Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation (2016) opens with editor Ken Liu’s discussion of the limiting nature of comparative categories such as ‘Chinese science fiction’ or ‘science fiction written in English.’ I believe it is important, in any review of this anthology, to reiterate his assertion that the collection offers readers only a ‘thin slice’ of the Chinese science fiction landscape. As such, while the collection is an introduction for Anglophone readers, it is by no means emblematic of Chinese science fiction altogether, and it would be ill-advised to read it as such. Indeed, Liu is very transparent in explaining that the stories he chose were prioritised also by their accessibility to an Anglophone audience.
What Invisible Planets offers us is thirteen fictional visions of our world(s), imagined by seven contemporary Chinese authors, differing in genre, style and tone, and ranging from deeply moving to structurally playful, from existentially inquisitive to unsettling versions of possible near futures.
Read Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation