Top 20 translated sci-fi novels in China in 2014

 

The Publishers Weekly published an article on May 22 about the prominent presence of China in 2015 BookExpo America (BEA). Particularly newsworthy were two items linked from this article – Joel Martinsen’s “Chinese SF Blasts Off” and Ken Liu’s “Coming to America: Liu Cixin”.

As Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem was recently nominated for the Hugo Awards, it is now well known that Ken Liu is the translator of this book, originally titled “Remembrance of Earth’s Past”, which was published by Tor Books in 2014. Martinsen is the translator of The Dark Forest, the second book in the Three Body trilogy, while Eric Abrahamsen handles the translation of the third and final book, Death’s End.

As Martinsen points out in “Chinese SF Blasts Off”, science fiction has gone mainstream in China in recent years and is mainly driven by short stories. More importantly, while various talented writers are increasingly attracting the attention of readers in China and publishers in the West, local SF is still far outnumbered by translations.

According to Chinese SF writer Bao Shu (Phenixus), a total of 74 science fiction titles were translated and published in China in 2014. Among them, some 50 were newly introduced, i.e. genuine SF titles that are neither “children’s literature” nor works of “popular science”; they are not re-translations of existing publications, either.

Bao Shu lists the following 20 titles as the most worthy of recommendation to Chinese readers. While these reflect only one (very well read) Chinese SF writer’s literary taste, they shed some light on the kind of English and Japanese SF titles in which Chinese publishers are interested. They may also inspire SF writers in the West into exploring some of the subjects and themes that are attractive to Chinese readers.

No.20: The Lord of the Sands of Time (2009) by Japanese author Issu Ogawa

LordTimeSand

No.19: Genocide of One (2011) by Japanese author Kazuaki Takano

GenocideOne

No.18: Eon (Book 1 of The Way trilogy) (1985) by Greg Bear

Eon

No.17: Redshirts (2012) by John Scalzi

RedShirts

No.16: Ada (1994) by Japanese author Masaki Yamada

Ada

No.15: Ship Breaker (2010) by Paolo Bacigalupi

ShipBreaker

No.14: Biogenesis and Other Stories (2008) by Japanese author Tatsuaki Ishiguro

Biogenesis

No.13: Coyote: A Novel of Interstellar Exploration (2002) by Allen Steele

Coyote

No.12: Genocidal Organ (2007) and Harmony (2010) by Japanese author Project Itoh

GenocidalOrgan

No.11: The Unincorporated Man (2009) by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin

UnincorporatedMan

No.10: Mortal Engines (2001), Predator’s Gold (2003) and Internal Devices (2005) by Philip Reeve

MortalEngine

No.9: Endymion (1996) and The Rise of Endymion (1997) by Dan Simmons

Endymion

No.8: The Shape of Thought and Others (2014) by Ken Liu

ShapeOfThought

No.7: Idoru (1996) by William Gibson

Idoru

No.6: 11/22/63 (2011) by Stephen King

112263

No.5: Ready Player One (2011) by Ernest Cline

ReadyPlayerOne

No.4: Blood Music (1985) by Greg Bear

BloodMusic

No.3: Across the Universe (2011), A Million Suns (2012) and Shades of Earth (2013) by Beth Revis

AcrossUniverse

No.2: From the New World (2008) by Japanese author Yusuke Kishi

FromNewWorld

No.1: The End of Eternity (1955) by Isaac Asimov

EndOfEternity

Please note that Ken Liu’s The Shape of Thought and Others is a collection of translated short stories produced by a Chinese publisher, i.e. it is not a collection written in English and later translated into Chinese. Also, regarding Stephen King’s 11/22/63, it was widely reported in Chinese media in September 2014, when the Simplified Chinese edition was published, that there are plenty of mistakes in the translation. In his writing, Bao Shu indicates that he has read the English edition.

 

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