Cixin Liu

Lisa Lynch, Cixin Liu, Ramie Targoff, President Ron Liebowitz

From Left to Right: Lisa Lynch, Cixin Liu, Ramie Targoff, President Ron Liebowitz

Chinese science-fiction writer Cixin Liu creates works of fantasy that contain worlds of meaning. The author of seven novels and a number of short stories, he has won the Galaxy Award, China’s most prestigious literary science-fiction award, nine times.

A 2015 New Yorker profile called his stories “fables about human progress — concretely imagined but abstract, even parable-like, in their sweep.”

Liu’s most famous work, “The Three-Body Problem” — in which an alien civilization tries to invade Earth to save itself from extinction (the action begins in the 1970s, against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution) — was published in China in 2007. Eight years later, the novel’s English translation won the Hugo Award for best novel; Liu is the first Asian to receive the prize.

A graduate of the North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Liu until several years ago worked as a computer engineer at a power plant in Shanxi, a province in northern China.

Critics have noted that Liu’s fiction often measures, in one way or another, the limits of human understanding. Mountain climbing serves as the metaphor for this in one of his short stories: Though we are compelled to attempt to scale the highest peaks, Liu writes, “we are all always at the foot,” because the universe’s mysteries will remain far beyond our comprehension.