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Broken stars – tekijä: Ken Liu
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Broken stars (vuoden 2019 painos)

– tekijä: Ken Liu (Toimittaja)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
2621179,910 (3.87)-
"The stories span the range from short-shorts to novellas, and evoke every hue on the emotional spectrum. Besides stories firmly entrenched in subgenres familiar to Western SFF readers such as hard SF, cyberpunk, science fantasy, and space opera, the anthology also includes stories that showcase deeper ties to Chinese culture: alternate Chinese history, chuanyue time travel, satire with historical and contemporary allusions that are likely unknown to the average Western reader. While the anthology makes no claim or attempt to be "representative" or "comprehensive," it demonstrates the vibrancy and diversity of science fiction being written in China at this moment. " --Amazon.com.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:NielsK
Teoksen nimi:Broken stars
Kirjailijat:Ken Liu
Info:London : Head of Zeus, 2019.
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
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Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation (tekijä: Ken Liu (Editor))

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Average Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.1

I’ve been waiting to read this collection as well as Invisible Planets for a while, but as always, my backlist books get lost in the many shiny new arcs and releases I tend to gravitate towards. So, when I got the chance this month to add this to my tbr owing to two readathons, finally I was excited. And it didn’t disappoint at all.

This collection of stories felt so different from the usual books I’ve read, not that I have too much experience of reading sci-fi. This was a varied collection, not necessarily following a theme because these are essentially Ken Liu’s favorites - but I was surprised at the variety here with stories ranging from charming and sweet to reflective to dark to utterly terrifying. But what I found was that most of them were very thought provoking and reflective, forcing us to think about the kind of world we are living in and where we are heading towards. I also really enjoyed the mix of Chinese history and culture with sci-fi concepts as well as some juxtaposition with western settings. And the last three essays were a nice touch, getting me acquainted with the troubled history as well as the emergence of modern sci-fi in China, and only made me wish I could get to read something similar about the genre in my country.

I was mostly surprised that there wasn’t one story here which I truly hated or couldn’t comprehend (it usually happens to me with every collection or anthology) and this makes me even more excited for Tor’s collection next year of SFF by Chinese women and non-binary authors, one of the editors being the author of a short as well as essay in this collection.

Goodnight, Melancholy by Xia Jia

Based a bit on Alan Turing’s life, and telling the story of a depressed woman trying to find some hope and comfort in her robotic companions, this is a tale of loneliness and what we lengths we will go to try and feel a little less of it.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Moonlight by Liu Cixin

I don’t know if I should be amazed at the brilliant concept and writing in this story or despair at the hopelessness of it all towards the end. But however I feel about the story, it’s major theme is that climate change is real and unless we do something to significantly change our dependence on fossil fuels, the future of earth is not good.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Broken Stars by Tang Fei

I truly don’t know what to think of this story. It’s dark and a bit horrific, but also features a young woman who decides to take matters into her own hands after she is bullied and assaulted.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Submarines by Han Song

Another fascinating but hopeless and sad story towards the end. I’m not sure exactly what the author’s intention was but my takeaway from it was that human beings have innate survival instincts that will help them live even in excruciating circumstances, but sometimes no one can escape their fate. It also foretells the the perils of extreme modernization as well as how people will become numb to their fellow humans suffering.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Salinger and the Koreans by Han Song

An alternate history of the world kind of tale and featuring JD Salinger, the author of The Catcher and the Rye, this was again sad but reflective, and a different sort of take on communism and capitalism.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Under a Dangling Sky by Cheng Jingbo

A retelling of the Greek myth of Delphinus as well as that of Jack and the Beanstalk, this was charming and cute, and an interesting mix of sci-fi and fantasy.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

What has passed shall in kinder light appear by Baoshu

Wow… this was such a profound and hard hitting story. While following two star crossed lovers from their childhood, the author explores what would happen if historical events happened in a reverse order. We touch on major events in world history as well as 20th century, but happening in the opposite order, and it was fascinating to see how much more painful it would feel to go from a capitalist market economy and technologically advanced country to the days of rationing and the Cultural Revolution, the Great Famine and the Chinese civil war. This was sad and hopeless at times, with lot of bittersweet moments, but ultimately a very well written story that leaves us with a lot of thoughts and reflections.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The New Year Train by Hao Jingfang

