Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Trilogy and the Status of Science Fiction in Contemporary China

Abstract : The recent success of Liu Cixin's hard sf trilogy Santi [The Three-Body Trilogy, 2006-2008] is symbolic of the important rise of Chinese science fiction both in China and in the rest of the world. This trilogy tells the story of the future invasion of Earth by a belligerent extraterrestrial civilization with advanced technology and the ways in which humans try to defend themselves. It begins with the Chinese Cultural Revolution and ends with the heat death of the universe. A huge bestseller and great critical success, it is also being adapted to film. The English translation of the first volume also won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015. With the considerable success he achieved with this trilogy, Liu Cixin has become for the readers, critics, and supporters of Chinese soft power the standard-bearer of a new “era” of Chinese science fiction, called upon to promote the “Chinese dream” to the international community. In light of the history of science fiction in China since 1949 and its political reappropriation, this present contribution offers an examination of the conditions of production and reception of The Three-Body Trilogy in China and abroad and details the reasons for the critical, academic, and even political passion that it arouses today.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02357335
Contributor : Gwennaël Gaffric <>
Submitted on : Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 11:19:24 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, November 10, 2019 - 1:19:07 AM

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Gwennaël Gaffric, William Peyton. Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Trilogy and the Status of Science Fiction in Contemporary China. Science Fiction Studies, SF-TH, 2019, 46 (1), pp.21-38. ⟨hal-02357335⟩

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