cover image Invisible Planets

Invisible Planets

Edited by Ken Liu. Tor, $24.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8419-5

This stellar anthology of 13 stories selected and translated by Liu (the Dandelion Dynasty series) brings the best of Chinese science fiction to anglophones. Liu Cixin’s “Taking Care of God” relates the social problems that arise when the ancient interstellar travelers who created human civilization return to Earth and ask to be taken in by their creations. Ma Boyong’s “The City of Silence” is set in an Orwellian future where Internet access and all forms of communications are rigidly controlled by a totalitarian government, and Xia Jia’s “Night Journey of the Dragon-Horse” takes place in a Bradburyesque postapocalyptic world where machines have outlived the humans who engineered them. The title tale by Hao Jingfang is a sprightly tour of a series of imaginary planets; on each one, the culture of the inhabitants is shaped by the peculiarities of their environment. Although greatly varied in theme and approach, all of these stories impress with their visionary sweep and scope. The inclusion of three essays on the significance of science fiction to China and its writers underscores the thoughtfulness that Liu put into curating this superb compilation. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Nov.)