This was a very very short story, but asks a good question about why we don’t enjoy our journey of life when we know we are going to die one day anyway.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Robot who likes to tell tall tales by Fei Dao

Through the use of allegories involving Death himself, the author gives us a lesson on the importance of stories, how blunt truth is not always the right way to go and sometimes, adding a bit of fantasy to truth will bring more pleasure to the listeners and may even help them gradually understand the truth.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

The snow of Jinyang by Zhang Ran

This was an interesting time travel story set during a struggle between the Han and Song dynasties. While it had a lot of chemistry, physics and quantum mechanics terms which I couldn’t understand, I think ultimately it was a story about how we can’t always change destiny however hard we try.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thr Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge by Anna Wu

This one reminded me a little of the tale in Mahabharata about the boon Draupadi asks Lord Shiva in her previous life - but of course only tangentially. Otherwise, this is a story of a an author who would do anything and sacrifice everything to be a successful author, irrespective of the consequences; on the other hand, his wife just wants his love and affection.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

The First Emperor’s Games by Ma Boyong

This was actually a fun story juxtaposing the story of China’s first emperor with modern day gaming, as well as a hint of the charm of venture capitalism. This was thoroughly entertaining and I would definitely have loved to see this as part of a bigger story.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reflection by Gu Shi

Fascinating story about the link between clairvoyance and multiple personality disorder and the whole idea of past and future being memories. The narrative style of this one was very unique and it took me a bit to figure out what was happening, but once it clicked, it was a great feeling.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

The Brain Box by Regina Kanyu Wang

Another fascinating concept but the beauty of this story is in how the author exposes our constant need to present an image about ourselves to everyone around us, trying to convince ourselves that it’s our true self, hiding our innermost thoughts - but at the same time also exposing another deep side of ourselves on the internet for the whole world to see.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Coming of the Light by Chen Qiufan

I’m not sure I completely got this story, but I guess my takeaway from it was that most of us are just cogs in the machine and nothing much of what we do will ever impact the world around us in a significant way - all we can do is try and feel happy with what we have.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️

A History of Future Illnesses by Chen Qiufan

This was very well written but damn, so hopeless and scary. The author writes in 9 chapters about 9 diseases that will come to afflict our world in the future due to our overindulgence of technology and going to extremes. Especially one chapter about how we are completely dependent on devices and wouldn’t know what to do of cut off from them, really petrified me because it is in some ways, our current reality and I’ve no idea of what the author imagined might come true one day.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
My first dip into Chinese Science Fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology. “What shall pass in kinder appear” was so I touched by this story it pulled all my heart string. There are stories that makes you think a lot about our current situations especially of our dependency on technology. I will definitely be on the look for more Chinese Science Fiction. ( )
  Islandmum84 | Jul 28, 2021 |
This is the second anthology with Chinese science fiction that Ken Liu has assembled and translated (alone or with a fellow translator). The first one, Invisible Planets, was very much to my liking. It offered a general introduction/view - certainly not a Best Of - on some of China's authors in the field. Three essays concluded the whole by offering a view on SF in China.

'Broken Stars' is more of that, but from a more personal (Ken Liu's) perspective. As he wrote in the introduction:

"...the most important criterion I used was simply this: I enjoyed the story and thought it memorable. (...) Whether you'll like the stories in here will thus have a lot to do with how your taste overlaps with mine. I don't believe in picking "perfect" stories; in fact, I think that stories that do one thing really well are much better than stories that do nothing really "wrong." I claim no authority or objectivity, but I am arrogant enough to be confident in my taste."

This second bundle contains more stories than before, sixteen in total, again joined by three essays. More stories also mean a new selection of authors, though some make a reappearance.

About the essays: I found them a little less interesting compared to those in the previous anthology, though they too offer another glimpse of how science fiction in China is older than we think, how it was also influenced by western SF (yes, indeed), how it has not always fared very well - at some point in the 20th century, it was abolished for political reasons - and how since several years, it's been accumulating success again, not in the least because of Cixin Liu's stories.

Be it a general selection of Chinese SF or based on Ken Liu's own "arrogance", on both occasions the result is very much worth reading. Of course, for some stories it helps to have a basic understanding of China's history, but even without it, the stories are perfectly readable. I do the historical and humourous aspects of certain stories. Others show a clear influence of western SF or even a Buddhist approach, a touch of philosophy, some psychology, some anthropology, ...

