Broken Stars
Broken Stars, edited by multi award-winning writer Ken Liu--translator of the bestselling and Hugo Award-winning novel The Three Body Problem by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu-- is his second thought-provoking anthology of Chinese short speculative fiction. Following Invisible Planets, Liu has now assembled the most comprehensive collection yet available in the English language, sure to thrill and gratify readers developing a taste and excitement for Chinese SF.Some of the included authors are already familiar to readers in the West (Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang, both Hugo winners); some are publishing in English for the first time. Because of the growing interest in newer SFF from China, virtually every story here was first published in Chinese in the 2010s.The stories span the range from short-shorts to novellas, and evoke every hue on the emotional spectrum. Besides stories firmly entrenched in subgenres familiar to Western SFF readers such as hard SF, cyberpunk, science fantasy, and space opera, the anthology also includes stories that showcase deeper ties to Chinese culture: alternate Chinese history, chuanyue time travel, satire with historical and contemporary allusions that are likely unknown to the average Western reader. While the anthology makes no claim or attempt to be "representative" or "comprehensive," it demonstrates the vibrancy and diversity of science fiction being written in China at this moment.In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore the history of Chinese science fiction publishing, the state of contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in science fiction in China has impacted writers who had long labored in obscurity.Stories include: "Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia "The Snow of Jinyang" by Zhang Ran "Broken Stars" by Tang Fei "Submarines" by Han Song "Salinger and the Koreans" by Han Song "Under a Dangling Sky" by Cheng Jingbo "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu"The New Year Train" by Hao Jingfang "The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales" by Fei Dao "Moonlight" by Liu Cixin "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge" by Anna Wu "The First Emperor's Games" by Ma Boyong "Reflection" by Gu Shi"The Brain Box" by Regina Kanyu Wang"Coming of the Light" by Chen Qiufan "A History of Future Illnesses" by Chen QiufanEssays: "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom," by Regina Kanyu Wang, "A New Continent for China Scholars: Chinese Science Fiction Studies" by Mingwei Song"Science Fiction: Embarrassing No More" by Fei DaoFor more Chinese SF in translation, check out Invisible Planets.

Broken Stars Details

TitleBroken Stars
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 19th, 2019
PublisherTor Books
ISBN-139781250297662
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Science Fiction, Fiction, Anthologies

Broken Stars Review

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    Ken Liu openly states in his introduction that these stories are selected based on his tastes. There is a variety of some known Chinese science fiction writers, and some new voices. Most of them were new to me as I'm woefully behind on books like the Three Body Problem, among others. There is also an earlier volume of Chinese science fiction in translation that is probably worth the read.Not only are there stories in this anthology, but three essays about the current state of Chinese science fic Ken Liu openly states in his introduction that these stories are selected based on his tastes. There is a variety of some known Chinese science fiction writers, and some new voices. Most of them were new to me as I'm woefully behind on books like the Three Body Problem, among others. There is also an earlier volume of Chinese science fiction in translation that is probably worth the read.Not only are there stories in this anthology, but three essays about the current state of Chinese science fiction. I was fascinated to find out that contemporary acceptance of the genre in its home country is very recent, as the genre was widely disregarded up until just a few years ago (and I'm guessing not everyone is on board yet.)There are some stories focusing on technology in this anthology, but honestly not as many as I would have expected if I'd had to guess. Many are time travel or have time travel components, or are taking a part of known Chinese history and tweaking it, falling almost to alternate history, although sometimes these elements are merely the backdrop. This means you will enjoy the stories even more if you know about Chinese history and aren't just reading them cold. One story had a connection to a well-loved British science fiction novel, a reference even I understood.I did like how for the most part, these are not just copies or versions of stories from the west. These are inherently Chinese, and I'm so glad to see more of this type of work being translated into English. Length wise I felt there were too many on the novelette length size, with different numbered sections. Ken Liu must like his stories a bit longer. Thanks to the publisher for providing access to the title through Edelweiss, even though it took me a while to get to. The collection came out in February 2019.
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  • Rachel (Kalanadi)
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite stories:"Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia (a reread for me, I enjoyed it even more the second time)"What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu (it's a love story where historical events run backwards, and it made me cry)"The First Emperor's Games" by Ma Boyong (a ton of fun and kind of similar in concept to "The Snow of Jinyang", but worked better because it was short)My rating is probably more accurately 3.5 stars, if I average out what I would rate each story. There are Favorite stories:"Goodnight, Melancholy" by Xia Jia (a reread for me, I enjoyed it even more the second time)"What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" by Baoshu (it's a love story where historical events run backwards, and it made me cry)"The First Emperor's Games" by Ma Boyong (a ton of fun and kind of similar in concept to "The Snow of Jinyang", but worked better because it was short)My rating is probably more accurately 3.5 stars, if I average out what I would rate each story. There are two lengthy stories in the middle - "The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales" and "The Snow of Jinyang" - that I simply did not find interesting. I tried reading both when they were first published in Clarkesworld, and simply ended up skim-reading them then and again this time. I felt like they were simply too long.I was also a little thrown off by "Broken Stars" by Tang Fei - somehow it started off with a girl in school and struggling with friendships, then ended in insanity, death, and forced cannibalism. Uh....I also loved the first essay, "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom" by Regina Kanyu Wang. I read parts of this a while ago when it was published in Mithila Review, and reread the whole thing this time. It was very informative!Overall, I love that we're getting more translated SFF and Ken Liu's translation work and rate of output has simply been amazing over the past few years. Even if I don't love all the stories, I really appreciate that I get to read them and see another side to SFF. Hopefully there will be a third anthology in a few years!
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks so Cixin Liu and Ken Liu, I've become a big fan of Chinese science fiction over the years, both long novels and short stories. In this anthology, Ken Liu presents (and translates) an anthology of sixteen short stories by fourteen Chinese science fiction writers, as well as three essays on the history and rise of Chinese science fiction. The stories varied in their appeal to me but there are some corkers. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Ken Liu mentions in his introduction for Broken Stars that he curated it by selecting stories that he enjoyed and thought were memorable. I like to think our tastes overlap quite a fair bit since there are a number of stories that really stuck out to me. Some of these Xia Jia’s “Goodnight, Melancholy”, Baoshu’s “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear”, Tang Fei’s “Broken Stars” and Fei Dao’s “The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales”.Aside from the three essays about the history and rise of Ken Liu mentions in his introduction for Broken Stars that he curated it by selecting stories that he enjoyed and thought were memorable. I like to think our tastes overlap quite a fair bit since there are a number of stories that really stuck out to me. Some of these Xia Jia’s “Goodnight, Melancholy”, Baoshu’s “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear”, Tang Fei’s “Broken Stars” and Fei Dao’s “The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales”.Aside from the three essays about the history and rise of Chinese SF, my copy of Broken Stars (the stunning Kinokuniya edition) also comes with a bonus essay from Hao Jingfang (known for her “Folding Beijing”). I thought the essays were interesting to read, but I have to say I find myself enjoying the stories more. Or some of them, anyway. It's interesting to learn more about Chinese SF as a whole while being treated to a collection that really shows off how wonderfully diverse it can be.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Considering “Invisible Planets...” was the best SF short story anthology I’ve ever read, I NEED this book. I can’t wait for this release!
  • Jason Furman
    January 1, 1970
    Broken Stars reads like an also ran to the excellent Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. Both are collections of Chinese science fiction edited and mostly translated by Ken Liu. Both have many of the same authors. But where there is overlap, the stories in Invisible Planets seemed better (e.g., “Folding Beijing” was better than Hao Jingfang’s story in this collection, both Liu Cixin’s were better in the previous collection than in this one, the essays at the b Broken Stars reads like an also ran to the excellent Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. Both are collections of Chinese science fiction edited and mostly translated by Ken Liu. Both have many of the same authors. But where there is overlap, the stories in Invisible Planets seemed better (e.g., “Folding Beijing” was better than Hao Jingfang’s story in this collection, both Liu Cixin’s were better in the previous collection than in this one, the essays at the back were much better in the first, etc.) Several of the stories in Broken Stars are excellent, some feel distinctively Chinese (“What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Baoshu) while others less so (“Goodnight, Melancholy” by Xia Jia and “Reflection” by Gu Shi), but overall a nice variety of styles and types.Some specifics:“Goodnight, Melancholy” by Xia Jia (5 stars). I can’t get enough of Turing Test stories and this is an excellent one, interspersing vignettes of a near-future autonomous agent with dialogues between Turing and a machine he created.“Moonlight” by Liu Cixin (4 stars). Very good story with a simple or even simplistic message about the hazards of the unintended consequences of trying to reengineer human society to address problems.“Broken Stars” by Tang Fei (2 stars). I just could not get into this story.“Submarines” by Han Song (2 stars). A trifle of an allegory for I’m not sure what about poor people being forced to live in mini submarines while their children play in cages.“Salinger and the Koreans” by Han Song (4 stars). Also a bit of a trifle, but inventive enough that it sustained its short length, an alternate history where the North Koreans conquered the world, crediting J.D. Salinger with their success. But the famous recluse won’t play along with them.“Under a Dangling Sky” by Chang Jingbo (2 stars). Very impressionistic, could not get into it.“What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Baoshu (5 stars). Loved this. Science fiction with Chinese characteristics. It tells a relatively conventional life story, centering around a love story, against a historical Chinese backdrop. But the backdrop works in reverse. At first I thought the author made a mistake when 9/11, for example, came after the global financial crisis. But then all of the events of global history and especially Chinese history went into reverse, for example Mao succeeding Deng and bringing a stronger form of communism that undid market reforms etc. This works really well and drives home the point that there is nothing natural about the sequence of history, especially of Chinese history, and the logic of the events often works as well in the reverse as it does in the original.“The New Year Train” by Hao Jingfang (4 stars). A short, whimsical hard sci-fi story about a train is lost in hyperspace.“The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales” by (3 stars). A shaggy dog story about a bullshit artist of a king who wants to train a robot to exceed him in his fabulous tales. The robot heads out on a set of fantastical/fabricated adventures that get more and more epic.“The Snow of Jinyang” by Zhang Ran. Started this, didn’t get into it, skipped it.“The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge” by Anna Wu (2 stars). All the references to the original just showed the limitations of this story.“The Emperor’s Games” by Ma Boyong (3 stars). A sleight story about an ancient emperor whose work ruling the kingdom and video game playing effectively merge together.“Reflection” by Gu Shi (5 stars). Worthy of M. Night Shamalyan, a psychiatric researcher takes a student to see a clairvoyant and much reversal of time’s arrow ensues, followed by a deeper set of psychological explanations. I plan to re-read this one sometime.“The Brain Box” by Regina Kanyu Wang (4 stars). A near future where you can get “brain boxes” implanted, like the black box in a plane, that record the last five minutes of your thoughts before death. A man gets these memories implanted from a woman who dies in a plane crash on the way to what was going to be his marriage proposal. It reverses everything the thought he understood. Relative slight but interesting.“Coming of the Light” by Chen Quifan (2 stars). Did not get into this story about a near-future Beijing.“A History of Future Illnesses” by Chen Quifan (3 stars). An interesting concept, a series of descriptions—almost Wikipedia style—of future illnesses starting with the more mundane (iPad addiction based on the Retina display) and becoming increasingly exotic (“chaotic chronosense” as people use general relativity to control the speed of their time and become increasingly disoriented), with much whimsy in between (“Controlled Personality Shattering”) about the way people alt tab between different personalities in different windows and how it can all shatter. No characters or plot, more in the style of some of Borges.
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  • Hagai Palevsky
    January 1, 1970
    However, after many years of worldly experience, I think tall tales give pleasure simply from the imagination’s leap into the infinite. It’s no different from humanity’s desire to fly. The pleasure alone is reason enough; no other explanation is needed.
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  • Ekmef
    January 1, 1970
    I’m so happy to have discovered the joy of the short story! These are really cool insights in various dilemmas, described in widely varying styles. Ehh and it’s definitely not as boring as I make it sound. I have no idea what contemporary western sci fi short stories are like, but what I love about this anthology is the flexibility that all the authors display in their writing. It almost feels like fanfic in that they don’t hesitate to cite other works and tropes to make their own unique stateme I’m so happy to have discovered the joy of the short story! These are really cool insights in various dilemmas, described in widely varying styles. Ehh and it’s definitely not as boring as I make it sound. I have no idea what contemporary western sci fi short stories are like, but what I love about this anthology is the flexibility that all the authors display in their writing. It almost feels like fanfic in that they don’t hesitate to cite other works and tropes to make their own unique statement. And they cut right through the crap and hit you where it hurts, in a good way. This was a wonderful reading experience!
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    Thought-provoking, just the way I like my sci-fi to be! I have to say that aside from Cixin Liu's Three-Body Problem, I don't know much about Chinese science fiction. I enjoyed this collection quite a bit (and even found myself tearing up at some of the more sentimental stories), but I found the essays at the end particularly useful since it gave me more of a cultural context for the literary landscape of Chinese sci-fi.
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  • Amie Whittemore
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed every story in this collection! They were varied, haunting, funny, smart. If you're a speculative fic fan, I suggest you pick this up and meet some (likely) new-to-you excellent Chinese authors!
  • Peter Dunn
    January 1, 1970
    On first sight there seems to be an awful lot of material that puts tech or time travel, or both, into China’s past, particularly around the beginning of ancient imperial China, but on reflection is that any different from our own UK regular hankering after steampunk Victorian settings at the height of the British empire? There is even an explicit line of text making that very link in one of those stories Another very direct comparison with a Western SF device can be made in ‘What has Passed Sha On first sight there seems to be an awful lot of material that puts tech or time travel, or both, into China’s past, particularly around the beginning of ancient imperial China, but on reflection is that any different from our own UK regular hankering after steampunk Victorian settings at the height of the British empire? There is even an explicit line of text making that very link in one of those stories Another very direct comparison with a Western SF device can be made in ‘What has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear’. Once I realised the similarity to Dick’s ‘Counter Clock World’ and Amis’s ‘Times Arrow’ and then saw just how much more I still had to read of it I faltered for a brief moment, but the slightly different approach, and it’s sweep through modern Chinese history, are very much worth sticking with.Very few dud’s in this collection and too many great tales to list. Oh go then let’s say “Goodnight Melancholy” and ‘Moonlight’ to start with - which are particularly apposite as they both also start the collection....
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  • Peter Tillman
    January 1, 1970
    Ken Liu's comments:https://www.tor.com/2018/07/10/ken-li..."... the most important criterion I used was simply this: I enjoyed the story and thought it memorable. When wielded honestly, very few stories pass this filter. Whether you’ll like most of the stories in here will thus have a lot to do with how much your taste overlaps with mine."Expected publication: February 2019 by Tor Books.
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  • Pixie Dust
    January 1, 1970
    As is usual with short story compilations, I enjoyed the stories here to varying degrees. However, there were sufficient stories that I liked to still give the collection 4 stars.Thoroughly enjoyed:“Moonlight” by Liu Cixin. (view spoiler)[Enjoyed this quirky story about how mankind and earth are doomed no matter how we try to find alternative sources of energy, and this line from the penultimate paragraph says it all: “The man who had changed the course of human history three times in a single n As is usual with short story compilations, I enjoyed the stories here to varying degrees. However, there were sufficient stories that I liked to still give the collection 4 stars.Thoroughly enjoyed:“Moonlight” by Liu Cixin. (view spoiler)[Enjoyed this quirky story about how mankind and earth are doomed no matter how we try to find alternative sources of energy, and this line from the penultimate paragraph says it all: “The man who had changed the course of human history three times in a single night but who in the end had changed nothing fell asleep in front of his computer.” (hide spoiler)]“The New Year Train” by Hao Jingfang. Interesting conceit of quantum-leaping trains and humorously written.“The Snow of Jinyang” by Zhang Ran. Very interesting conceit, and humorously presented. (view spoiler)[I especially loved how modern terms are introduced by Prince Lu (a time traveller from modern times) into the ancient world and promptly misinterpreted. The mention of the internet at the beginning of the story was perplexing to me, for the setting is clearly a primitive one. Though there are some odd anachronistic insertions of steam-driven machines, even these are old technologies compared to the internet. It is only later that we are given an explanation of what this internet really is (a manual version operated by blocks and strings). How this internet is utilised and maintained is one of the best parts of the story! (hide spoiler)] I felt, however, that this story was not translated as well as the others. Some of the Chinese phrases were translated too literally, without sensitivity for their actual nuances. The whole story read very awkwardly. Fortunately, the story is so interesting that I managed to get over the awkward phrasings after a while.“The First Emperor’s Games” by Ma Boyong. Very hilarious conceit about how Qin Shihuang, having united China, wants to take a break from work by playing video games. Lots of modern games are referenced, and the last one especially was a hoot! (view spoiler)[I had to look it up, not having played “Duke Nukem” before, and had a good laugh when I found out it is about Qin Shihuang! (hide spoiler)]Enjoyed:“What has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Baoshu. Quite interesting to read of historical events in China occurring backwards. These reverse transitions between eras were seamless at times, but awkward at others. The main character, Xie Baosheng, and his undying and star-crossed love affair with Qiqi, tied the story together well. “Reflection” by Gu Shi. About a clairvoyant whose memories start from her death and work backwards.Thought it was OK:“Broken Stars” by Tang Fei. (view spoiler)[Not sure if it’s because of the translation, but the story feels a bit disjointed, and I couldn’t fully sympathise with the main character Jiaming, who thinks she has nightly dreams of her dead mother who can read the stars, when actually her mother is living in their home, behind a one-way glass. (hide spoiler)]“The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge” by Anna Wu“The Brain Box” by Regina Kanyu Wang. About the pioneer batch of people who install a brain box into their heads to record their final thoughts.“Coming of the Light” by Chen Qiufan. (view spoiler)[Some interesting comments about people thinking they are main characters but are actually NPCs who cannot really influence anything. (hide spoiler)]Couldn’t get into it / couldn’t finish:“Goodnight, Melancholy” based on Alan Turing by Xia Jia“Submarines” by Han Song, where strangely enough, it is the poor who live in the submarines and the rich who live on land.“Salinger and the Koreans”, also by Han Song“Under a Dangling Sky” by Cheng Jingbo“The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales” by Fei Dao. The tall tales were boring, and when they descended into allegory, it felt too preachy.“A History of Future Illnesses” by Chen QiufanThe three essays at the end of the book are informative, though the only one that interested me was the first one by Regina Kanyu Wang. In the opening to her essay, “A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science fiction and Fandom”, she gives a very useful explanation of the various SFF genres:科幻: science fiction奇幻: fantasyAmong fantasy, there are the following (definitions quoted from the essay):玄幻: mostly referring to online fiction with Chinese-style supernatural elements魔幻: mostly referring to fiction with Western-style magic elements盗墓: stories involving a group of treasure-seekers breaking into ancient graves穿越: stories featuring a contemporary person travelling back in time to ancient dynasties for some unexplained [and unimportant] reason, where they become involved in complicated courtly intrigue or some other soap-opera-like plot)修真: stories featuring a protagonist overcoming various challenges to pursue immortality by Daoism method)
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    This collection of translated Chinese sci-fi features 16 short stories and 3 essays by 15 different authors. In his introduction, Ken Liu explains that he chose these stories to demonstrate a range of styles, although he does not claim to have created a "representative" or "best of" anthology of Chinese SF. Rather, he selected these stories because he enjoyed them and found them memorable. The essays provide context for the reader on the history of Chinese science fiction, from the early transla This collection of translated Chinese sci-fi features 16 short stories and 3 essays by 15 different authors. In his introduction, Ken Liu explains that he chose these stories to demonstrate a range of styles, although he does not claim to have created a "representative" or "best of" anthology of Chinese SF. Rather, he selected these stories because he enjoyed them and found them memorable. The essays provide context for the reader on the history of Chinese science fiction, from the early translation of western SF into Chinese, to the political and cultural challenges the genre has faced in China, to the development of the genre in China and its current state.As Liu notes in his introduction, a couple of these stories are less accessible to western audiences, given that they require an understanding of Chinese political history and culture. I personally loved them, but readers may find them a tad challenging. As a whole, I thought the stories in this anthology were fascinating and delightful. Some were funny, some were deeply philosophical, and some were heartbreaking. In this anthology, you'll find time travel, alternate history, and Black Mirror-esque explorations of technology, as well as complex reflections on climate change, Chinese and global politics, and the self.A few of my favorite stories include:Baoshu's "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear," a devastating story of love and survival as the protagonists watch their world descend into fear and insecurity. It involves time travel, of a sort: while all the characters live their lives forward, the events around them unfold backwards through about 70 years of Chinese history.Liu Cixin's "Moonlight," in which a man is contacted by his future self to ask him to save the world from climate change, only for there to be unintended consequences.Chen Qiufan's "A History of Future Illnesses," which explores a number of strange future illnesses brought on by changes in our world.I highly recommend this anthology, which I think I enjoyed even more than Invisible Planets, Liu's earlier anthology of Chinese SF stories in translation. That's saying a lot, because I loved Invisible Planets. This is already one of my favorite books of the year.
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  • Dan Trefethen
    January 1, 1970
    In the beginning, science fiction was written in English. (Well, also in French, if you count Jules Verne.) That's the accepted wisdom.Of course it was being written in other languages, but translations were rare. In the late 20th century the most notable exceptions were the Polish writer Stanislaw Lem and a few Russians.However, there were SF writers and fans elsewhere, with various forms of 'home-grown' science fiction that the rest of the world never saw. This was especially true in China, wh In the beginning, science fiction was written in English. (Well, also in French, if you count Jules Verne.) That's the accepted wisdom.Of course it was being written in other languages, but translations were rare. In the late 20th century the most notable exceptions were the Polish writer Stanislaw Lem and a few Russians.However, there were SF writers and fans elsewhere, with various forms of 'home-grown' science fiction that the rest of the world never saw. This was especially true in China, where the turbulent political situation affected SF writing throughout the 20th century, and into the 21st. Since Cixin Liu won the Hugo Award for “The Three-Body Problem” a few years ago (the first translated novel to win a Hugo), interest in Chinese SF has ramped up. In 2016 Ken Liu (no relation), who translated “The Three-Body Problem”, published “Invisible Planets”, a book of Chinese SF that he translated. He has now followed up with this book, and it continues to show how Chinese SF is different, yet similar, to Western SF. Similar in imaginative range, but different in that much of it is reacting to the political and social situation in China. SF has always commented on the issues of today, and it's fascinating to read Chinese SF that comments on China today. Some of the stories are so pointed that I was surprised they got published. I have some quibbles about technical aspects, but some of the stories are written to be surreal and metaphorical (not unlike Lem's stories).Ken Liu is not alone in promoting Chinese SF (Neil Clarke is also supporting it in Clarkesworld Magazine), but Ken is a major force in driving attention to SF written outside the American mainstream. Ken frustrates me, because he's a great writer himself, and I'd like to see more of his work. His collection “The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories” was the best single author collection of 2016, IMHO, and the title story swept the awards that year. Clearly, Ken is a talented and ambitious man. He does an excellent job with this book, in bringing more Chinese SF to a Western audience.
