Hot Best Seller

Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction

Availability: Ready to download

A stunning collection of the best in Chinese Science Fiction, from Award-Winning legends to up-and-coming talent, all translated here into English for the first time.  This celebration of Chinese Science Fiction — thirteen stories, all translated for the first time into English — represents a unique exploration of the nation’s speculative fiction from the late 20th Century A stunning collection of the best in Chinese Science Fiction, from Award-Winning legends to up-and-coming talent, all translated here into English for the first time.  This celebration of Chinese Science Fiction — thirteen stories, all translated for the first time into English — represents a unique exploration of the nation’s speculative fiction from the late 20th Century onwards, curated and translated by critically acclaimed writer and essayist Xueting Christine Ni. From the renowned Jiang Bo’s ‘Starship: Library' to Regina Kanyu Wang’s ‘The Tide of Moon City, and Anna Wu’s ‘Meisje met de Parel', this is a collection for all fans of great fiction. Award winners, bestsellers, screenwriters, playwrights, philosophers, university lecturers and computer programmers, these thirteen writers represent the breadth of Chinese SF, from new to old: Gu Shi, Han Song, Hao Jingfang, Nian Yu, Wang Jinkang, Zhao Haihong, Tang Fei, Ma Boyong, Anna Wu, A Que, Bao Shu, Regina Kanyu Wang and Jiang Bo.


Compare

A stunning collection of the best in Chinese Science Fiction, from Award-Winning legends to up-and-coming talent, all translated here into English for the first time.  This celebration of Chinese Science Fiction — thirteen stories, all translated for the first time into English — represents a unique exploration of the nation’s speculative fiction from the late 20th Century A stunning collection of the best in Chinese Science Fiction, from Award-Winning legends to up-and-coming talent, all translated here into English for the first time.  This celebration of Chinese Science Fiction — thirteen stories, all translated for the first time into English — represents a unique exploration of the nation’s speculative fiction from the late 20th Century onwards, curated and translated by critically acclaimed writer and essayist Xueting Christine Ni. From the renowned Jiang Bo’s ‘Starship: Library' to Regina Kanyu Wang’s ‘The Tide of Moon City, and Anna Wu’s ‘Meisje met de Parel', this is a collection for all fans of great fiction. Award winners, bestsellers, screenwriters, playwrights, philosophers, university lecturers and computer programmers, these thirteen writers represent the breadth of Chinese SF, from new to old: Gu Shi, Han Song, Hao Jingfang, Nian Yu, Wang Jinkang, Zhao Haihong, Tang Fei, Ma Boyong, Anna Wu, A Que, Bao Shu, Regina Kanyu Wang and Jiang Bo.

30 review for Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    3.5 stars I was very eager to try Sinopticon after enjoying some previous anthologies of translated Chinese SFF. A new-to-me editor and translator, and a mix of author names (some I'd read before, some I hadn't heard of), and more female authors as well. And this definitely lived up to my expectations for more variety! Xueting Christine Ni's selections cover a range of SF topics and types of SF. Her notes after each story also provided a lot of great context. I don't always want to know "more" af 3.5 stars I was very eager to try Sinopticon after enjoying some previous anthologies of translated Chinese SFF. A new-to-me editor and translator, and a mix of author names (some I'd read before, some I hadn't heard of), and more female authors as well. And this definitely lived up to my expectations for more variety! Xueting Christine Ni's selections cover a range of SF topics and types of SF. Her notes after each story also provided a lot of great context. I don't always want to know "more" after a short story, but the afterwords were well placed to understand why particular stories were chosen, what made them stand out to the editor, and particular Chinese concepts and ideas being used. I have to place a huge caveat here that I know little about Chinese history, culture, and storytelling. But the stories that stuck out the most to me in Sinopticon were the ones exploring ideas that are definitely Chinese - such as "Tombs of the Universe" by Han Song, "The Great Migration" by Ma Boyong, and "The Tide of Moon City" by Regina Kanyu Wang. These stories made me pause and think how I'd never seen these premises in SF before! More of this, please! My overall rating is lowered somewhat because as with most collections or anthologies, there are always a few stories that aren't to one's taste. In my case, some of the longer stories - such as the one about zombies - were not interesting. However, I was still impressed with the variety of the selections and the care taken in the translation. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    Uneven collection BUT the stories I enjoyed are really good. Always nice to add more authors in your watch list.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Real Rating: 4.5* of five, rounded up because there were more hits than misses THE PUBLISHER OFFERED ME A DRC. THANK YOU. My Review: China's gargantuan economy, and its borning confidence in its increasing influence translating to wider power, is on display in its "kehuan" (science fiction) writers' concerns. This collection, admirably balanced between unpublished-in-the-West and still-gaining-followers-here writers, does what I suppose we all need: Introduces us to the Chinese view of the world, Real Rating: 4.5* of five, rounded up because there were more hits than misses THE PUBLISHER OFFERED ME A DRC. THANK YOU. My Review: China's gargantuan economy, and its borning confidence in its increasing influence translating to wider power, is on display in its "kehuan" (science fiction) writers' concerns. This collection, admirably balanced between unpublished-in-the-West and still-gaining-followers-here writers, does what I suppose we all need: Introduces us to the Chinese view of the world, and its future, without the burden of Geopolitical Maneuvering landing on it. One thing the editor says in her introduction struck me forcibly: Chinese fiction doesn't tend to have happy endings. Well, having read this collection, I can attest to the truth of that. I've said many times and in many places that adulthood is the time of life when there are no unmixed emotions. By that measure, Chinese kehuan/science fiction is very adult. I can think of no story, or character in a story, here that has unmixed or unmitigated happiness or success in present life or anticipation of future life. It simply is not part of the cultural furniture, it would seem; if you're particularly sensitive to this, as in you really, really need hopeful, positive futures, you're in the wrong space. The payoff to this is that the stories feel...probable. Unlike Western SF, with its doom/gloom/dystopia or happy-bunnies-everywhere dichotomy, these mixed-up emotional cores feel like the real world to me...even when they're speculating wildly. I find it relatable to have a range of emotions that's confined to the, um, downbeat end but not focused on absolute chaos and dissolution of structures. Reality tends towards messy muddling through. So do most of these stories. Please see the story-by-story notes and ratings at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Average Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.4 After having read Ken Liu's short stories as well as his translated works, I have been very excited to read more stories from Chinese SFF authors. So, when I saw this collection being reviewed by one of my mutuals, I knew I had to read it. And what an experience this turned out to be. I am always scared of reading sci-fi because I am not much into hard core scientific concepts, but I loved that this collection is a lot about ideas and humanity and just humans in general Average Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.4 After having read Ken Liu's short stories as well as his translated works, I have been very excited to read more stories from Chinese SFF authors. So, when I saw this collection being reviewed by one of my mutuals, I knew I had to read it. And what an experience this turned out to be. I am always scared of reading sci-fi because I am not much into hard core scientific concepts, but I loved that this collection is a lot about ideas and humanity and just humans in general, with all their flaws and emotions. There were many moments here where I was moved and I just couldn't put the book down. I almost loved all stories here and definitely appreciated the rest which is rarely the case when reading so many authors, so I am very glad that this book exists. And I hope I will be able to read more stories by these authors in the future. The Last Save by Gu Shi This story poses a very important question - what if in our quest for perfect happiness, we develop a technology that lets us erase every small moment that we consider bad or imperfect, and ultimately forget that humanity is what it is because of it's imperfections and flaws. Great opening to the collection. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Tombs of the Universe by Han Song This was an engaging story about what death means to a technologically advanced civilization which has moved much farther from earth, and how the customs and rituals surrounding the celebration of the end of life evolve in mysterious ways when humanity starts living longer. It also has some interesting commentary on the necessity of studying various aspects of history and the importance of remembering it. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Qiankun and Alex by Hao Jingfang This was an extremely fascinating and sweet story about the interactions between a little boy and the world's most super intelligent AI. I loved the idea that even the most technologically advanced artificial intelligence might have something to learn from children. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cat's Chance in Hell by Nian Yu A kind of a commentary on the ethical aspects of human cloning, this action packed thrilling short story explores a world where humans don't participate in wars anymore but clones and robots do; but the age old habit of exploiting love and affection and patriotism to wage war and create destruction still persists, probably in a more perverse manner. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5 The Return of Adam by Wang Jinkang The story of a man out of time, and the conflict between adapting a neural implant that provides a higher level of intelligence and the founding principles of Confucius; this was interesting to begin with but I can't say I liked the way it ended. But as the oldest story in this collection, it does stand as an example of the evolution of the Kehuan genre. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Rendezvous: 1937 by Zhao Haihong This was undoubtedly a painful story to read but definitely so well written that it moved me deeply. A tale of a young woman time travelling to the events of the Nanjiang massacre and confronting the horrors of the time while hoping that there existed someone who resisted, this was very emotional and enumerated the fact that this is a part of history that needs to be remembered in the hope that humanity will learn something from it and probably not resort to that depravity again. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Heart of the Museum by Tang Fei I was fascinated that this story was told through the POV of a non human entity living on Earth among humans while concealing their identity. And I loved how through their timeless eyes - who can see all past, present and future at the same time - we get to explore the idea of how much our actions determine our future or if everything is predestined. It was also interesting to see a non human entity explore a museum full of past artifacts and try to understand their significance to us, because the past doesn't really have any nostalgia effect for them. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Great Migration by Ma Boyong The overwhelming feeling I had while reading this was despair. As the editor mentions, this story is a parallel to the annual travel that Chinese people across the world undertake to reach home before the Lunar New Year; and what would happen if there was a similar scramble to go home to Earth from Mars in a future Space Age. I think the author wanted to show that however far away from Earth we might go, some basic troubles and tribulations will never change - trying to get the cheapest tickets, cutting queues to be first, trying to buy on the black market, and ultimately the desire to go home under any circumstances - we will essentially remain the same. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Meisje Met De Parel by Anna Wu This is another time travel and AI story but what I loved was it's appreciation for Art in all forms - especially painting, classical music and the culinary arts. I loved the way the author describes the melodies of Bach, the turmoil in the paintings of Van Gogh as well as the meticulous way food can be prepared. I don't wanna give away too much because this sweetly haunting tale deserves not to be spoiled at all but what I will take away from it is that Art is beautiful and timeless. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Flower of the Other Shore by A Que CW: virus and pandemic When I started this story and I realized that it had a virus which resulted in a pandemic of zombies called Stiffs affecting a huge part of humanity, I thought of abandoning it. I don't know why I kept on but I'm glad I did because this is probably one of the best in this collection. It is pretty tropey in many ways like a Hollywood zombie film with constant fights between Breathers and Stiffs, the army trying to take control, and a mad villain scientist thinking he has the right to decide for all of humanity. But ultimately this story is full of love and hope and I can promise you that it'll leave you teary eyed. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Absolution Experiment by Bao Shu CW: bigoted serial killer who has committed mass murders A tale of mankind's search for immortality while also not being able to tame one of humanity's basest impulses - retribution - this very short story was interesting and makes you contemplate the blurring distinctions between punishment and justice. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5 The Tide of Moon City by Regina Wanyu Kang Wow did this make me sad. Taking some inspiration from the story of The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, the author explores the tale of two binary planets in gridlock whose acrimony towards each other only hinder their progress; simultaneously touching on two characters from the planets who can't be together because of the political situation. It's a story about loss and grief and it was so touching and emotional. The melancholic tone of the writing reminded me a lot of some cdramas I have watched. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Starship: Library by Jiang Bo This was definitely a perfect end to the collection. Set in a starship library that keeps traveling across the galaxy for millenia in hopes that someone who is in need of it will visit them, this story is an ode to the beauty of libraries and the important part they play in the process of learning. It shows that if humans continue to imprint knowledge instead of learning it through struggles, humanity will lose it's vitality and become stagnant. I really appreciated the way this story left us with lots of thoughts about the way we have been neglecting libraries in our real world, hoping that it would create a spark in us to med our ways. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

  5. 4 out of 5

    plainzt

    One of the best anthologies I've read. I wish we have this kind of science-fiction story compilation for every country or language. I cannot applaud the editor of the book, Xueting Christine Ni enough. Stories in this anthology are very successfully curated. Representation is quite wide. All thirteen stories were translated into English for the first time and they are from the late 20th century onwards. The book achieves its purpose in bringing the Chinese science fiction heritage to us. But beyo One of the best anthologies I've read. I wish we have this kind of science-fiction story compilation for every country or language. I cannot applaud the editor of the book, Xueting Christine Ni enough. Stories in this anthology are very successfully curated. Representation is quite wide. All thirteen stories were translated into English for the first time and they are from the late 20th century onwards. The book achieves its purpose in bringing the Chinese science fiction heritage to us. But beyond this, we also learn that Kehuan (科幻, the Chinese term for science fiction), still gets lumped in with educational literature in China. We are told that Kehuan is going through a renaissance because of some social and economical factors nowadays. And authors have given more room to think and imagine. The other positive aspect of the book for me is that besides science-fiction scenery I also learn different elements of Chinese culture, language, history that I've never heard of before. The editor explains this wanting to give us an insight into China as a whole which I think they succeeded. Some of my favorite stories were QIANKUN AND ALEX and Cat in Hell’s Chance. I also want to mention the story called FLOWER OF THE OTHER SHORE (彼岸花) by A QUE. This is kind of a take on zombie tales. It was quite dark and sad yet cleverly humorous at the same time. All the references in this story are beautifully thought in my opinion. My only issue would be the editor's choice of including a short piece on the author and their story after the end of each story. I appreciate cultural context and information about writers but I don't like stories explained to me in the afterword or any other forms within the books. I recommend this anthology to every sci-fan and/or everyone who wants to learn more about China. Thank you to Netgalley and Rebellion, Solaris for providing an Advance Reader Copy of this book for reviewers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    Xueting brings to readers an impressive collection of short stories representing Chinese speculative fiction from the late 20th Century onwards. Each story has earned its place in the anthology and demonstrates the range of themes found in Kehuan (the Chinese term for science fiction). An introductory essay places Chinese science fiction in a general context. Xueting explains that Chinese SF has been influenced by Western science fiction, but also contains elements intrinsic to Chinese identity, Xueting brings to readers an impressive collection of short stories representing Chinese speculative fiction from the late 20th Century onwards. Each story has earned its place in the anthology and demonstrates the range of themes found in Kehuan (the Chinese term for science fiction). An introductory essay places Chinese science fiction in a general context. Xueting explains that Chinese SF has been influenced by Western science fiction, but also contains elements intrinsic to Chinese identity, culture, and history. For each piece, there are notes about the author and the particular story. The notes discuss everything from translation considerations to events or cultural customs that might be unfamiliar to Western readers. The result is varied and entertaining; slice-of-life stories mingle with whimsical galactic adventures and post-apocalyptic black comedy. Han Song's "Tombs of the Universe," for example, shows how humanity treats the remains of the dead in the age of cosmic exploration. In "The Last Save," by Gu Shi, technology gives people the option for rebooting their life, and unlimited memory allows them to correct any mistake by going back in time and making different choices. There are many great stories here, but A Que's "Flowers of the Other Shore" is probably my favorite. Imagine a story about the zombie apocalypse told from the perspective of a zombie who, despite his urge to hurt people, has no desire to do so. It is excellent in every way. The writing style, the idea, the execution, the ending. I absolutely loved it. Another story I want to mention, Starship: Library by Jjang Bo, tackles the themes of artificial intelligence, the purpose of life and death, and the importance of learning. It somehow spoke to me on a deeply personal level. In its entirety, Sinopticon is a stunning collection. With such a wide variety of themes and tones, everyone should find something for themselves. Sinopticon is a must-read for readers who want to discover what science fiction looks like from an Asian perspective. Heck, it'll be a treat for any fan of sci-fi short stories! Highly, highly recommended. ARC through NetGalley

