chuanyue time travel stories send a modern person back in time to engage in court intrigue with advanced technical knowledge. Some of the stories here worked better for me than others, but I do appreciate seeing the wide variety of style and genre that's out there. Indeed, a space opera like Liu Cixin's would have been unimaginable to me before I read it, but is now a personal benchmark for SFF. In the end, I think readers' experience with this collection will be like my own: variable. If you're a SFF fan, you'll definitely find something that scratches an itch or a story that presents interesting new ideas. I was never taken aback by stunning writing, but it was seldom that I noticed particularly bad writing either. I'm kind of hoping this isn't the last instalment in this series as I'd love to dig into more contemporary Chinese SFF without committing to some of the novel-length translations Liu's been pumping out. Really though, I'm excited to move on to a short story collection that's nothing like this. It's time for a bit of fresh air!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Silvana

    Ah, Ken Liu, I guess our taste differs this time. I enjoyed Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation more than this one. The stories in there are more touching. This one felt a bit more distant, and I am not sure why there are stories with so many Western pop culture references in there. Good effort, nonetheless. The highlights from this anthology for me: "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia Any AI/robot fans need to read this. Hands down, Xia Jia, you are one of the bes Ah, Ken Liu, I guess our taste differs this time. I enjoyed Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation more than this one. The stories in there are more touching. This one felt a bit more distant, and I am not sure why there are stories with so many Western pop culture references in there. Good effort, nonetheless. The highlights from this anthology for me: "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia Any AI/robot fans need to read this. Hands down, Xia Jia, you are one of the best short fiction writers in my book. "Moonlight" by Liu Cixin Amusing what-ifs. Going straight to my Hugo ballot, this one is. "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu The reverse time arrow idea might not be original, but the way it was stitched together still makes it endearing. "Coming of the Light" and "A History of Future Illnesses" by Chen Qiufan These are two separate stories but both have the same somewhat disturbing, often droll and very possible scenarios in our tech-laden and device-dependent world. There are three essays at the end and I absolutely enjoyed the first one: "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom" by Regina Kanyu Wang. I did not know there were quite a few established SF magazines and at least two SF organizations with regular cons as well as various clubs in China. We barely have one club in Indonesia (that I know).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    Another excellent collection which was translated by Ken Liu but which includes various Chinese SF stories by an array of the writers who are currently making waves. The stories were diverse and mostly enjoyable, although a few were a little less interesting to me as a Western reader because I couldn't relate as easily to them as I had wanted to, but in general even these had a fascinating undertone to them. Some comments on individual stories below: 86.04% "Chen Quifan's Coming of The Light was Another excellent collection which was translated by Ken Liu but which includes various Chinese SF stories by an array of the writers who are currently making waves. The stories were diverse and mostly enjoyable, although a few were a little less interesting to me as a Western reader because I couldn't relate as easily to them as I had wanted to, but in general even these had a fascinating undertone to them. Some comments on individual stories below: 86.04% "Chen Quifan's Coming of The Light was a bit of a miss for me. This is the second if Quifan's works which had a lot of potential but which I didn't particularly love. There's loads of good ideas but I just don't think they pay off for me personally. 2*s" 79.79% "Regina Kanyu Wang's Brain Box was a stream of consciousness experiment into what it's like to know your last thoughts are recorded. Fascinating but very short. 3.5*s." 73.96% "Reflection by Gu Shi was short but a poignant if predictable. 3*s." 73.96% "Ma Boyong's The First Emperor's Games was a really fun and short story about an emperor who just wants to play video games. Lots of references :) 4*s" 71.04% "Anna Wu's Restaurant at the end of the Universe: Laba Porridge - 2*s. Better if you've read Douglas Adams, but even so not really my thing." 67.71% "The Snow of Jinyang - Zhang Ran was a DNF. Think the context of this was too hard for me being very culturally different and very heavy on politics..." 54.37% "The Robot Who Liked To Tell Tall Tales by Fei Dao was fun, I liked the adventure and the mini tales the robot went on and told, and Death, and enjoy the meanings in this too. 4*s" 48.54% "The New Year Train by Hao Jingfang was a short but nice read 3*s." 31.04% "Cheng Jingbo's Under A Dangling Sky is beautiful and almost fantasy in tone. It's a retelling of Delphinus and it's soft and easy to enjoy 3.5*s" 27.71% "Salinger and the Koreans by Han Song was not my favourite. Probably as it felt very foreign through the use of Korea and USA as the focus and Salinger who I haven't read before. 2*s" 26.46% "Submarines by Han Song was a short but sad story about the world of the peasants who moored their subs in the Yangtze River. 3*s." 24.17% "Moonlight by Lui Cixin - 3*s. Definitely a fascinating idea of the butterfly effect, but also a glimpse at why trying to help can actually hinder. Tang Fei's Broken Stars. - 3*s. A reread for me but a story I still enjoyed the second time around. A pale woman who can supposedly read the stars... A father who tries to please and a girl who hides herself until she's forced out of her shell." 12.71% "Just read 'Goodbye, Melancholy' by Xia Jia which was a fascinating story of two people woven together and AI and humans. The story plays on the real life of Alan Turing, and the fictionalised life of Lindy and AIs. The blend between history and fiction is blurry and yet fascinating, and I loved the ideas which were explored in a semi and fully fictionalised way. Definitely recommend, 4*s." On the whole, 4*s though I think the previous collection had more stories which worked for me personally, but I always want to see more translated SF.