cover image Broken Stars

Broken Stars

Edited and trans. from the Chinese by Ken Liu. Tor, $27.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-250-29766-2

In this rewarding anthology, Liu continues the objective he pursued in Invisible Planets (2016), introducing readers to 16 contemporary science fiction stories translated from the Chinese, seven for the first time. Selections range in tone from the whimsicality of Chen Qiufan’s “Coming of the Light,” about an advertising firm whose campaign to merge technology with religion goes awry, to the poignant drama of Xia Jia’s “Goodnight, Melancholy,” a meditation on what it means to be human that’s inspired by AI research and the computation experiments of Alan Turing. The book’s most provocative stories offer variations on the time travel theme. In Liu Cixin’s “Moonlight,” a scientist gets phone calls from his future self proposing solutions to contemporary environmental problems that have become apocalyptic in the future, while Baoshu’s ingenious “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” concerns a man who lives the real historical events of China’s past century backwards, and Zhang Ran’s “The Snow of Jinyang” introduces a time traveler who steampunks the world of 10th-century China. Three essays on Chinese science fiction’s history and development further enlighten Western readers, who will be very excited by these outstanding works. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Feb.)