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    I generally prefer novels to short stories, but was intrigued by the possibility of reading works by authors whose work I have not heard of before. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed most of the stories in here: The Last Save -by Gu Shi -3.5 stars. An interesting take on opting out of a commonly used technology which has effects on people's relationships and to the wider society. The main character chooses not to constantly reset his life when he discovers his wife, who up till now I generally prefer novels to short stories, but was intrigued by the possibility of reading works by authors whose work I have not heard of before. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed most of the stories in here: The Last Save -by Gu Shi -3.5 stars. An interesting take on opting out of a commonly used technology which has effects on people's relationships and to the wider society. The main character chooses not to constantly reset his life when he discovers his wife, who up till now has opted out, had signed them up for the "family" account. Tombs of the Universe -by Han Song -4 stars. The images of countless gravestones on different planets and moons from the first wave of spacefaring by humans into the solar system had such a melancholic and lonely feel. Coupled with the account within the story of someone dealing with the dead, as well as the changing attitudes of people as humans travelled in space, made this a thought-provoking story. Qiankun and Alex -by Hao Jingfang -4.5 stars. I really liked this story about AI, and how one very powerful AI managing many systems must also learn how to interact with people, and the person it does interact with is a curious three-year old. There’s learning and attachment on both sides. Cat’s Chance in Hell -by Nian Yu -4 stars. Great action and ethical questions raised by a soldier returned to active duty because of a new war. The Return of Adam -by Wang Jinkang -2 stars. My least favourite in this collection. An astronaut is awakened back on Earth after his cryosleep of many years. Rendevous: 1937 -by Zhao Haihong -4 stars. The author shows how a person from the future is anxious to capture part of the horrific history in Nanjing, but not the atrocities. Rather, the strength of the people in the city, and their will to oppose the Japanese soldiers’ horrific behaviour. The Heart of the Museum -by Tang Fei -3.5 stars. Interesting, in how an alien might view time and the endeavours of one individual’s efforts to create a revolutionary structure for a museum with an unusual approach for displaying its objects. I had a little trouble understanding the end of this story. The Great Migration -by Ma Boyong -4 stars. A bit male-gazey, but otherwise quite enjoyable. In China thousands of people currently travel from their work locations home for family and festivals. The idea that this would continue into the far future if people worked off planet makes sense. I liked how the author portrayed the crushing difficulties of procuring a prized ticket on a ship back home to Earth—I could really get the sense of desperation and frustration the characters experienced. Meisje met de Parel -by Anna Wu -3 stars.I had a hard time understanding this one; there were individual moments of startling beauty (the descriptions of food prep, and the ocean), but I only sort of got the point the author was making about Art and its lasting impact through time. Flowers of the Other Shore - by A Que -4 stars. A sensitive and quietly funny take on the zombie story, with the main zombie character, a “Stiff”, and his zombie pal discussing the mundane and philosophical while wandering around looking for their next human snack. Then, a flower and a relationship with a still human woman offer a possibility of hope for the remaining humans. The Absolution Experiment -by Bao Shu -3.5 stars. Talk about getting one’s revenge! A chilling option to a question about appropriate punishment for heinous actions. The Tide of Moon City -by Regina Kanyu Wang -4 stars. A story of two planets and two scientists, each from one of the planets, and all separated by politics. I liked the use of a legend to illustrate the way the two people cannot be together. Starship: Library -by Jiang Bo -4 stars. As a huge fan of libraries, this story about a woman advocating for the existence of the library she managed, as she travelled through space, was satisfying. I loved how relevant all those books became…. Overall: 3.7 stars. Thank you to Netgalley and Rebellion for this ARC in exchange for my review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leighton

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! First off, as a reader of Chinese descent (but who can't read Chinese), I am so happy to see an anthology of Chinese authors being translated into English. I've read and enjoyed Ken Liu's works. In fact, Invisible Planets, his first collection of translated sci-fi stories, is one of my favorite short story collections. I was excited to get approved to read this book, and I am proud to support the publication o Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! First off, as a reader of Chinese descent (but who can't read Chinese), I am so happy to see an anthology of Chinese authors being translated into English. I've read and enjoyed Ken Liu's works. In fact, Invisible Planets, his first collection of translated sci-fi stories, is one of my favorite short story collections. I was excited to get approved to read this book, and I am proud to support the publication of works that have been translated from Chinese into English. Thank you again to the publisher for this opportunity! Sinopicon 2021 is a bold and daring anthology of sci-fi stories that have been translated from Chinese into English. This has rarely been done before, and I applaud the publisher for taking this risk. The stories themselves are amazing, and to think that they would have never reached English-reading audiences if not for this book! The themes of the stories revolve around time travel, space travel, and robots. Although these themes are familiar to Western science fiction fans, there is still a unique Chinese-ness to the stories, as exemplified through the names of the characters, among other things. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite stories in the collection, Tombs of the Universe by Han Song: "When I was ten, my father decided that I was fit for space travel. That year, the whole family went to Orion on a flight with Interstellar Travel. On our way back, the ship broke down, and we had to stop off on Mars to catch another flight back to Earth. We landed near the Martian north pole. With everyone feeling anxious and apprehensive, the flight attendant arranged for us to get into spacesuits and take a stroll outside. Our landing point was surrounded by ruins from the old Human Era, announced the captain; remnants of the First Age of Space Exploration. I remember very clearly: we had stopped in front of a section of a metal wall several kilometres long, and happened upon some unexpected things. We now know that those things were called gravestones, but back then, I was simply transfixed by their awesome grandeur." Imagine somebody going to another planet on vacation, instead of going to Disney World! The possibilities for the future are endless, and this book presents infinite possibilities to the reader. Overall, Sinopticon 2021 is a groundbreaking anthology of science fiction that will appeal to readers of Ken Liu's anthologies Invisible Planets and Broken Stars. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above or if you're a fan of the science fiction genre, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in November!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction is an anthology of thirteen short stories edited and translated by Xueting Christine Ni. It showcases the depth and breadth of Chinese science fiction literature (Kehuan) – at its best. For the most part, this collection of short stories was written and constructed rather well. Editor and translator Ni has curated thirteen never-before-translated stories couch universal themes of the genre – including the consequences of time travel and th Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction is an anthology of thirteen short stories edited and translated by Xueting Christine Ni. It showcases the depth and breadth of Chinese science fiction literature (Kehuan) – at its best. For the most part, this collection of short stories was written and constructed rather well. Editor and translator Ni has curated thirteen never-before-translated stories couch universal themes of the genre – including the consequences of time travel and the implications of advanced artificial intelligence in elements unique to Chinese identity, culture, and history. Every entry is high-quality, but among the most memorable are Han Song's "Tombs of the Universe" and Gu Shi's "The Last Save". Ni's concise but detailed introduction and thoughtful story notes provide helpful context, illuminating the history of Kehuan and the ways in which the genre has evolved over the decades. Authors included award winners, bestsellers, screenwriters, playwrights, philosophers, university lecturers and computer programmers. Like most anthologies there are weaker contributions and Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction is not an exception. There were a couple of short stories – mainly the longer ones that dragged on, but those are the outliers of what is a wonderful anthology. Ni's notes after each story detailing the reason behind its inclusion elevated the stories and answer any questions about culture to the Western ear. All in all, Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction is a wonderful collection of modern Chinese science fiction stories.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Littlebookterror

    This might be obvious to say but any science fiction written is often shaped by a country's history and culture. Where and when you grew up will of course inform what your imagination will come up with and Sinopticon offers you a glimpse into a world that might not be accessible to you otherwise. Since I cannot read Chinese, I am very happy that these authors got a new English-reading audience. This short story anthology that Xueting Christine Ni put together is a perfect mix of hard and soft sci This might be obvious to say but any science fiction written is often shaped by a country's history and culture. Where and when you grew up will of course inform what your imagination will come up with and Sinopticon offers you a glimpse into a world that might not be accessible to you otherwise. Since I cannot read Chinese, I am very happy that these authors got a new English-reading audience. This short story anthology that Xueting Christine Ni put together is a perfect mix of hard and soft scifi, stories that are very much informed by Chinese culture or those that follow more familiar to Western plot beats and explore a wide range of themes and ideas. She lets each story stand on its own before giving us a short translator note about the author and her explanation of why she chose each specific short story. Along with the footnotes for any untranslated words and names where a little more context would be helpful, this is a carefully curated collection and I loved the insight we got into her process of putting this anthology together. While I can't say I enjoyed every short story in here (would almost be impossible since there is such a wide range), I never truly felt I wasted my time, mostly because of the notes in the end. It helped me to see these stories from a different perspective and kept me in check to not only view them through a Western lens. Still, my favourite were the ones that were about human connections along with artificial intelligences like The Heart of the Museum and Qiankun and Alex. The Last Save - Gu Shi ★★★★✩ (You can now reload to any time in your past if you've saved it.) Loved the interplay between the delusions of choice and the idea of living a perfect life. It grapples with an existentially human question Tombs of the Universe - Han Song ★★★✩✩ (Interstellar traveling and graves at holiday sites.) While I liked the exploration of death and graves and the cyclical nature of how we experience funerals but I didn't fully connect in the end. Qiankun and Alex - Hao Jingfang ★★★★★ (Moments between a young boy and a global, all-knowing artificial intelligence.) Delightful and deep. Cat's Chance in Hell - Nian Yu ★★★★✩ (A father fights in a war where humans should not be involved in.) Emotional. The Return of Adam - Wang Jinkang ★★✩✩✩ (Adam comes back to earth after 200 years to find augmented humans.) This is more of a short history recap but not told very interestingly. And I did not like Adam's point of view either. I do appreciate its inclusion and the editor's explanation as to why. Rendevous 1937 - Zhao Haihong ★★★✩✩ (Time travel to a fictional moment in Nanjing.) I think appreciate the idea behind this but it felt unfinished – even the author comments on that. The Heart of the Museum - Tang Fei ★★★★★ (And all-knowing being watches over a young boy and thinks about his future.) Lovely! Heartwarming! The Great Migration - Ma Boyong (he/him) ★★★✩✩ (Two people – along with everyone else – want to travel back home to earth from Mars.) I was bored through this for most of it until the very end. Meisje Met De Parel - Anna Wu ★★★✩✩ (A girl, a painting, time travel.) A litle too abstract for me but a cool concept. Flowers of the Other Shore - A Que ★★★✩✩ (A zombie reunites with an old lover.) The story is actually pretty good it's just that nothing can make me care about zombies. The Absolution Experiment - Bao Shu ★★★★✩ (Being a test subject in order to not be imprisoned?) Dark and questionable. It's short but by the end, I did a 180; a fantastic choice for a protagonist. The Tide of Moon City - Regina Kanyu Wang ★★★★✩ (A misunderstanding between lovers and two connected planets.) Starship: Library - ★★★★★ (About saving the last library.) This one just charmed me. The premise alone is just made for booklovers. I received an advanced reading copy from Rebellion Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yev

    The Last Save - Gu Shi (2013) Society has embraced the practice of saving their life and being able to reload into a parallel timeline. Anyone who does so irrevocably disappears from their current timeline. Although this has caused many societal problems and the suicide rate has spiked, people cannot escape the fear of no longer being able to choose what could've been. Save scumming was mentioned in the editor's notes afterwards. Enjoyable Tombs of the Universe - Han Song (1991) An allegory of tombs The Last Save - Gu Shi (2013) Society has embraced the practice of saving their life and being able to reload into a parallel timeline. Anyone who does so irrevocably disappears from their current timeline. Although this has caused many societal problems and the suicide rate has spiked, people cannot escape the fear of no longer being able to choose what could've been. Save scumming was mentioned in the editor's notes afterwards. Enjoyable Tombs of the Universe - Han Song (1991) An allegory of tombs. The older generation understood the purpose of traditions and the culture of their youth. Times had changed and the youth no longer understood. They had plundered the older ways and destroyed their meaning. No longer did they care for tombs because they had their new ways. Modernity had suddenly overwritten the previous thousands of years. Meh Qiankun and Alex - Hao Jingfang (2017) A benevolent global amalgamation of conscious AI conversed with a three and half year old, and many thousands of other children, to learn how to become self-motivated. Ok Cat’s Chance in Hell - Nian Yu (2018) I don't know that this was inspired by Metal Gear Solid, but that's what it reminded me of. A lone operative infiltrates a high security base and takes down a heavy mech. His mission is to secure the energy source. He soon discovers that nothing is what it seems. Ok The Return of Adam - Wang Jinkang (1993) A "man travels into the future and finds himself in a strange new land" story. It's allegorical for the reasonable hesitance and reluctance of modern China to accept some measure of Western ideals and technology despite knowing that it must be done even if they have serious doubts. Ok Rendezvous: 1937 - Zhao Haihong (2006) This had an interesting author as the narrator and writer angle. Only a few other stories I've read come to mind where the author explains their writing progress in the text as part of the story but none exactly like this. A rejected character demands to have her story told. A young Chinese woman takes a time machine back to December 15th 1937, Nanjing, to record a scene of bravery that would rival the Battle of Thermopylae and reinvigorate her country for the upcoming worldwide tribunal of Japan to finally fully accept responsibility for their war crimes and to properly teach the history of their atrocities. A young Japanese man is tasked with stopping her by any means. The author commentary and emotional tone bring it barely up to it rating. Enjoyable The Heart of the Museum - Tang Fei (2018) This was reminiscent of Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" (1998). An alien who can see the past, present, and future all at once recounts the life of a child and the museum he would build. Ok The Great Migration - Ma Boyong (2021) Every two years there's a flight from Mars to Earth. The competition to secure a ticket is fierce. A man has a way to increase his odds. He meets a woman who has an even better way. Together they attempt to make it home. Enjoyable Meisje Met De Parel - Anna Wu (2013) A young aspiring artist is shown by a painting by her father of a girl with a pearl earring that he had met. She's mesmerized by the unreality of the earring. She later learns its unbelievable meaning and the true nature of its wearer. Ok Flower of the Other Shore - A Que (2018) A genre savvy zombie parodic comedy romance. The protagonist is a zombie. Zombies communicate with each other through sign language. It was rather funny and amusing. Enjoyable The Absolution Experiment - Bao Shu (2012) A mass murderer facing life in prison is given the opportunity for eventual freedom if he survives the trials for the development of an immortality drug. Ok The Tide of Moon City - Regina Kanyu Wang (2016) A star-crossed SF romance between university students of different planets. Ok Starship: Library - Jiang Bo (2015) A bibliomaniac insists on maintaining a physical collection of books until the end of time and that all knowledge must be freely shared to everyone in the galaxy. Ok