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  • C.J. Shane
    January 1, 1970
    This second volume of contemporary Chinese sci-fi short stories translated by Ken Liu, Broken Stars, equals his first, Invisible Planets, in quality and diversity. Liu is an American award-winning author who has gifted us with these translations. Readers may want to start with the three non-fiction essays at the end of the book to get a view of what sci-fi is like in China historically and today.With any collection of short stories, readers will find that some stories have more appeal than other This second volume of contemporary Chinese sci-fi short stories translated by Ken Liu, Broken Stars, equals his first, Invisible Planets, in quality and diversity. Liu is an American award-winning author who has gifted us with these translations. Readers may want to start with the three non-fiction essays at the end of the book to get a view of what sci-fi is like in China historically and today.With any collection of short stories, readers will find that some stories have more appeal than others. I mention here the ones I found especially noteworthy. I must make clear that some of the stories would be better labeled “speculative fiction” because they don’t really fit into a narrower definition of science fiction as requiring some science component.The Chinese like to play with time in different ways. One of my favorites was Baoshu’s “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear.” Our protagonist grows older but instead of going forward in time, he travels backward, giving readers an opportunity to experience significant events in China’s past 75 years of so. Well-known author Liu Cixin follows one man who is contacted three separate times by his future selves. The future selves need help solving climate change problems. Hao Jingfang’s “The New Year Train” tells the story of some train passengers who get to enjoy the ride without worry about being late because they are caught in a time warp.A couple of stories are quite horrifying, including the title story, “Broken Stars” by Tang Fei, and Chen Qiufan’s “A History of Future Illnesses.” Others are sweetly sad such as Xia Jia’s “Goodnight Melancholy” about Alan Turning’s personal relationship with his computer. A favorite was Anna Wu’s “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge” that carried the very clear message: Be careful what you wish for!This book is lengthy, nearly 500 pages, with a selection of stories that will give readers a chance to not only enjoy Chinese sci-fi/speculative fiction, but also to learn more about China.
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  • Anindya Phani
    January 1, 1970
    We the scifi reader should be always thankful to Ken liu. Without him the vast world of Chinese science fiction was remain untouched territory. He translated lots and lots of science fiction short stories, novella. After reading all of translated and written science fiction by Ken Liu I felt out of world experience. Chinese science fiction is far more matured than any European or American contemporary science fiction.This book contained 16 short stories and 2 essays. These 16 stories created dif We the scifi reader should be always thankful to Ken liu. Without him the vast world of Chinese science fiction was remain untouched territory. He translated lots and lots of science fiction short stories, novella. After reading all of translated and written science fiction by Ken Liu I felt out of world experience. Chinese science fiction is far more matured than any European or American contemporary science fiction.This book contained 16 short stories and 2 essays. These 16 stories created different environment in reader's mind. They are basically stories with sublime science fiction. After reading numerous Chinese science fiction I realized family, bonding, love, friendship are most preserved item in Chinese science fiction, science and fiction are always later. One of the story is about artificial intelligence, but I am sure any reader will get out of the mind experience in the over written subject, and after reading you have started to think. One of the story is alternate history. Haver you ever thought if all devastating war will come not in the order of history then the death count will decrease or increase or we suffered more or less. This story will change the concept of time and history. Some story about alien or some on space journey, but always love and bonding predominate. Some two pages long and some is so long you can tell it is novella.'One problem we are facing that we did not know Chinese history, which block me to extract more fun out of the story. If we know Chinese culture and history then we can correlate and enjoy even more. But after reading this books definitely perception of science fiction will change forever.
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  • Ben Truong
    January 1, 1970
    Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation is the second series of anthologies of science fiction short stories in the Chinese Science Fiction in Translation series and was collected, edited, and translated by Ken Liu. The main theme of this anthology is introducing science fiction short stories by authors that are Chinese.For the most part, I really like these contributions. This collection of sixteen short stories from fourteen different authors was diverse within the ge Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation is the second series of anthologies of science fiction short stories in the Chinese Science Fiction in Translation series and was collected, edited, and translated by Ken Liu. The main theme of this anthology is introducing science fiction short stories by authors that are Chinese.For the most part, I really like these contributions. This collection of sixteen short stories from fourteen different authors was diverse within the genre from a whimsical short story from Chen Quiufan to the more poignant and dramatic short story from Xia Jia and everything in between – all under the banner of the science fiction genre. Although greatly varied in theme and approach, all of these stories impress with their visionary sweep and scope. The inclusion of three essays on the history and development to further enlighten Western readers about Chinese science fiction is also included, which completes this wonderful collection.Like most anthologies, there are weaker contributions and Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation is no exception. However, there were mediocrity done in comparison to the rest of the short stories, but it did not ruin my enjoyment of reading this anthology.All in all, Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation is a wonderful collection of short stories that captures the science fiction genre from the Chinese perspective. I hope there would be a third in the series.