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    We played and fought, fought and played, and before we knew it, our childhood had escaped us. —"What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear," by Baoshu, p.155 When we—science fiction fans in the United States, that is—were growing up back in the 20th Century, most of the stories we read and told ourselves reassured us that the future was ours. Over and over, the same unspoken assumptions were the backdrop for so many extrapolative English-language epics: the U.S. would be large and in charge for We played and fought, fought and played, and before we knew it, our childhood had escaped us. —"What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear," by Baoshu, p.155 When we—science fiction fans in the United States, that is—were growing up back in the 20th Century, most of the stories we read and told ourselves reassured us that the future was ours. Over and over, the same unspoken assumptions were the backdrop for so many extrapolative English-language epics: the U.S. would be large and in charge for centuries, at least. The Soviet Union would probably be hanging around, too, and so the Cold War too would remain, as always, an eternal stalemate between near-equal rivals. And China? Oh, that benighted behemoth would forever be in third place at best, its teeming peasant billions contributing only an occasional bit player to the really important pageant of futurity... If any of that were ever really the case, it certainly doesn't seem so now—or, to put it more bluntly: we were wrong, wrong in almost every particular. The U.S.S.R. is no more; the U.S.A.'s grip on the future seems more precarious with every executive tweet; and China has become a political and technological powerhouse that absolutely can not be (and of course should never have been) overlooked or ignored. Perversely, that very realization made me at first a little reluctant to pick up Broken Stars, Ken Liu's second anthology of Chinese SF in translation—but don't you make the same mistake. These are good stories, with that good ol' spark—the combination of the familiar here-and-now with the exotic there-and-then—that we (and by "we" now I mean speculative-fiction fans of whatever stripe) are always looking for. You believe that the root of the problem is that each of us lives on a thin, smooth layer of illusions. These illusions are made up from "common sense," from repetitive daily linguistic acts and clichés, from imitating each other. On this iridescent film, we perform ourselves. —"Goodnight, Melancholy," by Xia Jia, p.49 Editor and translator (and notable sf author in his own right) Ken Liu is in an enviable position—able to pick and choose from the sfnal output of an entire country. Broken Stars is Liu's second such anthology, following on Invisible Planets. But I found it interesting that there were so many references to Western commonplaces, like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Salvador Dalí and the like. Is the consistent Westward gaze of these stories common to Chinese SF in general, or are we seeing Liu's selection bias, his way of making Chinese SF in translation more familiar and accessible? It was language, not tools, that separated humans from apes. The bridge between the signifier and the signified connected the world of subjectivity with the physical world. —"A History of Future Illnesses," by Chen Qiufan, p.441 Science fiction in the United States has been through some rocky times, and has definitely had to struggle to be taken seriously, but Chinese science fiction has—repeatedly—had to go through much worse. The essays that conclude Broken Stars chronicle periods when Chinese SF couldn't be published at all: However, the history of Chinese science fiction has never been a continuous one. —"A New Continent for China Scholars," by Mingwei Song, p.468The 21st Century so far, though, has been a period where both Chinese and American SF have flowered—along with the speculative fictions of many other countries. Maybe it was never an either/or choice. Maybe the future doesn't belong to the U.S. after all. Maybe, instead, it belongs to us—to the dreamers, that is, of whatever nationality, who have the audacity to probe the future with our words.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Broken Stars is a collection of contemporary science fiction short stories in translation, edited by Ken Liu. These stories all come from the burgeoning science fiction genre in China. Stories are varied, from fantastical tales akin to Chinese myth and legend, to historical Wu XIa style stories, conventional science fiction, and even copypasta. Topics range from AI and its interaction with depression, to morality tales, to time travel fiction. These stories are generally of high quality, and are Broken Stars is a collection of contemporary science fiction short stories in translation, edited by Ken Liu. These stories all come from the burgeoning science fiction genre in China. Stories are varied, from fantastical tales akin to Chinese myth and legend, to historical Wu XIa style stories, conventional science fiction, and even copypasta. Topics range from AI and its interaction with depression, to morality tales, to time travel fiction. These stories are generally of high quality, and are oftentimes very interesting. My favourite in this collection is the first story; Goodnight, Melancholy, by Xia Jia. This story follows a young woman grappling with depression and technology in the near future, during a bout of depression and self isolation. Other stand outs include Baoshu's What has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear, where people age forward, but global events happen backward. Liu Cixin's Moonlight is also interesting, about a man contacted by future selves trying to solve global crisis. The themes here are varied, but the stories themselves are interesting and certainly worth reading. Fans of Chinese science fiction, or those looking for a good introduction - or just fans of the genre itself will find this interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Ken Liu mentions in his introduction for Broken Stars that he curated it by selecting stories that he enjoyed and thought were memorable. I like to think our tastes overlap quite a fair bit since there are a number of stories that really stuck out to me. Some of these Xia Jia’s “Goodnight, Melancholy”, Baoshu’s “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear”, Tang Fei’s “Broken Stars” and Fei Dao’s “The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales”. Aside from the three essays about the history and rise of Ken Liu mentions in his introduction for Broken Stars that he curated it by selecting stories that he enjoyed and thought were memorable. I like to think our tastes overlap quite a fair bit since there are a number of stories that really stuck out to me. Some of these Xia Jia’s “Goodnight, Melancholy”, Baoshu’s “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear”, Tang Fei’s “Broken Stars” and Fei Dao’s “The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales”. Aside from the three essays about the history and rise of Chinese SF, my copy of Broken Stars (the stunning Kinokuniya edition) also comes with a bonus essay from Hao Jingfang (known for her “Folding Beijing”). I thought the essays were interesting to read, but I have to say I find myself enjoying the stories more. Or some of them, anyway. It's interesting to learn more about Chinese SF as a whole while being treated to a collection that really shows off how wonderfully diverse it can be.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Thanks so Cixin Liu and Ken Liu, I've become a big fan of Chinese science fiction over the years, both long novels and short stories. In this anthology, Ken Liu presents (and translates) an anthology of sixteen short stories by fourteen Chinese science fiction writers, as well as three essays on the history and rise of Chinese science fiction. The stories varied in their appeal to me but there are some corkers. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