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    I generally prefer novels to short stories, but was intrigued by the possibility of reading works by authors whose work I have not heard of before. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed most of the stories in here: The Last Save -by Gu Shi -3.5 stars. An interesting take on opting out of a commonly used technology which has effects on people's relationships and to the wider society. The main character chooses not to constantly reset his life when he discovers his wife, who up till now I generally prefer novels to short stories, but was intrigued by the possibility of reading works by authors whose work I have not heard of before. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed most of the stories in here: The Last Save -by Gu Shi -3.5 stars. An interesting take on opting out of a commonly used technology which has effects on people's relationships and to the wider society. The main character chooses not to constantly reset his life when he discovers his wife, who up till now has opted out, had signed them up for the "family" account. Tombs of the Universe -by Han Song -4 stars. The images of countless gravestones on different planets and moons from the first wave of spacefaring by humans into the solar system had such a melancholic and lonely feel. Coupled with the account within the story of someone dealing with the dead, as well as the changing attitudes of people as humans travelled in space, made this a thought-provoking story. Qiankun and Alex -by Hao Jingfang -4.5 stars. I really liked this story about AI, and how one very powerful AI managing many systems must also learn how to interact with people, and the person it does interact with is a curious three-year old. There’s learning and attachment on both sides. Cat’s Chance in Hell -by Nian Yu -4 stars. Great action and ethical questions raised by a soldier returned to active duty because of a new war. The Return of Adam -by Wang Jinkang -2 stars. My least favourite in this collection. An astronaut is awakened back on Earth after his cryosleep of many years. Rendevous: 1937 -by Zhao Haihong -4 stars. The author shows how a person from the future is anxious to capture part of the horrific history in Nanjing, but not the atrocities. Rather, the strength of the people in the city, and their will to oppose the Japanese soldiers’ horrific behaviour. The Heart of the Museum -by Tang Fei -3.5 stars. Interesting, in how an alien might view time and the endeavours of one individual’s efforts to create a revolutionary structure for a museum with an unusual approach for displaying its objects. I had a little trouble understanding the end of this story. The Great Migration -by Ma Boyong -4 stars. A bit male-gazey, but otherwise quite enjoyable. In China thousands of people currently travel from their work locations home for family and festivals. The idea that this would continue into the far future if people worked off planet makes sense. I liked how the author portrayed the crushing difficulties of procuring a prized ticket on a ship back home to Earth—I could really get the sense of desperation and frustration the characters experienced. Meisje met de Parel -by Anna Wu -3 stars.I had a hard time understanding this one; there were individual moments of startling beauty (the descriptions of food prep, and the ocean), but I only sort of got the point the author was making about Art and its lasting impact through time. Flowers of the Other Shore - by A Que -4 stars. A sensitive and quietly funny take on the zombie story, with the main zombie character, a “Stiff”, and his zombie pal discussing the mundane and philosophical while wandering around looking for their next human snack. Then, a flower and a relationship with a still human woman offer a possibility of hope for the remaining humans. The Absolution Experiment -by Bao Shu -3.5 stars. Talk about getting one’s revenge! A chilling option to a question about appropriate punishment for heinous actions. The Tide of Moon City -by Regina Kanyu Wang -4 stars. A story of two planets and two scientists, each from one of the planets, and all separated by politics. I liked the use of a legend to illustrate the way the two people cannot be together. Starship: Library -by Jiang Bo -4 stars. As a huge fan of libraries, this story about a woman advocating for the existence of the library she managed, as she travelled through space, was satisfying. I loved how relevant all those books became…. Overall: 3.7 stars. Thank you to Netgalley and Solaris for this ARC in exchange for my review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I really enjoyed this book. From a translation point of view, this book is amazing, the translation notes are so interesting and it is extremely obvious that the translator/editor put a lot of thought behind each translation choice. In terms of the actual stories, I highly enjoyed so many of them: they were all so uniquely creative. My one caveat is that a few of the were very sexist. The translator actually made a note saying that she had at first only wanted to accept female-authored stories f I really enjoyed this book. From a translation point of view, this book is amazing, the translation notes are so interesting and it is extremely obvious that the translator/editor put a lot of thought behind each translation choice. In terms of the actual stories, I highly enjoyed so many of them: they were all so uniquely creative. My one caveat is that a few of the were very sexist. The translator actually made a note saying that she had at first only wanted to accept female-authored stories for this anthology, and I wish she had stuck to that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter Baran

    After my recent foray into short stories with Cosmogramma, I was pleased to get this collection of Chinese Science Fiction. Not just because there is a bit of an explosion post The Three Body Problem, but as the collection editor and translator Xueting Christine Ni says, Chinese science fiction comes out of a number of different traditions. Fantasy in China often comes via a Wuxia bent, heightened versions of history, and also the tone of Chinese fiction often pulling against the idea of a happy After my recent foray into short stories with Cosmogramma, I was pleased to get this collection of Chinese Science Fiction. Not just because there is a bit of an explosion post The Three Body Problem, but as the collection editor and translator Xueting Christine Ni says, Chinese science fiction comes out of a number of different traditions. Fantasy in China often comes via a Wuxia bent, heightened versions of history, and also the tone of Chinese fiction often pulling against the idea of a happy ending to a more philosophical or stoical denouement. In reading her foreword, and her biographical and editor notes after each story I recognised one of the other pleasures of short fiction from my youth – this dialogue with the editor (or in Stephen King’s case the author). Ni here manages to brief summarise sci-fi scenes as they have developed, and tried to be representative whilst casting a broad net (literally if you’ll humour the pun – she has also decided to make sure the make up of the authors are 50% female). And she has done a good job, all the stories have something about them, and if there isn’t a complete tonal unanimity, there are themes and styles which reoccur. Death and immortality, be that actual or memorialised, pop up here a number of times, as does the longevity of projects and worlds. One of the longest (and oldest from 1991) pieces here Tombs Of The Universe by Han Song which directly talks about how humans will be remembered, or not remembered as part of space colonisation – being about basically a cosmic undertaker. Bao Shu’s The Absolution Experiment is a pithier, nastier take on the idea of immortality and revenge (it’s a classic twist in the tale narrative). There are also classic sci-fi takes on real phenomena – The Great Migration talks about workers on Mars desperate to get back to Earth in a direct parallel to the internal migration for New Year that takes place annually. And oddly the fate and history of communal buildings of learning, Museums, Galleries, and Libraries turn up a lot. Perhaps what is also interesting, looking at it as a modern sci-fi collection, is what doesn’t turn up. There are not that many relationship stories in here – and what there is tends towards the doomed (discovering a wrongful imprisonment of a lover after forty years, a star-crossed relationship ending after a month). But unlike a Western collection right now, there isn’t anything vaguely queer here, and extrapolations about the pioneering spirit of the individual are also broadly lacking. That’s not to say it’s a dour collection, there is a lot of humour here, and Ni does her best to subtly fold it into her translation (in the big zombie adventure in the middle I do wonder if the character really keeps referring to Brad Pitt or a Chinese analog). She does her best to explain puns or names which might have double meanings, but as a reader in translation you have to accept some of these might pass you by. What doesn’t slip by is the broad quality – she had a lot to pick between – and yet a cohesiveness too. There are few duds here, and in a collection of thirteen you can always move on – but this was a very enjoyable and interesting collection, a proper celebration, and I hope more short and long form follows.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom Bookbeard

    Synopsis An incredible omnibus of Chinese Science Fiction compiled and edited by self-confessed geek, translator and author of From Kuanyin to Chairman Mao, Xueting Ni. Thirteen carefully-selected Chinese Science Fiction stories from Chinese voices both young and old have been translated into English for the first time. Sinopticon is an ambitious project, with a broad array of 20th Century and Speculative Fiction that will delight all SFF addicts. Review Let’s get one thing out of the way. I have ne Synopsis An incredible omnibus of Chinese Science Fiction compiled and edited by self-confessed geek, translator and author of From Kuanyin to Chairman Mao, Xueting Ni. Thirteen carefully-selected Chinese Science Fiction stories from Chinese voices both young and old have been translated into English for the first time. Sinopticon is an ambitious project, with a broad array of 20th Century and Speculative Fiction that will delight all SFF addicts. Review Let’s get one thing out of the way. I have never read any Chinese Science Fiction before so Sinopticon was my gateway to help rectify this. Simply put, this is a spectacular collection of short stories. The care and attention Xueting Ni has paid to compiling this wonderful and diverse omnibus is clear throughout the book. Ni’s careful consideration is most evident in the notes explaining each story’s inclusion and her impressions on translating and editing each story for a Western audience. It is a perfect addition and feels almost as if you’re chatting away with Xueting over a coffee about the stories. At it’s (presumably A.I.) core, Sinopticon never fails in its bid to introduce a reader like me to Science Fiction works by Chinese authors. These aren’t cookie cutter translations, each story is painstakingly recreated and intended to champion Chinese culture and literature. Footnotes throughout are handy for the times when a translation attempt wouldn’t benefit the story while giving insight into Ni’s editing process. As for the stories themselves, there are no weak links at all. You’re going to find all the space travel, A.I.s and robots you could hope to find in a book like this. The story order is well-balanced and perfectly suited to a book binge. I won’t spoil any by reviewing each story in turn but the standouts for me were: The Great Migration, Flower of the Other Shore and Starship: Library. The Great Migration by Ma Boyong. Inspired by the author’s journey home on a crowded bus, this bleak overpopulated picture of life for workers on Mars is sweaty, sardine-packed brilliance. Flower of the Other Shore by A Que. A knowlingly-tropey, fourth wall-breaking zombie story. The zombie-like “Stiffs” communicate with each other through their own developed sign language, often asking each other “Have you eaten?”. Hilarious and cute. Starship: Library by Jiang Bo. I loved the concept of a cosmic library floating through the galaxy forever. Sinopticon reads like Black Mirror and Love, Death, and Robots squeezed together and poured onto the page. I laughed, I cried, I read and re-read, I stayed up through the early hours if it meant finishing one of the longer stories. This book is everything I love about Science Fiction. I hope there’s a copy that will be kept safe and sound in a cosmic library millions of lightyears away …

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Pogan

    A good but not sensational collection of sci-fi stories by Chinese writers. I guess, after reading books by Cixin Liu and Ken Liu I was hoping for something of the same calibre but none of these approached that level. Some of the better stories were: "Qiankun and Alex" about an AI interacting with a three year old child, "Rendezvous:1937" a time travel story that goes back to Nanjing during a Japanese atrocity, "The Heart of the Museum" about a child's tutor who sees past, present and future in A good but not sensational collection of sci-fi stories by Chinese writers. I guess, after reading books by Cixin Liu and Ken Liu I was hoping for something of the same calibre but none of these approached that level. Some of the better stories were: "Qiankun and Alex" about an AI interacting with a three year old child, "Rendezvous:1937" a time travel story that goes back to Nanjing during a Japanese atrocity, "The Heart of the Museum" about a child's tutor who sees past, present and future in three dimensions and foresees the child's future, "Flowers of the Other Shore" a bit of a Zombie story and "The Tide of Moon City" a romance between two people from different planets of a binary system that is in a cold war. It was an entertaining read but I think I went into it with too high expectations.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This collection of Chinese Science Fiction is an excellent introduction to the genre in that country. For a variety of reasons explained by the writer who arranged the book, Chinese Science Fiction is not well known outside the country and many believe it is not a genre written in China. The short stories were excellent and ranged greatly from human drama in the future, wrangling with the development or AI and robotics to some stories that were laser romps. Highly recommend the collection to any This collection of Chinese Science Fiction is an excellent introduction to the genre in that country. For a variety of reasons explained by the writer who arranged the book, Chinese Science Fiction is not well known outside the country and many believe it is not a genre written in China. The short stories were excellent and ranged greatly from human drama in the future, wrangling with the development or AI and robotics to some stories that were laser romps. Highly recommend the collection to any fan of science fiction.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    A very interesting collection of science fiction short stories translated from Chinese authors, apparently a popular genre over there. Many stories had resemblance to Black Mirror episodes, that effectively let you get lost in alternate realities. The translator successfully achieved her goal of drawing parallels between Chinese citizens and Western citizens through the hopes, fears and worries we all share as humans in today's world. A very interesting collection of science fiction short stories translated from Chinese authors, apparently a popular genre over there. Many stories had resemblance to Black Mirror episodes, that effectively let you get lost in alternate realities. The translator successfully achieved her goal of drawing parallels between Chinese citizens and Western citizens through the hopes, fears and worries we all share as humans in today's world.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kerstin Rosero