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  • Dale Jones
    January 1, 1970
    This is a collection of short stories and novellas written by Chinese authors and translated by Ken Liu. Liu begins with an introduction talking about these stories were chosen based on personal taste. These were the stories I enjoyed. Goodnight, Melancholy by Xia Jia. This story was about the Turing test and whether or not machines can think" 4/5Moonlight by Liu Cixin is about a man who gets a call from his future self to fix climate change. Good story 3.5/5Broken Stars by Tang Fei. A science f This is a collection of short stories and novellas written by Chinese authors and translated by Ken Liu. Liu begins with an introduction talking about these stories were chosen based on personal taste. These were the stories I enjoyed. Goodnight, Melancholy by Xia Jia. This story was about the Turing test and whether or not machines can think" 4/5Moonlight by Liu Cixin is about a man who gets a call from his future self to fix climate change. Good story 3.5/5Broken Stars by Tang Fei. A science fantasy story about jiaming often dreams of the white woman, who predicts the future in her stars. School dominates her teenage life, and she seeks the attachment and happiness she doesn’t find at home with her distant father. A good story. 3.5/5"Submarines by Han Song. An allegory about poor people being forced to live in mini-submarines while their children play in cages. Well written story but I didn't get it."The New Year Train by Hao Jingfang. The interesting conceit of quantum-leaping trains. Plus the ending makes you think. The Brain Box by Regina Kanyu Wang. About the pioneer batch of people who install a brain box into their heads to record their final thoughts. Good story wished it was longer.Ken Liu seems to be a fan of long-form stories as supposed to short ones. I liked this anthology of stories but didn't love. I am willing to read more stories by some of these authors.
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  • Marilyn Shea
    January 1, 1970
    Anything with Ken Liu's name on it is worth reading, in my opinion. He is the author of the short story, "The Paper Menagerie," which made me stop and weep. Here, he is the editor and translator for this book of contemporary Chinese science fiction short stories. Several of them stand out for me. In one story, "Moonlight," the people of Earth succeed in switching the entire world's power sources to sustainable ones, like solar power, but each time, the sustainable sources end up destroying the e Anything with Ken Liu's name on it is worth reading, in my opinion. He is the author of the short story, "The Paper Menagerie," which made me stop and weep. Here, he is the editor and translator for this book of contemporary Chinese science fiction short stories. Several of them stand out for me. In one story, "Moonlight," the people of Earth succeed in switching the entire world's power sources to sustainable ones, like solar power, but each time, the sustainable sources end up destroying the environment anyway in ways that could not have been predicted. Another story, "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear," is disorienting because it starts out with a character born in the present day and as he grows older, the world events play out in a backwards timeline. The attack on the twin towers happens, electronic devices disappear, Mao comes to power and so on. In "A History of Future Illnesses," babies given iPads develop iPad syndrome, a condition similar to autism in which the world of the screen becomes the only reality to which they can relate. Liu includes essays at the end of the book that consider Chinese sci fi fandom and history and one that talks about Chinese science fiction as a genre for dissertations. I had some trouble, I admit, reading the names of the characters and mixing them up, no doubt evidence of my chauvinistic predilection for Anglo names.
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  • Adrian Hon
    January 1, 1970
    Several tremendously smart and funny stories in this collection, including:Submarines by Han SongWhat Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear by Baoshu (extraordinarily good)The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales by Fei Dao (Liu compares this to Calvino, but the more obvious inspiration is Stanislaw Lem)The Snow of Jinyang by Zhang Ran (absolutely hilarious yet also a very smart take on the old “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court” genre)The First Emperor’s Games by Ma Boyong (this shoul Several tremendously smart and funny stories in this collection, including:Submarines by Han SongWhat Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear by Baoshu (extraordinarily good)The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales by Fei Dao (Liu compares this to Calvino, but the more obvious inspiration is Stanislaw Lem)The Snow of Jinyang by Zhang Ran (absolutely hilarious yet also a very smart take on the old “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court” genre)The First Emperor’s Games by Ma Boyong (this shouldn’t work but it absolutely does, and has some OG videogame knowledge)Coming of the Light by Chen Qiufan (wasn’t wholly convinced but it’s very well written)...Though I realise these are not presented as a representative selection of Chinese sci-fi (if such a thing were possible), or even a “best of” (ditto), I can’t help but wonder at a number of trends:- Why is there so much historical fiction? I don’t see the same thing in western sci-fi. Is it because the US is a much young country?- There are a *lot* of nagging wives. It’s not a good look, folks.- Interesting range in the background of authors. Lots of philosophers and historians and economists.
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  • Lillian
    January 1, 1970
    BROKEN STARS is a collection of science fiction short stories from China superbly curated and masterfully translated by Ken Liu. There is some extraordinary science fiction being written in China right now (I'm talking to you Liu Cixin) and we are fortunate Mr. Ken Liu has devoted his time, energy and expertise to bringing this literature to US readers. He is not only able to select the very best science fiction written, his translations, both lyrical and accurate make them accessible to readers BROKEN STARS is a collection of science fiction short stories from China superbly curated and masterfully translated by Ken Liu. There is some extraordinary science fiction being written in China right now (I'm talking to you Liu Cixin) and we are fortunate Mr. Ken Liu has devoted his time, energy and expertise to bringing this literature to US readers. He is not only able to select the very best science fiction written, his translations, both lyrical and accurate make them accessible to readers of speculative fiction everywhere.This is a stunning collection with notables like the aforementioned Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang. Essays are included as well to give more of an understanding of Chinese Science Fiction, it's place in China and the world. More expansive, comprehensive and inclusive, BROKEN STARS is a step above INVISIBLE PLANETS, his 2016 collection of Chinese Science Fiction Short Stories and my hope is for a continued natural progression. Thank you Ken Liu!