  14. 4 out of 5

    robinie

    I can't believe I actually enjoyed reading this book. I have picked up Sci-Fi books before - like The Martian by Andy Weir - but never managed to finish any of those. However, this one is a bit different from the Sci-Fi books I read in the past. Broken Stars / Zerbrochene Sterne is a collection of short stories by China's finest Sci-Fi writers like Cixin Liu, and the majority of these short stories don't have a strong Sci-Fi element to them. That is why this book was perfect for someone like me I can't believe I actually enjoyed reading this book. I have picked up Sci-Fi books before - like The Martian by Andy Weir - but never managed to finish any of those. However, this one is a bit different from the Sci-Fi books I read in the past. Broken Stars / Zerbrochene Sterne is a collection of short stories by China's finest Sci-Fi writers like Cixin Liu, and the majority of these short stories don't have a strong Sci-Fi element to them. That is why this book was perfect for someone like me who easily feels lost in a Sci-Fi universe and has a hard time imagining the crazy things the authors describe. The short stories I enjoyed the most were the following: - What Has Passed Shall In Kinder Light Appear / Großes steht bevor by Baoshu This is the longest short story in this anthology. It deals with the question of how the world would look like if we regressed technology wise. Can you imagine a world without the internet? Without emails? Without social media? Without high def TVs? A clever story that shows just how much we depend on technology nowadays. Loved this one! - The Restaurant at the end of universe: Laba Porridge / Das Restaurant am Ende des Universums: Laba Porridge by Anna Wu If you go to this restaurant and you have a better story to tell than all the other guests (who come from different planets), the head cook will personally prepare your food. And the best thing about it: You won't have to pay a dime. When Ah Chen enters the restaurant, Mo, the cook's daughter, instinctively knows that he has the greatest story to tell. And he does. It is the story of a poor, uninspired and unsuccessful author who doesn't flinch from sacrificing his life and his soul for the ability to write an outstanding book that no publisher would ever reject. An awesome read that reminded me of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" due to Ah Chen's obsession with the vision of becoming a successful author and his willingness to do anything to get there. - Reflection / Spiegelbild by Gu Shi "Reflection" tells the story of Mark who gets acquainted with a young girl who can see the future. That's all I want to reveal about the plot because the less you know, the better. This story didn't feel like a sci-fi story to me at all. The best part of it was the ending. It totally caught me off guard because for some reason, I didn't think a Sci-Fi-story would have such a twist in store for me. But it did - and it was great! The rest of the anthology was pretty mediocre. The only story I didn't like at all was the first one by Xia Jia. I didn't get the point of that story; I have no idea what the author was trying to tell me. But all in all, I enjoyed this book a lot!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zoe's Human