    3.5 stars Sinopticon 2021 is a collection of short Chinese sci-fi stories. I was immediately intrigued with the premise, as I rarely get to read Chinese sci-fi (outside of the Three Body Problem trilogy), let alone shorter pieces. The stories take concepts of time (and perception of time), space travel, and AI and add a unique twist to them. As with all collections of short stories, there will be hits and misses, but in general, I enjoyed the ride. That said, it is difficult to rate an anthology 3.5 stars Sinopticon 2021 is a collection of short Chinese sci-fi stories. I was immediately intrigued with the premise, as I rarely get to read Chinese sci-fi (outside of the Three Body Problem trilogy), let alone shorter pieces. The stories take concepts of time (and perception of time), space travel, and AI and add a unique twist to them. As with all collections of short stories, there will be hits and misses, but in general, I enjoyed the ride. That said, it is difficult to rate an anthology, because not all stories will hit you the same way. I will say, however, that one thing that didn't work for me was the lack of character variation: the protagonists are mostly male, and often, women are portrayed as two-dimensional, reduced to stereotypes (such as "nagging" or "emotional"), or oddly absent. There were some stories I didn't finish for these reasons (view spoiler)[ (one actually started by associating "female voice" with "the cold mechanization of computer simulations," while the next story mentioned "the female tendency to get emotional." It got tiring). (hide spoiler)] But as this is a collection of short stories, I could just skip to the next. Here's a quick summary of the stories I finished: "The Last Save" (最终档案): takes place in a world in which people can hit "save" on their lives and correct mistakes by simply deleting their files and continuing from the last save point. People who do this simply disappear from this existence. It throws into question the meaning of choices, consequences, and most of all, accountability. (5 stars) "Tombs of the Universe" (宇宙墓碑): space travel is commonplace, and in a world where people no longer speak of the past, the main character is fascinated with graveyards—an outdated, ancient tradition—and becomes a gravemaker. The writing was a bit too academic/philosophical for me, especially for a short story that does not have much room for blocks of info, but it may appeal to other readers for that reason. (3.5 stars) "Qiankun and Alex" (乾坤和亚力): Qiankun is the global AI, and Alex is the child who grows up with it. In essence, Qiankun fills in all the roles in his life, as none of the adults have time to actually raise him. They learn from each other. It was a bit sad, a bit sweet, and in my opinion, too short. (5 stars) "Cat's Chance in Hell" (九死一生): Joe is tasked with retrieving bright, blue liquid fuel from a military base, knowing full well his chances of surviving the mission are slim. The ideas were interesting—especially the role of humans in future armed combat—but some of the writing/translations were a bit off ((view spoiler)[e.g., "like every father who has to leave his home, Joe got up, checked his luggage was fully packed, and quietly prepared to leave"—I don't quite get why this only applies to fathers, as it is pretty universal? (hide spoiler)] ). Still pretty enjoyable, though. (4 stars) "The Return of Adam" (亚当回归): a space shuttle returns after 202 years, and only one (brain) has survived. It started off strong, suffered a bit with info overload, but ultimately presented a "caveman-in-modern-times" scenario, instead taking someone from now and placing him 200+ years into the future. I didn't quite connect to all of the story, but I liked the Chinese references. I'm glad there were footnotes at the end, lol (3.5 stars) "Rendezvous 1937" (相聚在一九三七): an author writes a cat-and-mouse story involving time travel, where one character travels back to the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, and the other—disgusted by the implications of this type of touristic time travel—goes back to... stop her. Through these fictional characters, the story sheds light on the horrors of the massacre and its ripples throughout time. (4.5 stars) "The Heart of the Museum" (博物馆之心): this story is told from an alien POV who has come to Earth, passes off as human, and is tasked with taking care of a child. The alien experiences time differently—instead of sequential, past, present, and future happen all at once (think "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang). There's a delightful sense of disconnect as the alien watches the child play but sees the future he will create. (4 stars) "Flower of the Other Shore" (彼岸花): I wasn't expecting a zombie apocalypse story in this collection, but this is about a "Stiff" who slowly regains memories of his past life. The main character tries to hold on to his humanity while his brain continues to rot. I do like how despite heavy themes, the zombies still had a sense of humor. Old Jim, bless his soul. (5 stars) "The Absolution Experiment" (特赦实验): a deal is offered to a convict with a life sentence—an experiment with a 30% death rate. I won't lie, for one of the shorter stories in the collection, this one made me think for a while. The author creates a protagonist so despicable that the reader does not care about what this means for him. (5 stars) "The Tide of Moon City" (月见潮): correspondence between two students on different planets orbiting each other, one from Bizhe, the other from He'lin. It's a bit heavy on the novelty of the "girls-in-STEM" trope, which, while still very relevant, was in my opinion not handled well (view spoiler)[ (e.g., paragraphs on why Dianne isn't like other girls, which is a bit cringe, or directly mentioning "it was the first time that a man had wanted to consult her," but then pouting/sulking for a while. Then the guy gets banned from her planet, so she drops out of Uni—what?) (hide spoiler)] . The story outside of that was interesting, but I couldn't connect to the characters at all. Or the roommate, (view spoiler)[the only other girl in the story, who ruins someone's life because a man gave someone else attention. It is ridiculous that these are the two women in the story, lol (hide spoiler)] (2 stars) Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Check out my Insta @k.e.rosero for more book spotlights and reviews!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    An interesting anthology of Chinese Science Fiction. Some writers are already known to me, others are new. Of the stories featured, the ones I liked are by Gu Shi, Hao Jingfang, Ma Boyong, Regina Kanyu Wang and Jiang Bo. Special mention to A Que's zombie story that plays with the usual zombie tropes, throws in a romance and offers hope for a future with and for zombies. - "The Last Save" by Gu Shi: in a future where your existence can be saved and returned to whenever you like (like save files in An interesting anthology of Chinese Science Fiction. Some writers are already known to me, others are new. Of the stories featured, the ones I liked are by Gu Shi, Hao Jingfang, Ma Boyong, Regina Kanyu Wang and Jiang Bo. Special mention to A Que's zombie story that plays with the usual zombie tropes, throws in a romance and offers hope for a future with and for zombies. - "The Last Save" by Gu Shi: in a future where your existence can be saved and returned to whenever you like (like save files in a game), one man is determined not to return to his past saved lives. But his resolved is tested when his wife leaves him and he has to choose whether to continue living alone or return to a time when his wife is still there. - "Tombs of the Universe" by Han Song: a story of a tradition, grave making, that has been going on for a long time during the exploration of the universe by humans. But it suddenly ends, and we are left with speculations and the words of one of the last grave makers. - "Qiankun and Alex" by Hao Jingfang: an AI attempts to know a child, filling much of his behaviour under 'unknown'. But then it acts on a question it never considered before, and learns to become his friend. - "Cat's Chance in Hell" by Nian Yu: a soldier infiltrates a fortress and now has to escape, for he has the desire to be reunited with his daughter. But he will then learn what it means to be a soldier in a future when man is no longer suppose to fight in wars. - "The Return of Adam" by Wang Jinkang: an astronaut returns to Earth hundreds of years in the future to find humans in it mentally enhanced with a Second Intelligence. Now he must decide whether to remain 'natural' or become a New Human. - "Rendezvous: 1937" by Zhao Haihong: a time traveler goes back to Nanjing to witness and record the massacre there, while another is sent back to stop her. But the actual sight of the violence affects both and changes their objectives. - "The Heart of the Museum" by Tang Fei: an unusual alien who can see through all time becomes the protector of a boy who will build a fascinating museum. - "The Great Migration" by Ma Boyong: the tradition of traditionally returning home continues, even if you are on Mars. And the fight to get tickets for the trip home reaches new heights as various attempts fail. - "Meisje met de Parel" by Anna Wu: a different painting of a girl with a pearl leads an artist on a journey to meet an unusual woman several times in the course of her life. - "Flower of the Other Shore" by A Que: an interesting zombie story with a difference, filled with the usual zombie tropes but going down a different path that starts with a zombie that discovers love. - "The Absolution Experiment" by Bao Shu: a prisoner is offered freedom in return for taking part in an experiment in immortality. - "The Tide of Moon City" by Regina Kanyu Wang: set in a place where two worlds orbit each other but are tidally locked, two researchers meet and fall in love, only to be separated by politics and jealousy. - "Starship: Library" by Jiang Bo: a library and a librarian set out on a journey through the galaxy to find knowledge. Yet, it is always ready to welcome readers to the library.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    Content Warnings: death, genocide, horror. The Collection Overall: Xueting Christine Ni has organized an absolutely beautiful collection of Chinese Sci-Fi. It's a rare thing to like most of the short stories in a collection, much less to rate nearly every story five stars. The stories are the absolute cream of the crop and beautifully ordered (with footnotes for context) to allow the best understanding and experience of them. With little bit of everything, Sinopticon delivers the perfect sampler Content Warnings: death, genocide, horror. The Collection Overall: Xueting Christine Ni has organized an absolutely beautiful collection of Chinese Sci-Fi. It's a rare thing to like most of the short stories in a collection, much less to rate nearly every story five stars. The stories are the absolute cream of the crop and beautifully ordered (with footnotes for context) to allow the best understanding and experience of them. With little bit of everything, Sinopticon delivers the perfect sampler. The stories have an excellent range, floating between character-in-a-ship-in-space, to zombie stories, romance, robots and AI, war stories, and more. The authors, similarly, show an equally impressive range. The author could not have better accomplished the goals outlined in her introduction—it's truly a masterpiece. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to read it. The Last Save ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This story was an absolutely wonderful piece of almost gamified sci-fi life. I loved every bit of this story and its crotchety, stubborn protagonist. The ending was truly simple and beautiful. Tombs of the Universe ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A thoughtful, philosophic piece, Tombs provides an eerie existential dread and loneliness to space travel. It's genuinely rare to find a short story so pessimistic, it was a very interesting (if somewhat depressing) read. Qiankun and Alex ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This story is so simple, short, and sweet. Even in its brevity, it is charming. There's so much optimism and praise for the human spirit contained in a few short interactions. I also love collecting wonderful AIs, and Qiankun is certainly at the top. Cats Chance in Hell ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ In a world of Murderbot meets Soma, Nian Yu delivers an absolutely haunting story of a soldier caught in war. Deeply dark and depressing, this story delves into the heart of a beloved sci-fi debate. The Return of Adam ⭐⭐⭐ The notes of this story mention the author is frequently passed over for translation, and I think a good portion of that is how closely this is tied to Chinese Culture and history. Despite lengthy footnotes, I simply didn't have enough context to get past the chauvinism. Rendezvous 1937 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I've never read a short fiction with more contextual notes than content… but the author's struggle with the story actually added quite a bit to the experience of reading. This is a very special piece. The Heart of the Museum ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was an odd story, technically very good, but not my favorite concept. Though I was engaged and enjoyed it, I didn't really feel particularly impacted by any of it. There was just not much there for me, personally. The Great Migration ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This story was, in my opinion, purposefully long and arduous to read. Though it's not pleasant, it's certainly effective at portraying long, cramped travel. It's an interesting world—one I hope doesn't come true. Meisje Met De Parel ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This is such a wonderful YA sci-fi—hopeful, imaginative, and not at all watered down like some genre YA. The combination of food, art, science, and mystery makes for a read that engages all of the senses. Flower of the Other Shore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I love an interesting zombie story, and this is a *very* good zombie story. Referential, playful, lyrical, and unexpectedly poignant. What a phenomenal work and an excellent addition to the subgenre. The Absolution Experiment ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Oh, what a surprise. Such a very short but fascinating story. There's not much to be said without spoiling anything, but I adore the way this story plants a simple seed that spawns into horror. The Tide of Moon City ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Tide of Moon City is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story. I love when sci-fi departs from the hard sciences (though there is plenty of science) to deliver a truly moving story about people. This one does it so well. Starship: Library ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ What a beautiful ending to a wonderful collection. Starship: Library is a very quiet, introspective, and witty read, with a glowing recommendation of the importance of libraries. Very much in the spirit of some of my favorite sci-fi traveling-the-galaxy tales. Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for providing this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    A bit of hit and miss. In general, this is a decent collection of short scifi stories. I take into account the editor claims to have selected some of the early works of these Chinese scifi authors. I don't particularly notice the published date of some of these stories, but I remember the editor mentions that some of these stories are at least a few years old. Let's talk about the bad first. Those short stories that I don't like in general have the following flaws: (a) They are too short; thus th A bit of hit and miss. In general, this is a decent collection of short scifi stories. I take into account the editor claims to have selected some of the early works of these Chinese scifi authors. I don't particularly notice the published date of some of these stories, but I remember the editor mentions that some of these stories are at least a few years old. Let's talk about the bad first. Those short stories that I don't like in general have the following flaws: (a) They are too short; thus they do not contain enough plot development to justify or rationalize the climaxes (b) Some sections of the stories aren't necessary for the plot development. The most glaring example I remember is the second story about the space graveyards, which does not require the first half of the story (c) They use stale or commonly utilized scifi tropes. There are a few that I really like. One is Qiankun and Alex, which depicts a heartwarming and rosy future of AI-human child interaction. Another one is Flowers of the Other Shore, which is a hilarious parody of zombie flick with a pretty interesting twist. I also like Starship : Library, which is about a librarian who is hell bent of keeping the only library left in the universe. 3.5 Star

