Ken Liu on Chinese science fiction


A science-fiction writer and translator discusses the state of the art in China.

Ken Liu is a science-fiction writer, translator, computer programmer, and lawyer. He has written two novels and more than 100 short stories. His short story “The Paper Menagerie” is the first work of fiction, of any length, to win all three of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards. Among his translations are two of the three parts of the Chinese science-fiction hit The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin.

In this episode of the Sinica Podcast, Ken talks to Kaiser and Jeremy about his own work, the significance of The Three-Body Problem in the Chinese literary world, and the current state of Chinese science fiction.


Jeremy: Understanding China Through Comics series, by Liu Jing: Foundations of Chinese Civilization: The Yellow Emperor to the Han Dynasty, Division to Unification in Imperial China: The Three Kingdoms to the Tang Dynasty, and Barbarians and the Birth of Chinese Identity: The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms to the Yuan Dynasty.

Ken: Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, by Bee Wilson.

Kaiser: Deadwood TV series.


On SupChina: An introduction to notable Chinese sci-fi works from the last decade.

The Three-Body trilogy, by Liu Cixin: The Three-Body Problem, translated by Ken Liu, The Dark Forest, translated by Joel Martinsen, and Death’s End, translated by Ken Liu.

Invisible Planets: An anthology of contemporary Chinese science fiction, translated by Ken Liu.

Fiction by Ken Liu: The Grace of Kings, The Wall of Storms (read an excerpt on SupChina here), and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories.