viernes, 20 de abril de 2012

"Taking Care of God" and Mountain by Liu Cixin

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)  

Note for people coming from Slahsdot (added 04/20/2015): Welcome Slashdot visitors! Liu Cixin is, as of now, my favorite science fiction writer and I highly recommend his work. In addition to this review (which I wrote in a hurry and is not that good) you might be interested in reading my review of The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin's amazing novel which has been recently nominated for the Nebula Awards, my review of Mountain (the novella mentioned in the text below) or my review of The Wandering Earth, another excellent novella by Liu Cixin. Also, I interviewed Verbena C.W., editor of the translation into English of Liu Cixin's stories, and she talked at length about Liu Cixin's work and his importance in Chinese SF.  

Liu Cixin is one the most important Chinese science fiction writers. He has won the Xingyun Awards and the Galaxy Award eight times. His fiction is beginning to be available in English and, currently, two of his stories are free to download.   

The first one is "Taking Care of God" translated by Ken Liu and included in the second issue of the Pathlight Magazine (free to download in epub and mobi formats). As soon as I noticed Ken Liu's tweet announcing the availability of this story, I downloaded it and started reading. After a few lines, I was hooked. 

"Taking Care of God" is a wonderful story about a very different kind of first contact. An alien race comes to Earth claiming that they are God, the creators of humankind. However, they are in dire need of help and assistance: 
"We are God. Please, considering that we created this world, would you give us a bit of food?"
What follows is a surprising and striking tale. Cixin perfectly integrates science fiction elements with moral criticism. Though its message is far from subtle, the story works extremely well, with an almost perfect balance between thought-provoking ideas and moving scenes. Strongly recommend.

Immediately after reading "Taking Care of God" I went looking for more stories by Cixin and found that Mountain was free on Amazon. I'm now reading this novella and, though I'm only a few pages in, I'm deeply impressed (again) by Cixin's imagination. I will certainly be reading every story of his that is already available in English and I'm looking forward to his novels being translated.

(You can also read this post in Spanish/También puedes leer esta entrada en español)

4 comentarios:

  1. Glad to know you like his work. I'm from China^^

  2. Thank you very much for your comment! I've now read three stories by Liu Cixin and I've loved them all. Here's hoping that more of his work (including his novels) gets translated.

  3. I just finished Mountain and the depth of imagination in it was astounding. Now I have to wait till April for the release of the third book in the trilogy....

  4. I think you're going to love Death's End. It is the best in the trilogy and, in fact, one of my favorite novels ever. Thanks for your comment!