Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction

Edited and trans. from the Chinese by Xueting Christine Ni. Solaris, $11.99 trade paper (608p) ISBN 978-1-78108-852-4
Xueting showcases the depth and breadth of Chinese sci-fi, or Kehuan, in this superior anthology that demonstrates the deep well of talent to be found beyond big names such as Liu Cixin. These 13 never-before-translated stories couch universal themes of the genre—including the consequences of time travel (“Meisje Met De Parel” by Anna Wu) and the implications of advanced artificial intelligence (“Qiankun and Alex” by Hao Jingfang and “Cat’s Chance in Hell” by Nian Yu)—in elements unique to Chinese identity, culture, and history. Every entry is high-quality, but among the most memorable are Han Song’s “Tombs of the Universe,” a moving exploration of how the remains of the dead are treated after humanity begins exploring the cosmos, and Gu Shi’s “The Last Save,” which presents a troubling future in which technology enables endless options for rebooting human life and unlimited storage space allows people to fix every mistake by going back in time and making different choices. Xueting’s concise but detailed introduction and thoughtful story notes provide helpful context, illuminating the history of Kehuan and the ways in which the genre has evolved over the decades. The masterful result validates Xueting’s endeavor—and will only whet readers’ appetite for more translations. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/29/2021
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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