Home Cultural life Science fiction writer Liu Cixin: Chinese science fiction has broad prospects.

Science fiction writer Liu Cixin: Chinese science fiction has broad prospects.

Liu Cixin

The development of science has had a great influence on my creative path in the field of science fiction. When I was 6-7 years old, I read a newspaper report about the first landing on the moon in human history. I still remember that indescribable excitement. Over the years, I have imagined Chinese astronauts walking on the surface of the Moon many times. And today, spaceships of the Shenzhou series are constantly scurrying between Earth and space. When I see Chinese taikonauts in outer space on TV, I sometimes get a feeling of the unreality of what is happening. Is all this really true?

In recent years, science fiction has been developing rapidly in China, attracting the attention of more and more readers and viewers. This is closely related to the general progress of our society, including the achievements of astronautics and the spread of Internet technologies. We are in a world of rapid modernization, industrialization and digitalization, full of opportunity and hope, but at the same time we are experiencing pressure and challenges. People admire the wonders of science, hoping that technology will further improve their lives. All of this creates fertile ground for science fiction to flourish.

Science is the source of science fiction literature creativity

Science fiction is the fruit of the technological revolution of the new era. At the beginning of the 19th century, the progress of science and technology contributed to the Industrial Revolution, which in turn gave rise to people’s fantasies and aspirations for the future, resulting in the emergence of the genre of science fiction. From the 1920s to the 1960s, as humanity entered the age of electricity after the age of steam, science and technology further demonstrated their enormous power to change the world. The physical revolution, epitomized by the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, opened up an entirely new vision of reality. It was during this period that mankind’s amazement at the power of science and its desire for the future peaked, leading to the rise of science fiction.

Literary works of science fiction with an emphasis on science create a special fictional world that is distinct from reality. At the same time, science fiction writers, imagining the future, do not seek to predict it. The quality of a work of science fiction does not depend on whether the events described in it will come true in the future. Many science fiction writers, including myself, often deliberately choose unlikely plots. This allows us to demonstrate in an unusual way the beauty and impressive power of science and make us feel its greatness.

Probably, some people have a question: “It’s been 200 years since the advent of science fiction, during which time countless works have made a variety of assumptions about the future, will creativity in this genre dry up?” In my opinion, imagination in science fiction is endless. Even traditional stories can take on new life through innovative expressions. funds. For example, the classic science fiction story “A Walk in the Sun” tells the story of an astronaut’s survival on the moon after a spaceship accident. An astronaut with solar panels on his back chases the Sun to charge his spacesuit and stay alive. This is a traditional story about a flight to the moon, but it is presented impressively. Or, for example, given the progress of space exploration in China, it is possible to partially realistically describe how an engineering team is building a wind farm and a lunar base on the Moon. I think this story will be very popular.

In addition, following the development of science, new areas constantly appear, providing new subjects. Today, highly developed fields of science, such as physics, cosmology and molecular biology, show us an increasingly amazing, vast and unpredictably changing Universe and nature, fraught with rich resources for fantastic creativity. The problem is that modern fundamental science has a more complex theory and mathematical apparatus, which are inaccessible to non-specialists. Making full use of these resources is a huge challenge for science fiction writers, and herein lies the hope for the development of science fiction literature.

To stay relevant, in the face of the unknown, science fiction must constantly bring new and exciting works to its readers. And to do this, you should forever preserve the youth of your soul and tune your imagination in unison with the era.

Science fiction liberates beauty from scientific equations

Expanding human horizons through imagination is an important mission of science fiction. Many have seen Gravity, a true science fiction film that shows that the most important thing for a science fiction writer is to perceive the universe with a sense of poetry. A good work allows us to see the ocean in a drop of water, get rid of a limited view of the world and feel a reality beyond the usual.

Science serves as the source of science fiction literary creativity, but the beauty of science is locked in scientific equations. The average person can only barely see a ray of this light. However, if science reveals itself to people, the spiritual shock and purification it causes will acquire colossal power that other genres do not have. Science fiction is a bridge to the beauty of science, freeing it from the equations and showing its mass.

The success of science fiction works largely depends on the degree of unusualness and the scale of the imagination. The majestic and stunning theory of the Big Bang in modern cosmology, the winding romantic path of the evolution of life, the poetic connection of space and time in the general theory of relativity, as well as the fantastic microworld in quantum physics and other scenarios created by science immeasurably exceed our imaginations.