    Exceptional in breadth and depth, this anthology is nothing short of magnificent. It contains quirky humor pieces as well as the artful sort of stories that are blatantly ignored by those who wish to brush off any genre fiction as childish or unserious. With only one tale that I disliked, picking favorites from this one is a challenge. Nevertheless, I pick the following as my top three while reserving the right to change my mind tomorrow (or perhaps even in the more immediate future): Goodnight, Exceptional in breadth and depth, this anthology is nothing short of magnificent. It contains quirky humor pieces as well as the artful sort of stories that are blatantly ignored by those who wish to brush off any genre fiction as childish or unserious. With only one tale that I disliked, picking favorites from this one is a challenge. Nevertheless, I pick the following as my top three while reserving the right to change my mind tomorrow (or perhaps even in the more immediate future): Goodnight, Melancholy by Xia Jia A haunting short story in which Turing machines offer hope and possibility to the those struggling with depression. The Brain Box by Regina Kanyu Wang What happens to the human mind when the privacy of our final thoughts is lost? The First Emperor's Games by Ma Boyong This humorous and absurd tale of the first Qin emperor's quest for the perfect video game does require a little bit of knowledge about the Qin dynasty as well as the main warring Chinese philosophies, but the payoff is tremendous.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shabbeer Hassan

    Another masterful collection by Ken Liu after Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. Of course, as with all anthologies, not every included story was great but overall the imagination present in Chinese SF is quite breathtaking. Maybe "so-called" sci-fi authors like Peter Hamilton or Neal Asher can take some inspiration from them. My favourites: Goodnight, Melancholy by Xia Jia What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear by Baoshu Broken Stars by Tang Fei The Robot Another masterful collection by Ken Liu after Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. Of course, as with all anthologies, not every included story was great but overall the imagination present in Chinese SF is quite breathtaking. Maybe "so-called" sci-fi authors like Peter Hamilton or Neal Asher can take some inspiration from them. My favourites: Goodnight, Melancholy by Xia Jia What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear by Baoshu Broken Stars by Tang Fei The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales by Fei Dao Definitely worth a read! My Rating - 4.5/5 PS: For anyone who wants to read Xia Jia's masterfully written story, here it is from Clarkesworld: Goodnight, Melancholy

  17. 4 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    8/4/19 This book came out in February? How has it not been reviewed yet? I bought this today in the book store because I had a conversation with someone last week about Chinese literature/science fiction and how much Ken Liu has been trying hard to make it available to English speakers. I have been studying Chinese for some while and am nowhere near reading such advance literature, so I am really thankful for Liu's work. I can't wait to have a read and review it! :) You can find me on Youtube | Ins 8/4/19 This book came out in February? How has it not been reviewed yet? I bought this today in the book store because I had a conversation with someone last week about Chinese literature/science fiction and how much Ken Liu has been trying hard to make it available to English speakers. I have been studying Chinese for some while and am nowhere near reading such advance literature, so I am really thankful for Liu's work. I can't wait to have a read and review it! :) You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Considering “Invisible Planets...” was the best SF short story anthology I’ve ever read, I NEED this book. I can’t wait for this release!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jason Furman

    Broken Stars reads like an also ran to the excellent Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. Both are collections of Chinese science fiction edited and mostly translated by Ken Liu. Both have many of the same authors. But where there is overlap, the stories in Invisible Planets seemed better (e.g., “Folding Beijing” was better than Hao Jingfang’s story in this collection, both Liu Cixin’s were better in the previous collection than in this one, the essays at the b Broken Stars reads like an also ran to the excellent Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. Both are collections of Chinese science fiction edited and mostly translated by Ken Liu. Both have many of the same authors. But where there is overlap, the stories in Invisible Planets seemed better (e.g., “Folding Beijing” was better than Hao Jingfang’s story in this collection, both Liu Cixin’s were better in the previous collection than in this one, the essays at the back were much better in the first, etc.) Several of the stories in Broken Stars are excellent, some feel distinctively Chinese (“What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Baoshu) while others less so (“Goodnight, Melancholy” by Xia Jia and “Reflection” by Gu Shi), but overall a nice variety of styles and types. Some specifics: “Goodnight, Melancholy” by Xia Jia (5 stars). I can’t get enough of Turing Test stories and this is an excellent one, interspersing vignettes of a near-future autonomous agent with dialogues between Turing and a machine he created. “Moonlight” by Liu Cixin (4 stars). Very good story with a simple or even simplistic message about the hazards of the unintended consequences of trying to reengineer human society to address problems. “Broken Stars” by Tang Fei (2 stars). I just could not get into this story. “Submarines” by Han Song (2 stars). A trifle of an allegory for I’m not sure what about poor people being forced to live in mini submarines while their children play in cages. “Salinger and the Koreans” by Han Song (4 stars). Also a bit of a trifle, but inventive enough that it sustained its short length, an alternate history where the North Koreans conquered the world, crediting J.D. Salinger with their success. But the famous recluse won’t play along with them. “Under a Dangling Sky” by Chang Jingbo (2 stars). Very impressionistic, could not get into it. “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Baoshu (5 stars). Loved this. Science fiction with Chinese characteristics. It tells a relatively conventional life story, centering around a love story, against a historical Chinese backdrop. But the backdrop works in reverse. At first I thought the author made a mistake when 9/11, for example, came after the global financial crisis. But then all of the events of global history and especially Chinese history went into reverse, for example Mao succeeding Deng and bringing a stronger form of communism that undid market reforms etc. This works really well and drives home the point that there is nothing natural about the sequence of history, especially of Chinese history, and the logic of the events often works as well in the reverse as it does in the original. “The New Year Train” by Hao Jingfang (4 stars). A short, whimsical hard sci-fi story about a train is lost in hyperspace. “The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales” by (3 stars). A shaggy dog story about a bullshit artist of a king who wants to train a robot to exceed him in his fabulous tales. The robot heads out on a set of fantastical/fabricated adventures that get more and more epic. “The Snow of Jinyang” by Zhang Ran. Started this, didn’t get into it, skipped it. “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge” by Anna Wu (2 stars). All the references to the original just showed the limitations of this story. “The Emperor’s Games” by Ma Boyong (3 stars). A sleight story about an ancient emperor whose work ruling the kingdom and video game playing effectively merge together. “Reflection” by Gu Shi (5 stars). Worthy of M. Night Shamalyan, a psychiatric researcher takes a student to see a clairvoyant and much reversal of time’s arrow ensues, followed by a deeper set of psychological explanations. I plan to re-read this one sometime. “The Brain Box” by Regina Kanyu Wang (4 stars). A near future where you can get “brain boxes” implanted, like the black box in a plane, that record the last five minutes of your thoughts before death. A man gets these memories implanted from a woman who dies in a plane crash on the way to what was going to be his marriage proposal. It reverses everything the thought he understood. Relative slight but interesting. “Coming of the Light” by Chen Quifan (2 stars). Did not get into this story about a near-future Beijing. “A History of Future Illnesses” by Chen Quifan (3 stars). An interesting concept, a series of descriptions—almost Wikipedia style—of future illnesses starting with the more mundane (iPad addiction based on the Retina display) and becoming increasingly exotic (“chaotic chronosense” as people use general relativity to control the speed of their time and become increasingly disoriented), with much whimsy in between (“Controlled Personality Shattering”) about the way people alt tab between different personalities in different windows and how it can all shatter. No characters or plot, more in the style of some of Borges.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hagai Palevsky

    However, after many years of worldly experience, I think tall tales give pleasure simply from the imagination’s leap into the infinite. It’s no different from humanity’s desire to fly. The pleasure alone is reason enough; no other explanation is needed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Some of the stories gave me similar vibes as to what my mother tells me Korean stories are like: less neatly wrapped up conclusions, more foraying into ideas and what-ifs that don't seem to "resolve" in the way Western authors prefer. But others of the stories were very much what we're accustomed to. Definitely interesting, though I don't know much either about short stories or Chinese fiction. (Learned about a new genre from this book: chuanyue!)

  22. 4 out of 5

    bogna

    This is an uneven as the last one but hard to find a stand-out here and some are barely readable. Love u Ken Liu keep up the good work but sorry

