Author：Verbena C. W，Elaine Yang
Novels in the science fiction genre have always been a source of material for Hollywood. In China, along with the increasingly large effect on the Chinese world by the epic series of science fiction novels “Three Body,” their author Liu Cixin’s reputation has risen rapidly. In the not too distant future, readers can hope to see “Santi” the movie. It is rumoured that quite a few of Liu Cixin’s works have been signed over for film and television adaptations, and that they are currently in the works.
In 1990 Liu Cixin began publishing science fiction short stories in magazines. From the time he started out up to today, science fiction novels have always been an obscure category in China; quite the opposite from the hot-selling fantasy novel genre. Chinese readers do not enjoy reading science fiction; or, that is, they do not enjoy reading science fiction novels written by native authors. But based solely on their love for science fiction, sci-fi authors such as Liu Cixin persevere with creating their works while making an income of close to zero. Most of his works became popular among science and engineering students because he posted them for free on Qinghua University’s bulletin board system. His short sci-fi works have repeatedly won the highest award in the Chinese science fiction community, the “Galaxy Award.” A representative work, “The Wandering Earth,” tells the story of an Earth forced to move because of an impending helium flash from the Sun, leaving it to drift about the cosmos. Though only 20,000 characters in length, it overflows with a mood of romanticism and the author’s ardent love for Earth’s civilization, causing many a reader to shed some tears. “Devourer” depicts the story of a tire-shaped alien spacecraft with plans to consume the Earth.
Liu Cixin’s series of novels, “Three Body,” has finally brought the dawn of a new era to China’s science fiction and publishing worlds. The first novel was published in 2007, and now the entire trilogy has finished being published. It has sold well, with over 400,000 copies being sold. “Three Body” tells the story set during the Cultural Revolution of a psychologically twisted female scientist who sends a dangerous signal into outer space inviting aliens to come and destroy the Earth. After that, the Three Body civilization, which is in outer space struggling for survival and has narrowly escaped a three-sun system where the stars’ movements are out of control, has now begun plans to make landfall on Earth. The Three Body civilization cannot read or understand the plans embedded within humanity’s brain waves, so humans target this and think up a plan: They must search the world for three outstanding people, give them all available resources, and ask them to come up with a way to defeat the Three Bodies. But they cannot reveal it to anyone. And the Three Body breakthrough plan is rising to the occasion as well. Who will win in the end?
Another novel, “Time after Nova,” is seen by Liu Cixin himself as being the most representative work of his level of creativity. A star far away in outer space explodes in a supernova, and the radiation it emits causes everyone on Earth over the age of 13 to die. The heads of government in many nations begin plans to hand national authority and societal mechanisms over to the children. But can such short-term training change a bunch of childish kids into mature experts? Or will all of society be plunged into stagnation and chaos? The children create their own new way of playing, and the nation is their amusement park.
On the subject of there being hopes that his works will soon hit the silver screen, Liu Cixin says that many authors would be happy to see their works successfully made into movies; however, he feels that another of his novels, “Ball Lightning,” would be more suited to adaptation than “Three Body.” “Ball Lightning” tells of a protagonist who, after watching as his parents get burned to ashes by the real physical phenomenon of ball lightning, makes a vow to discover the secret of ball lightning. Later, this phenomenon is successfully grasped by him and his fellow squadron members. It is used in military campaigns, and more strange phenomena ensue.