How can a writer bring the beauty of science to life?

Macro details are a special technique of science fiction. In prose, detail is necessary, but in science fiction, the concept of detail has been transformed. For example, the science fiction novel Fireworks at the Singularity  uses a “super perspective” to describe the Big Bang, depicting the beginning of the universe as a simple “fireworks show.” In just a few hundred words, the author, through the dialogue and experiences of people before and after the launch of fireworks, describes the entire history of the Universe from the Big Bang, demonstrating an extra-cosmic panorama. In my opinion, such “macro-details” best reflect the essence and benefits of science fiction.

Over the years of working in this genre, I constantly look for plot ideas in science and technology, striving, on the basis of scientific principles, to show in science fiction the direct and factual connection between a small person and the vast Universe. Initially, the Universe was smaller than an atom, everything was a single whole, which predetermined the presence of a natural connection between an insignificant part of the Universe and its great whole. Despite the fact that the volume of the Universe has increased to its current size, I am convinced that this connection remains, and the evolution of the Universe is closely intertwined with the life and destiny of every person. In my work, I constantly strive to imagine different versions of the concrete connection between man and space, translating it into exciting stories.

Of course, science fiction reflects not only the future and fiction, but also reality and modernity. Take, for example, the Three-Body Problem trilogy. The first part of the novel is the most realistic, giving rise to imagination, the second is a long transformation from reality to fantasy, and the third is real science fiction for true fans of the genre. The transition from reality to a distant, incomprehensible world is a typical structure of classical fiction and a familiar progression from today to the future for Chinese readers.

Seize opportunities for innovative science fiction development

Sci-fi movies had a great influence on me, in particular on the style of storytelling and formation of visual the appearance of my works. Images are powerful, and many fantasies in science fiction can only be conveyed through visualization, which gives film and television great advantages over literature.

However, thanks to the low cost of creating and publishing science fiction works, as well as a relatively constant audience, writers have much more room to experiment with new ideas and artistic techniques. Shooting a fantastic picture requires considerable expenses. This genre of films and television series needs more public attention, faces a more complex viewership and strives to serve the interests of as many people as possible, so that when creating artistic innovations in form and content, a number of factors must be taken into account and many compromises must be made.

In recent years, film adaptations of science fiction novels have brought the genre to a wider audience. Science fiction literature, films and television series, due to their advantages, stimulated the growth of the entire science fiction industry. To develop such a literary genre, it is necessary to increase the number of Chinese science fiction writers, give the opportunity to express themselves to more talents and contribute to the birth of more new works. The development of science fiction films and TV series requires replenishment of personnel and accumulation of experience, providing greater opportunities for a new generation of screenwriters, directors and producers in this field. It is also important to expand international cooperation in the field in order to accumulate more valuable experience.

The development of science fiction places new demands on literary and art theorists and critics. For example, in order to turn into a conscious artistic method, such techniques of fantastic creativity as “macro-details” need theoretical understanding. Science fiction critics must also keep up with the times; they cannot look at new works and phenomena through the prism of outdated views. It is necessary to stimulate the creation of new fiction with the help of innovative theory and insightful, vigorous criticism .

Science fiction works help develop the imagination of teenagers, awakening their creativity and innovation. It would be useful to include science fiction in moderation in the school curriculum and add science fiction content to textbooks. You can also develop children’s interest in science fiction through the Internet. I am sure that many young readers and viewers will love this genre and begin to consciously explore it, as well as become interested in science.

In China, science fiction is showing good development dynamics, we just need to take advantage of this opportunity and truly raise it to a high level.

The article was written by People’s Daily correspondent Dong Yang based on an interview with Liu Cixin.

Liu Cixin was born in 1963 in Yangquan City, Shanxi Province, China. He has a university degree, is a senior engineer, a science fiction writer, and a member of the Chinese Writers’ Union. The writer’s best works are “The Age of Supernova”, “Ball Lightning”, the trilogy “The Three-Body Problem”, “The Wandering Earth”, “The Village Teacher”, “Barrage interference full spectrum” etc. The Three-Body Problem trilogy has been widely recognized as a milestone in the history of Chinese science fiction.

Source: “People’s Daily” online