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I never fail to feel dumb when reading sci-fi short stories, especially sci-fi short stories, but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading through this anthology. I am sure I would have enjoyed it so much more if I had a better grasp of Chinese history, pop culture and other references, but from it was still a fascinating read based on what I do know. Some of my favourite stories are: Moonlight - Liu Cixin This short story really made me realise that I'm very into stories about time travel or pseudo time I never fail to feel dumb when reading sci-fi short stories, especially sci-fi short stories, but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading through this anthology. I am sure I would have enjoyed it so much more if I had a better grasp of Chinese history, pop culture and other references, but from it was still a fascinating read based on what I do know. Some of my favourite stories are: Moonlight - Liu Cixin This short story really made me realise that I'm very into stories about time travel or pseudo time travel where you get to see the how the implications to the future are played out and how it affects the present timeline. Other stories that to me has the same feel regarding time travelling (or similar) is The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear - Baoshu This was just so interesting to read, and I would have gotten so much more out of this story if only I had a better understanding of Chinese history. In this story, major political events in China are happening in reverse, or at least out of order, and technology is regressing as time is moving forward. The characters in the story reminisce about more advanced technology from in the past. Methods of communication had devolved from email all the way to sending snail mail. To be honest I didn't really understand fully the story but the premise was just so good. The First Emperor's Game - Ma Boyong Really, just the idea of Qin Shihuang playing modern day games should persuade you to read this story. I had to google the final game reference, but when I got it, oh mannn A History of Future Illnesses - Chen Qiufan Not a story in the traditional sense, but just introductions to different would be illnesses from the future due to the advancement of technology. Again, super interesting! The second half of the story was getting slightly too abstract for me to understand, but I've read so much sci-fi and I haven't really gave a second thought to how illnesses inflicting humans could have also evolved. Essays The essays are really great! Super informative about the development of Chinese Sci-fi in the past 100 years or so, and also lets us know about the sci-fi community in China. Before Liu Cixin's The Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy blew up, sci-fi in China was super niche, having it's momentum arrested multiple times due to different political movements in the past 100 years. It was so interesting to read about how through the perseverance and passion of the community that Chinese sci-fi is where it is now.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter Dunn

    On first sight there seems to be an awful lot of material that puts tech or time travel, or both, into China’s past, particularly around the beginning of ancient imperial China, but on reflection is that any different from our own UK regular hankering after steampunk Victorian settings at the height of the British empire? There is even an explicit line of text making that very link in one of those stories Another very direct comparison with a Western SF device can be made in ‘What has Passed Sha On first sight there seems to be an awful lot of material that puts tech or time travel, or both, into China’s past, particularly around the beginning of ancient imperial China, but on reflection is that any different from our own UK regular hankering after steampunk Victorian settings at the height of the British empire? There is even an explicit line of text making that very link in one of those stories Another very direct comparison with a Western SF device can be made in ‘What has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear’. Once I realised the similarity to Dick’s ‘Counter Clock World’ and Amis’s ‘Times Arrow’ and then saw just how much more I still had to read of it I faltered for a brief moment, but the slightly different approach, and it’s sweep through modern Chinese history, are very much worth sticking with. Very few dud’s in this collection and too many great tales to list. Oh go then let’s say “Goodnight Melancholy” and ‘Moonlight’ to start with - which are particularly apposite as they both also start the collection....

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Thought-provoking, just the way I like my sci-fi to be! I have to say that aside from Cixin Liu's Three-Body Problem, I don't know much about Chinese science fiction. I enjoyed this collection quite a bit (and even found myself tearing up at some of the more sentimental stories), but I found the essays at the end particularly useful since it gave me more of a cultural context for the literary landscape of Chinese sci-fi.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anne-Marie

