cover image A View from the Stars

A View from the Stars

Cixin Liu, trans. from the Chinese by Andy Dudak et al. Tor, $27.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-29211-7

With this vital collection of 19 essays, forewords, interviews, and early works, Hugo Award winner Liu (The Three-Body Problem) preaches for the “The ‘Church’ of Sci-Fi.” Distinguishing science fiction from other forms of literature in “Poetic Science Fiction,” trans. by Emily Jin, Liu argues that a focus on worldbuilding and setting replaces mainstream fiction’s emphasis on the inner lives of characters. In “Time Enough for Love,” trans. by Adam Lanphier, Liu, who conceives of science fiction’s mission as bringing readers an appreciation of the grandeur of the universe, describes years spent feeling isolated as a reader and writer of the genre, “standing solitary guard over a forlorn frontier.” The fiction entries, featuring drug-smuggling cybernetic whales (“Whale Song,” trans. by S. Qiouyi Lu) or chaos theory physicists trying to prevent a war with tiny nudges of global weather patterns (“Butterfly,” trans. by Elizabeth Hanlon), may be more down-to-earth, but they’re unafraid to ask big questions, including “What is the purpose of the universe?” (“Heard It in the Morning,” trans. by Jesse Field). For Liu’s many devoted fans, this will be a welcome compendium. (Apr.)