A short story collection from ‘New York Times’ best-selling author Cixin Liu. The title story,“The Wandering Earth”, was a blockbuster international film.
These 11 stories, including 5 Chinese Galaxy Award-winners, are a blazingly original ode to planet earth, its pasts and its futures. Liu’s fiction takes the listener to the edge of the universe and the end of time, to meet stranger fates than we could have ever imagined. With a melancholic and keen understanding of human nature, Liu’s stories show humanity’s attempts to reason, navigate, and above all survive in a desolate cosmos.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.
Liu Cixin has been one of my recent favorite sci-fi authors for how deliciously in-depth he gets with the science behind his stories. In fact, comparing The Wandering Earth to his other translated short story collection, To Hold Up the Sky, the stories in this collection go even harder on the hard science aspect compared To Hold Up the Sky‘s more philosophical bent. In fact, I remember remarking to several friends as I read this that at times, some of these stories seem like multi-step physics problems told in short story form.
Which is not to say the stories are dry or purely physics. One of my favorite aspects of Liu’s short stories is his ability to tie human emotions, love for family and cherished ones, the human ambition to go further and bolder, or just the petty greed tied with capitalism, and combine them so effortlessly with the technical components. I’ve seen the movie the collection’s title story is based on, also called ‘The Wandering Earth’ (you can check it out on Netflix!) and it was interesting to see how different the two stories were, both in time scale and areas of focus. Two very different stories, but both excellently told.
Personal favorites for me include, ‘The Wandering Earth’, which follows humanity’s escape from an exploding sun over multiple generations and ends in a beautiful poem to the future generation, ‘Son of China’, which follows an illiterate young farmer who slowly working his way through society, and ‘Curse 5.0’, a humorous Internet of Things gone terrorist and also Liu’s attempt at self-insert fic. Overall, I rate this collection a 4/5.
r/Fantasy 2021-22 Bingo Squares:
- Five Short Stories (hard mode)
- Set in Asian (hard mode)