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not that familiar with Chinese speculative fiction, but this collection — compiled, edited, and often translated by Ken Liu, whose short fiction I love — was an excellent introduction. I enjoyed some short stories more than others, as is to be expected with any collection, but overall would recommend this to readers looking to dip their toes into contemporary Chinese SFF writing. Having read and enjoyed this book, I will be seeking out its forerunner, Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese I'm not that familiar with Chinese speculative fiction, but this collection — compiled, edited, and often translated by Ken Liu, whose short fiction I love — was an excellent introduction. I enjoyed some short stories more than others, as is to be expected with any collection, but overall would recommend this to readers looking to dip their toes into contemporary Chinese SFF writing. Having read and enjoyed this book, I will be seeking out its forerunner, Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation , in the near future to read as well.
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  • Keith
    January 1, 1970
    Author and translator Ken Liu brings us this second anthology of contemporary Chinese Science Fiction. It includes award winning Hugo Award winning authors like Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang. It also includes other favorite stories selected by Ken Liu to illustrate the current range of science fiction in China. Like many anthologies that undertake to survey a type of fiction, some stories will be more to the reader's taste than others.There are forwards which introduce each author and their work, w Author and translator Ken Liu brings us this second anthology of contemporary Chinese Science Fiction. It includes award winning Hugo Award winning authors like Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang. It also includes other favorite stories selected by Ken Liu to illustrate the current range of science fiction in China. Like many anthologies that undertake to survey a type of fiction, some stories will be more to the reader's taste than others.There are forwards which introduce each author and their work, which is very useful to western readers. In addition there are three essays in the back of the book which provide perspectives on the history and current state of science fiction in China.
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  • Whitney
    January 1, 1970
    As with most collections of short stories, it was a mixed bag. Some of the stories were really good. Some didn't make any sense (unless you're really, really well versed in Chinese history). One of them was memorable but not even a little bit sci-fi.Overall, I'm glad to have had the chance to try out a bunch of Chinese sci-fi authors. I saw some common philosophical themes that are much less prevalent in my little world (most notably: all lacks meaning, life is pointless, nothing we do matters).
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  • Misha
    January 1, 1970
    It's great to have anothe collection of Chinese SF in translation. We generally don't read enough lit-in- translation in English and SF would seem to be the perfect fit: we're already trying out a different world-view. This anthology will only make you eager for more and I hope we get it. The stories range in type, like any anthology, but they are all good or great. You won't regret dipping into it. The only reason it took me so long to finish to book was those three essays in the back- I left t It's great to have anothe collection of Chinese SF in translation. We generally don't read enough lit-in- translation in English and SF would seem to be the perfect fit: we're already trying out a different world-view. This anthology will only make you eager for more and I hope we get it. The stories range in type, like any anthology, but they are all good or great. You won't regret dipping into it. The only reason it took me so long to finish to book was those three essays in the back- I left those as less interesting, but they are helpful overviews, but can skip them.
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  • Rob Caswell
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the collection and getting a taste for what’s going in the broader Chinese literary SF scene, but for my tastes (and maybe “Western Tastes” on the whole) Liu Cixin’s contribution still came out head and shoulders above any others. The book concludes with three (translated) academic essays on the history of the SF genre in China and look at how its growing and changing today. This is Ken Liu’s second anthology on the subject. It’d be wonderful if this could be an annual thing.
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  • Ben
    January 1, 1970
    A wider range of styles and writing than the prior volume which probably makes for a better sense of the possibilities of Chinese sci-fi. But it also means the quality feels a bit more variable and has some more silly entries that I didn't care for (one about an ancient king becoming an avid gamer particularly stood out for it's silliness). It's not a bad volume but I preferred the first set Liu released.
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  • Patricia Lentini
    January 1, 1970
    Some great stories from writers most of us would not have found on our own, although they are known in China.One thing .,., being that not all of the stories immediately fit any understanding I would have of society or culture or even science. Definitely takes some concentration, some studied "looking things" up across contexts, and even some giving up. I couldn't follow them all.
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  • Derek Simon
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Invisible Planets, I was looking forward to delving more into Chinese SF. Unfortunately, this is a disappointing follow up. Many of the stories seem to be lacking in execution. Some are little more than essays on technology that are hardly fictional at all. And quite a few aren’t really science fiction.
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