  23. 4 out of 5

    The Wulver's Library

    Xueting has introduced an impressively succinct collection of Chinese fiction that have each earned their place in this novel. Each story is a demonstration of intrinsic Chinese culture that discuss events, identity and customs. These stories are varied but vastly entertaining. There are humorous space adventures and comedic apocalyptic tales. We go through cosmic exploration of the dead to time travelling choices. There are so many great authors here to devour and learn from. This is a stunning Xueting has introduced an impressively succinct collection of Chinese fiction that have each earned their place in this novel. Each story is a demonstration of intrinsic Chinese culture that discuss events, identity and customs. These stories are varied but vastly entertaining. There are humorous space adventures and comedic apocalyptic tales. We go through cosmic exploration of the dead to time travelling choices. There are so many great authors here to devour and learn from. This is a stunning collection that has a story for every reader. This is a great introduction to a different perspective.

  24. 5 out of 5

    books4chess

    "Don't remember. It doesn't matter who we were. We're all just walking corpses. For us, memory is just another kind of virus, one even more deadly and that would torment us more than the Hunger. Forgetting who we are is a defence mechanism for Stiffs. Don't resist this defence: don't remember". Sinopticon has taught me that I don't hate science fiction writing, I just hate poorly written sci-fi books. This anthology of translated short stories delivered the most wonderful, spine-tingling experien "Don't remember. It doesn't matter who we were. We're all just walking corpses. For us, memory is just another kind of virus, one even more deadly and that would torment us more than the Hunger. Forgetting who we are is a defence mechanism for Stiffs. Don't resist this defence: don't remember". Sinopticon has taught me that I don't hate science fiction writing, I just hate poorly written sci-fi books. This anthology of translated short stories delivered the most wonderful, spine-tingling experience featuring topics including AI, space travel, time travel and zombie apocalypses. Anything you could have hoped for and then some, complete with Chinese language and culture insights. Just like any short story anthology, the collection fell short for a handful of tales for issues such as too much 'male gaze', however, the translators notes at the end of each novel identified the weaknesses openly and explained why in spite of these, the story was chosen. Understanding the process and recognising the strengths regardless, helped me to think outside of my own rating box. There were two stories that really hit me. "Flowers of the Other Shore" is the first story I've ever read from the infected individuals point of view and it left me on the edge of my seat, filled with great philosophy and a refreshing change of pace. Additionally, the unexpected plot twist in "The Tide of Moon City" simultaneously made my stomach drop and gave me goosebumps. To have such strong emotions, from a short story no less, is the sign of a well written, well translated story, Xueting has curated an incredible collection to either allow readers to segue into sci-fi, or continue their love of sci-fi tales. Marvellous. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    There are so many layers of quiet genius in this collection it's hard to know where to begin. At the prospect of tackling a collection of sci-fi short stories, I was worried I wouldn't enjoy abruptly shifting between different galaxies and timezones as I finished one story and began the next. But within a couple of lines of beginning a story I arrived into its world comfortably as if I had always known it. There wasn't a single entry in this collection that didn't make me ponder on our endearing s There are so many layers of quiet genius in this collection it's hard to know where to begin. At the prospect of tackling a collection of sci-fi short stories, I was worried I wouldn't enjoy abruptly shifting between different galaxies and timezones as I finished one story and began the next. But within a couple of lines of beginning a story I arrived into its world comfortably as if I had always known it. There wasn't a single entry in this collection that didn't make me ponder on our endearing struggle against our own impermanence, our will to survive and the secret hope we all harbour of something coming along to excuse us from our pre-booked date with death (despite the equally horrifying prospect of immortality, as one of the stories expertly illuminates). The selection, ordering and translation work by Xueting Ni is nothing short of masterly. I highlighted so many beautifully-built passages that I often forgot I was reading translated work, making them even more delicious to consume when I did remind myself. I have read comments by translators in the past about how difficult it is not to cave to temptation and edit while translating to the point of superimposing their own reimagining of the work. Yet each author's voice in Sinopticon was crystal clear, despite Ni being the sole translator of every single story. Equally as much care and devotion has gone into the glossary-style notes and author backgrounds at the end of each story, varnishing each masterpiece and making its colours and forms even more vivid. I especially loved that each author considers the globalising impact of technological advances yet retains, in varying strengths, an honouring of Chinese tradition in the fabric of their stories. Sinopticon is my happy introduction to 科幻 (Kehuan) and Xueting Ni takes clear pride in opening that door and warmly inviting you in. It touched my heart and I greatly look forward to reading more. Many thanks to NetGalley, Solaris and Xueting Ni for an ARC of this work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    A good read. As always with anthologies and short story collections, not every story hits the mark but I really liked the editors notes explaining why each story was picked. A nice touch that I wish was standard practice. Will keep an eye out for longer works by both the editor and some of the writers

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alison Scott

    This is an anthology of Chinese SF, selected and with translations and afterwords by Xueting Christine Ni. The stories are very varied, in length, tone, , and the afterwords fill in a lot of fascinating cultural detail. I particularly enjoyed the ones that drew on Chinese cultural tropes that were previously unfamiliar to me. It's not often that I think I'm reading an exploration of something I've never seen addressed in SF before, but this collection does that over and over again. This is an anthology of Chinese SF, selected and with translations and afterwords by Xueting Christine Ni. The stories are very varied, in length, tone, , and the afterwords fill in a lot of fascinating cultural detail. I particularly enjoyed the ones that drew on Chinese cultural tropes that were previously unfamiliar to me. It's not often that I think I'm reading an exploration of something I've never seen addressed in SF before, but this collection does that over and over again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    As with any other collection, there are some stories that are more engaging and interesting than others. But overall, this is a brilliant anthology, and it shows a wide variety of authors and themes. It allows you to meet your next favorite author, and leaves you with hunger for more translations.

  29. 5 out of 5

    kerrycat

    intriguing, bite-sized stories with a very classic sci-fi feel

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I loved Ken Liu's collection of Chinese science fiction in translation, Broken Stars, so this was a real disappointment. Given that some of the same authors feature in both collections, I'm not sure if this was a translation or a selection issue. Favourite stories: Tombs of the Universe (Han Song); Flower of the Other Shore (A Que). Least favourite: most of the rest. I loved Ken Liu's collection of Chinese science fiction in translation, Broken Stars, so this was a real disappointment. Given that some of the same authors feature in both collections, I'm not sure if this was a translation or a selection issue. Favourite stories: Tombs of the Universe (Han Song); Flower of the Other Shore (A Que). Least favourite: most of the rest.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...