Invisible Planets

Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation


383 pages

English language

Published Nov. 5, 2016 by Tom Doherty Associates.

OCLC Number:

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4 stars (2 reviews)

"Thirteen intriguing visions of the future from China"--Cover.

"Readers at Tor and around the SF world have recently become familiar with Ken Liu and his Chinese translation work via the bestselling and award nominated novel The Three-Body Problem , by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu. Readers who have developed a taste and excitement for Chinese SF by these means will be excited to hear that Ken Liu, the translator of that volume is assembling, translating, and editing an anthology of Chinese science fiction short stories.The thirteen stories in this collection are a strong and diverse representation of Chinese science fiction, including two by Liu Cixin. Some have won awards in translation, some have garnered serious critical acclaim, some have been selected for Year's Best anthologies, and some are simply Ken Liu's personal favorites.To round out the collection, there are several essays from Chinese scholars and authors, plus an illuminating introduction …

1 edition

Fascinating anthology of Chinese SFF in translation

3 stars

A better than average anthology of SFF by writers from China. The editor and translator, Ken Liu, is careful to say that the anthology is not meant to represent the best SFF from China, but to showcase some stories and give readers a taste of the kind of SFF being written in China. The anthology ends with some essays by the writers on some aspects of Chinese SF.

  • “The Year of the Rat” by Chen Qiufan: without jobs, university graduates have to go for the only work available: the Rodent-Control Force, troops tasked with the job of killing genetically engineered rats meant for the market in the West that had escaped. As they try to meet their quota of rats (to be reassigned to other jobs), it is gradually revealed that the rats are not all they seem to be, and neither are the people catching them.

  • “The Fish of …

Review of 'Invisible planets' on 'LibraryThing'

5 stars

An essential introduction to the rather distinctive body of scifi coming out of modern China. It's hard to pin down exactly what the characteristics of "Chinese Science Fiction" are--in fact one of the essays at the end labours that point somewhat--but much more fruitful to show than tell, which this collection does by covering a very wide range. There are stories that are obviously mocking the Party, openly enough that I'm surprised they were allowed to be published, and stories that feel much less political but go deep into technological fantasy or just straight fantasy worlds. And in between there are some social commentary stories that bite just as hard in the US as they must in China.

As with any diverse collection I didn't love every single story, but there are so many that I did that I'm already looking forward to getting my hands on the next volume …


  • Chinese Science fiction
  • Chinese Short stories
  • Translations into English