By DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW August 25, 2015
The Chinese writer Liu Cixin has won the 2015 Hugo Award for best science-fiction novel. It is the first time the prestigious prize has gone to a Chinese writer and the first time that multiple finalists were originally written in languages other than English, the World Science Fiction Society announced.
The award is for “The Three-Body Problem,” which was published in English last year by Tor Books and is the first volume of a trilogy that has been a major best seller in China. The story, set against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution, involves a secret military project that sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. The signals are received by an alien civilization that is on the brink of destruction and decides to invade Earth.
The English translation of the second volume, “The Dark Forest,” was published by Tor in early August. The third volume, “Death’s End,” is set for release next year.
In an interview with The New York Times last year, Mr. Liu attributed the popularity of his novels in China to the country’s uncertainties in the middle of fast-paced change, since science fiction plays on people’s fears and hopes for the future.
“China is on the path of rapid modernization and progress, kind of like the U.S. during the golden age of science fiction in the ’30s to the ’60s,” Mr. Liu said at the time. “The future in the people’s eyes is full of attractions, temptations and hope. But at the same time, it is also full of threats and challenges. That makes for very fertile soil.”
The award was announced on Saturday at the World Science Fiction Society’s annual convention, or Worldcon, in Spokane, Wash.
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