Anthologies like this one prove it's important to read various kinds of stories, of anywhere in the world, as no one holds the only truth in his hands, as one song by Kamelot (Farewell (Epica, 2003)) goes.

Like before, there are various authors on this list of whom I'd like to read more. I'll never be able to finish my TBR-pile, I'm afraid. :(

----------

Table of contents:
Xia Jia
* Goodnight, Melancholy

Liu Cixin
* Moonlight

Tang Fei
* Broken Stars

Han Song
* Submarines
* Salinger and the Koreans

Cheng Jongbo
* Under a Dangling Sky

Baoshu
* What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear

Hao Jingfang
* The New Year Train

Fei Dao
* The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales

Zhang Ran
* The Snow of Jinyang

Anna Wu
* The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge

Ma Boyong
* The First Emperor's Games

Gu Shi
* Reflection

Regina Kanyu Wang
* The Brain Box

Chen Qiufan
* Coming of the Light
* A History of Illnesses

Essays
* A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom - Regina Kanyu Wang
* A New Continent for Chinese Scholars: Chinese Science Fiction Studies - Mingwei Song
* Science Fiction: Embarrassing No More - Fei Dao ( )
  TechThing | Mar 24, 2021 |
Splendidly engaging modern SciFi from China that stretches and rearranges time, mashes up past and future, matches clever, creative story telling with human thought and feeling. Great collection.
  MusicalGlass | Oct 25, 2020 |
Dystopian fiction is always a bit frustrating, possibly because, as a depressive, it mirrors the way I catastrophise stupid little problems. I know that that impulse is irrational, so it's weird for an author to essentially explain why it isn't. Too often, dystopian fiction is anti-technology, relying on very conservative, slippery-slope logic. We invent x thing, and years later, society is a trainwreck and we're supposed to blame the invention, rather than the litany of terrible decisions that would have to have been made since its invention. I'm glad that this trend seems to be dying out in fiction, tbh, and that how we actually get to a bad place is seen as worth exploring, rather than just taking as read. Of course, the problem in fiction is that, from a narrative perspective, a utopia doesn't seem particularly interesting. Stories rely on conflict, and utopian societies seek to reduce the need for or the impact of such conflicts. So a writer sitting down to write a story probably prefers an environment and a society that can throw up obstacles, rather than one that tries not to.

Still, it can work. Star Trek's Federation, and Iain M Banks' Culture, have managed to stay honest-to-goodness utopias over the course of multiple stories, without having to crumble just for the sake of creating conflict. Most of their conflict comes from outside the utopia - and there is always an outside to any utopia, of course. But mainly they are not technophobic. They are utopias because they rely upon and trust in technology, rather than demonising it because of how someone might use it.

I think it's telling that the blame for dystopia is so often laid on technology, because if history tells us anything, it's that fascistic and totalitarian societies have been able to force people into submission with nothing more advanced or high-tech than manpower and bits of paper. Star Trek even nods to this - the Cardassians are noted for their filing, something that seems weirdly quaint in a universe of supercomputers. The technology is not the problem - it's the people and their drives.

In the same way that dystopias don't speak to "us", neither do utopias. The pronoun "we" can only ever include some of us - hopefully even "many people", as some of the writers in this Chinese anthology say. What it really all comes down to is "caring about strangers", whether that means other living people who are different from us or people who haven't been born yet, but too few of those with the power to change things - also part of the "we" - are encouraging us to do any such thing. Hence all the dystopias.

Of course, every generation gets the utopia or dystopia it deserves, be it coming from China or coming from any other Western country. ( )
  antao | Aug 20, 2020 |
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"The stories span the range from short-shorts to novellas, and evoke every hue on the emotional spectrum. Besides stories firmly entrenched in subgenres familiar to Western SFF readers such as hard SF, cyberpunk, science fantasy, and space opera, the anthology also includes stories that showcase deeper ties to Chinese culture: alternate Chinese history, chuanyue time travel, satire with historical and contemporary allusions that are likely unknown to the average Western reader. While the anthology makes no claim or attempt to be "representative" or "comprehensive," it demonstrates the vibrancy and diversity of science fiction being written in China at this moment. " --Amazon.com.

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