    4.5 stars Ugh this was so, so, so good. As a fan of Ken Liu's writing, I was extremely keen on picking up an anthology edited and translated by him as soon as possible - if he's picking the stories, they have to be good. And he didn't disappoint. While not every story is my personal favourite, all of them offered something new and fresh to me and, importantly, entertained me. Some of them made me think, some made me feel, some made me laugh, and some did it all. I'll definitely be going back and 4.5 stars Ugh this was so, so, so good. As a fan of Ken Liu's writing, I was extremely keen on picking up an anthology edited and translated by him as soon as possible - if he's picking the stories, they have to be good. And he didn't disappoint. While not every story is my personal favourite, all of them offered something new and fresh to me and, importantly, entertained me. Some of them made me think, some made me feel, some made me laugh, and some did it all. I'll definitely be going back and reading Invisible Planets (the first anthology edited and translated by Liu) as well as looking up any additional fiction translated by a few of the authors included in here. For those interested in a history of Chinese Sci-Fi and its current boom (thanks to Liu Cixin's Three Body Problem), there are three short essays collected at the end of the book. None of the essays spoil any of the stories included in the anthology, so it's up to the reader on whether they'd want to read the essays before or after the collection. My rankings of each story (in order of appearance/read): Goodnight, Melancholy - Xia Jia - 4 stars. A dual-story of our main character and her robots and Alan Turing and his AI, Christopher. Moonlight - Liu Cixin - 5 stars. A man is visited by his future self to save the world. Broken Stars - Tang Fei - 3.5 stars. A girl learns what the stars have in fate for her. Also, she met Zhang Xiaobo Submarines - Han Song - 3.5 stars. Submarines housing peasants cause a ruckus in a large city. Salinger and the Koreans - Han Song - 3.5 stars. What if North Korea successfully took over the world. And Salinger's reclusiveness was to his detriment. Under a Dangling Sky - Cheng Jingbo - 4.5 stars Magic and science are indistinguishable and Giana the dolphin is so precious. What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear - Baoshu - 5 stars Obsessed. Our protagonist experiences all of China's modern history as if it occurred in reverse to our timeline. So many brilliant philosophical moments. The New Year Train - Hao Jingfang - 5 stars An interview about a train that disappeared in the space-time continuum. The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales - Fei Dao - 5 stars A robot travels through the lands and space-time to experience the craziest things possible. But will he ever get home? The Snow of Jinyang - Zhang Ran - 3.75 stars A slow build chuanyue-style story with a contemporary Chinese man dropped into the 10th century CE (late Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period) who's just trying to get home. For those who didn't know (like myself) of chuanyue - it's a sub-genre of SFF that has contemporary characters going back in time, usually because of inconsequential reasons, and trying to get home. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge - Anna Wu - 5 stars The first in a series and I want to read them all. What would you sacrifice to have all the writing ability in the universe? The First Emperor's Games - Ma Boyong - 3.5 stars What if the first Emperor of China loved video games? Reflection - Gu Shi - 4 stars Clairvoyants are not to be messed with. The Brain Box - Regina Kanyu Wang - 5 stars Fucked me up. Never want to have my thoughts constantly recorded so that the last five minutes of my life can be preserved. No, thank you. Coming of the Light - Chen Qiufan - 4.5 stars A searing examination of the role and impact of social media technology on society and spiritualism. A History of Future Illnesses - Chen Qiufan - 5 stars A dark, disturbing, but almost-not-quite-humorous look at several different future illnesses the world will have to contend with. All related to technology.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    I love this translated collection of modern Chinese speculative fiction, and can’t wait to read the earlier book in this series. The brief prepended context Ken Liu offers for each author helped me understand the subtlety and significance in many entries without going on too long, and the handful of closing essays added an extra bit of cultural contextualization. Nearly all of these stories are thought provoking in some way, and several are true to Chinese sci-fi’s apparent original/traditional d I love this translated collection of modern Chinese speculative fiction, and can’t wait to read the earlier book in this series. The brief prepended context Ken Liu offers for each author helped me understand the subtlety and significance in many entries without going on too long, and the handful of closing essays added an extra bit of cultural contextualization. Nearly all of these stories are thought provoking in some way, and several are true to Chinese sci-fi’s apparent original/traditional duty of naturally informing the reader about some academic concept blended in with their intriguing premise/plots. Many stories here also have a poignantly bittersweet tone that affected me (intensely in a few cases.) 4.5 stars Thoughts on a few stories: -Xia Mia’s Goodnight Melancholy jumps between an imagining of Turing’s late life and its narrator’s own similar struggles. A late meeting in this story was especially touching to me, and set a high standard for the rest of the book to live up to. -Liu Cixin’s Moonlight is surprisingly hilarious and fascinating in detailing one man’s attempts to save the planet. -Tang Fei’s Broken Stars isn’t my favorite story included, but I love the unexpectedly macabre shift in tone that distinguishes it from the rest of these stories. -Han Song’s Submarines is a concise and haunting vision into how the poorest might be treated in the not too distant future. -Baoshu’s What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear is the longest story included, and my absolute favorite of them all. It mixes a reversed chronology timeline back through China’s 20th century history with an understated but very impactful love story and Existentialist questions about time and meaning to form something unique and greater than the sum of those parts. -Fei Dao’s The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales is a charmingly fantastical fable about storytelling and truth. -Zhang Ryan’s The Snow of Jinyang is a fun, clever time travel romp set in an era of Chinese history a millennia ago that I wasn’t previously familiar with. The eventual reveals and resolution were unexpected and made me smile and laugh. -Ma Boyong’s The First Emperor’s Games is probably the lightest story included, but it’s comedic presentation of the hypothetical lessons an authoritarian ruler might wrongly interpret from many (2010-era) video games made me laugh. -Gu Shi’s Reflections is a short, tense puzzler that builds to a neat reveal of its premise. -Regina Kanyu Wang’s The Brain Box is a brief thought exercise on surveillance and identity and relationships that also manages to be well-executed as an emotionally engaging narrative. -Chen Qiufan’s Coming of The Light is a zany parody of the Chinese equivalent of Silicon Valley but also poses interesting questions about existence and personal agency. Qiufan’s A History of Future Illnesses extrapolates many contemporary and budding cultural concerns into full clinical diagnoses. It’s cultural commentary impressed me as much as it made me laugh.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Khai Jian (KJ)

    "In this age, truth was as rare as virtue. Even more tragic, when faced with the truth, most people preferred to doubt its veracity because they would rather believe the truthy mirage created by their own minds" Thank you Definitely Books for sending me a review copy of Broken Stars by Ken Liu (not to mention that the cover for this book is just so beautiful!). Broken Stars is a compilation of 16 short Chinese sci-fi stories edited and translated by Ken Liu. I have translated a number of court do "In this age, truth was as rare as virtue. Even more tragic, when faced with the truth, most people preferred to doubt its veracity because they would rather believe the truthy mirage created by their own minds" Thank you Definitely Books for sending me a review copy of Broken Stars by Ken Liu (not to mention that the cover for this book is just so beautiful!). Broken Stars is a compilation of 16 short Chinese sci-fi stories edited and translated by Ken Liu. I have translated a number of court documents (for work purposes) and it is such a tedious job. Ken Liu really did a great job in translating all these sci-fi stories especially when it involves a lot of scientific terms and philosophical concepts. Reading Broken Stars is like watching 16 episodes of Black Mirror. All these stories, while involved some sci-fi elements (some are hard sci-fi), are very thought provoking and it makes you ponder a lot on the values of humanity and the issues that are happening in this new age. My personal favourites (in chronological order) are as follows: - - “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Baoshu whereby the author combined the concept of reverse arrow of time with the history of China in a very brilliant way and I am mind blown! - "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia which discussed about depression - “Broken Stars” by Tang Fei which discussed about school bullying (and its rather dark) - “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge" by Anna Wu which discussed about the importance of simplicity - “A History of Future Illnesses” by Chen Qiufan which discussed about the disadvantages of technology A solid 4/5 star rating for Broken Stars. I really have to start picking up Ken Liu's Dandelion Dynasty series. He sets the bar quite high in the realm of contemporary Chinese sci-fi and I can't wait to delve into more of his work!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Annie Su

    (3.5) interesting collection of short stories. some felt less fleshed out than others (or maybe I just took to some stories more); strong starting stories; meager ending. I was surprised to learn from the essays in the end about science fiction's (SF) "embarrassment"-inducing place in Chinese society prior to Liu Cixin's fame. I truly hope everyone of all ages can enjoy SF unapologetically ! a story higlight: "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu: wish I knew more about China's (3.5) interesting collection of short stories. some felt less fleshed out than others (or maybe I just took to some stories more); strong starting stories; meager ending. I was surprised to learn from the essays in the end about science fiction's (SF) "embarrassment"-inducing place in Chinese society prior to Liu Cixin's fame. I truly hope everyone of all ages can enjoy SF unapologetically ! a story higlight: "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu: wish I knew more about China's fraught history during the Cultural Revolution while reading this story, which reversed the chronology of the Cultural Revolution. But it was beautiful and poignant story of star-crossed lovers. I love the Pushkin poem for which the story is named. "Life's deceit may Fortune's fawning Turn to scorn, yet, as you grieve, Do not anger, but believe In tomorrow's merry dawning. When your heart is rid at last Of regret, despair, and fear, In the future, what has passed Shall in kinder light appear." for personal reference: "Goodnight, Melancholy" (pages 47-50)

  30. 4 out of 5

    The Hissing

    Just finished with Ken Liu's curated selection of Chinese Science Fiction. I think my introduction to Chinese Sci Fi and Fantasy was thanks to The Paper Menagerie (by the same author and another fabulous collection). Later of course I came across Cixin Liu's absolutely stunning Three Body Problem and now this. What I loved about this collection was how each of them skirted away from the cliched high tech, space faring, quantum entangled settings and rather put the whole Sci Fi environment to buil Just finished with Ken Liu's curated selection of Chinese Science Fiction. I think my introduction to Chinese Sci Fi and Fantasy was thanks to The Paper Menagerie (by the same author and another fabulous collection). Later of course I came across Cixin Liu's absolutely stunning Three Body Problem and now this. What I loved about this collection was how each of them skirted away from the cliched high tech, space faring, quantum entangled settings and rather put the whole Sci Fi environment to build stories of normal day to day life. Whether it was the rather philosophical "The Robot who liked to tell tall tales", the hilarious "The snow of Jinyang". My favorite story of the lot was Baoshu's "What has passed shall in kinder light appear" - A sad story of love lost in a world where history as we know it unfolds in a fractured and broken chronology. Highly recommended!

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