A Pre-Review of Invisible Planets

This is the reality of the psychological landscape constructed by the tales: tradition and modernity, stagnation and progress, political powerlessness and thrilling technological potential—all aspects of the same reality, a chiaroscuro of extreme contrasts in hope and terror. –Liu, Invisible Frameworks

I was lucky enough to get a review copy of the Ken Liu anthology INVISIBLE PLANETS, and while I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I am so excited about it. Completely aside from all the hype and awards, as incredibly deserved as they are, Ken is someone who’s always been so thoughtful and canny about the world and the way the future might work.

His fiction is fantastic–there’s a reason I’ve bought so much of it–but there’s a difference between what one writes as an author, and what one chooses to highlight and share as an editor. Ken’s contributions to and suggestions for nonfiction, discussion, and news have always been excellent and wide-ranging, so to have an anthology he curated is a rare treat.

I’ve also been making an effort to read non-Western, non-White, non-American fiction, and with the current political climate, an anthology of Chinese science fiction that’s accessible to American audiences is so useful and appreciated.

Contemporary China is a complex society in transition, and the kinds of technological and social changes that took societies in the West centuries to move through have sometimes been experienced by a mere two generations in China. The anxiety of careening out of balance, of being torn by parts moving too fast and too slow, is felt everywhere. –Liu, Invisible Frameworks

I encourage you to pick up Invisible Planets, both for its inevitably wonderful stories, but also because the world is becoming a smaller place, and it would behoove us to understand more about the way our neighbors dream.

But if you’re still not sure, read Invisible Planets / Invisible Frameworks — Assembling an Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF, the piece Ken wrote about why Chinese science fiction is Chinese.

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