Invisible Planets

Invisible Planets is edited and translated by Ken Liu and features 13 awesome sci-fi stories from China.

Just like Broken Stars, Lui features an interesting casts of writers. All can be classified as somewhat sci-fi but differ a lot in the types of stories.

Read: 1x | First: April 2021

Here are the stories with mini-notes:

Chen Qiufan

  • The Year of the Rat (ok, not my story)
  • The Fish of Lijiang (interesting concept, faster time for productivity, slower for old age) *
  • The Flower of Shazui

Xia Jia

  • A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight
  • Tongtong’s Summer (human-controlled robot-helpers, good take – random business idea: sensors on grandparents for safety but also for grandchildren to connect to toy that has their heart-beat etc)
  • Night Journey of the Dragon-Horse

Ma Boyong

  • The City of Silence (inspired by 1984, good story) *

Hao Jingfang

  • Invisible Planets (title of book, but not my type of story)
  • Folding Beijing (could easily turn into a sci-fi movie, very good) *

Tang Fei

  • Call Girl (interesting) *

Cheng Jingbo

  • Grave of the Fireflies

Liu Cixin

  • The Circle (adapted from Three Body Problem) *
  • Taking Care of God (very Liu Cixin – small premise, big story)

Some great sentences I came across:

  • “The biggest fear is for someone else to understand what you really fear” (p62)
  • A man is such a strange animal: fear and desire are expressed by the same organ.” (p63)
  • … technology is neutral. But the progress of technology will cause a free world to become ever freer, and a totalitarian world to become ever more repressive.” (p182)
  • [his father] had held fast to the thin reed of opportunity as the tide of humanity surged and then receded around him until at last he found himself a survivor on the dry beach.” (p231)
  • Morning climbs in through the window as shadow recedes from Tang Xiaoyi’s body like a green tide imbued with the fragrance of trees.”
  • Each individual’s behavior is so simple, yet together, they can produce such complex intelligence.” (p314)