Course:ASIA351/2022/Wiki Project, Liu Cixin

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Liu Cixin
Liu Cixin
Picture of Liu Cixin
Born 1963/06;Beijing
Occupation Science Fiction Writer;

Imagination Architect;

computer engineer

Education North China University of

Water Resources and Electric Power

Major Award 2006 Yinhe (Galaxy Award (China))

2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel

Liu Cixin (刘慈欣, 1963 - )[1] is the leading character in Chinese science fiction literature, and the first Asian writer won the world-toppest sicence fiction award -- Yugo Award in 2015 for the extraordinary work of the “Three-Body Problem”. His understanding and writing style toward science fiction is widely appreciated and recognized worldwide. Yanfeng, a Chinese professor at Fudan University, praised him as ”the pioneer in Chinese science fiction, and unprecedentedly led this field to the world-class level by himself.” Liu’s notable work includes: “The Wandering Earth"[2](流浪地球), "The Three-Body Problem" (三体), and "Ball Lightning" (球形闪电).


Liu Cixin was born in June 1963 in Beijing. However, his family originated and moved from Henan Province. Shortly after graduating from the North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power at the age of 22, he worked at Niangziguan Electronic Factory in Shan Xi Province as a computer engineer.[3]

Unlike some of his colleagues who devote themselves solely to computer engineering, Liu started his career in writing, and contributed articles to the periodical office of Science Fiction World, the dominante in Chinese science fiction market,[4] since the 1990s. His first publishment occurred in June 1999, when his short story "Wale Song" (鲸歌), which is a sarcastic story of human beings suffering from the consequences of their own behaviours, by Science Fiction World. His biggest achievement in 1999 was the winning of the Galaxy Award, the most prestigious science fiction award in China,[5] for his short story ”Wearing Her Eyes“. Later, this story was selected to be included in the Chinese texts for Grade Seven.

His Galaxy Award winning path continued to 2006, and again in 2010 because of the publishment of his most well-known article: Three-Body Problem“. Later, with the publishment of the translated version of the Three Body Problem, Liu Cixin increased his reputation and awareness in the international market. In 2015, he won the Nebula award nomination, and finally, on 23rd August, he won the 73rd Hugo Award for Best Novel[6], which is regarded as the Nobel Price in the science fiction world, hosted by the Word Science Fiction Society (WSFS). As the first Asian winner of the Hugo Award, Liu Cixin established his extremely high status in the science fiction world, and his ability and understanding of science fiction are acknowledged by writers worldwide.

After achieving huge success in literature, Liu Cixin started his employment journey in the business and government field. In March 2015, Liu succeeded the position of imagination architect [7]at the mobile gaming department of Tencent. On 4th March 2016, Liu confirmed that he was elected as the vice-president of the Shanxi Writer Assioaction during an interview, and became the Chinese “Mars Ambassador”, where he was responsible for the proliferation of China National Space Administration Mars program in October. On July 12nd 2018, IDG Capital officially announced that they employed Liu Cixin as their Chief Thinker.[8]

Representative works


The Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy
The Remembrance of Earth's Past (地球往事) trilogy


The work tells the story of the exchange of information, life and death struggle between the human civilization on Earth and the three-body civilization and the rise and fall of the two civilizations in the universe.

Astronomer Ye Wenjie replies to a message from the planet Trisolaris, thus revealing the location of Earth, and the inhabitants of Trisolaris who receive the reply prepare to invade Earth. In order to defend the Earth, humans exploit the defective thinking of the Trisolaris and make special plans; while the Trisolaris who detect the Earth's plans initiate another plan to play with humans. In the end, humanity achieves a weak balance by sending its coordinates to the entire universe, thus binding itself to the fate of the powerful Trisolaris civilization.

Writing Style & Characteristics

The genre of The Three Body Problem series is science fiction long story. There are both good and bad comments on Liu Cixin's writing style from the outside world. There is no denying that Liu Cixin has a relatively strong ability for rhetorical techniques and scene descriptions, but there are also many people who believe that Liu Cixin's descriptions of characters lack authenticity and fail to highlight the characteristics of the characters. However, most people believe that for a novel, the writing style is the least important compared to the storyline, the overall framework, the worldview and imagination, the logic and self-consistency, the character portrayal, and so on. "The Three Body Problem" itself is a plot-driven novel, that is, the characters' personalities are reflected in their specific actions. Therefore, the tightness of the plot and the logical self-consistency are in themselves the best portrayal of the characters, not only through the characters' speech and actions. Therefore, the greatest advantage and characteristic of Three Bodies is the ability to write a story with such a huge time-space structure in a clear and organized way, as well as Liu Cixin's control of the plot rhythm just right.


The whole book deals with the issue of the relationship between the ideal and reality, and the two are in constant conflict to drive the story's development. What drives the plot of the novel is also the conflict between ideals and reality time and again. For example, Ye Wenjie goes from Daxinganling to Red Bank, and Ye Wenjie kills her husband. The former is a desperate attempt to defend her ideals, while the latter is a manifestation of her ideals. There are many similar examples.

Works of short fiction

The Wandering Earth, Cover photo

The Wandering Earth (流浪地球)


"The Wandering Earth" is based on a story of human intergalactic migration spanning 2500 years.[12] The story is periodical, meaning it is set in 5 different periods, each with its individual story. The first storyline tells a tale of scientists observing the sun’s expansion, realizing the impending doom; humans form the unity government to save themselves. They are tasked with deciding whether to build a spaceship for all humans or use the planet earth as a vessel. They decide on the latter. Thus, they built planetary engines around the globe to propel the earth out of the sun’s orbit. Embarking on its 2500-year journey, It was not until the third period that people realized that, unlike the scientist’s prediction, the sun did not expand. Which led to rebellion across the earth until the rebels took over the planetary engines and demanded to turn back to our solar system. However, as they began to execute the scientists for their false predictions, the solar system was destroyed by the expanding red dwarf that was once our sun.[13]

Writing Style & Characteristics

The Wandering Earth details Liu's imaginative task of defining human morality by bringing together unexpected twists and human needs versus the greater good.[14] Beginning with its theme, The Wandering Earth sets an irony of fate by turning the source of life into earth's doom. In this short story, Liu uses a detached narrator, with a fluid story progression and pacing.[15] The storyline and emotional connection with the characters are maintained, although diminished. Liu visualizes stunning imagery with prose. In this story, Liu writes a sci-fi tale with an anthological style, bringing characters together through a common disaster.


Liu tells this story with a constant tension between hope and the inevitable demise. It reflects on human nature as a whole and gives the story overall weight. [15]This short story depicts human nature in the face of despair. The novel's protagonist does not fall into the conventional hero cliché, or the author uses the protagonist's perspective from childhood to adulthood to describe the various changes of humanity from different time periods. People become indifferent and violent and lose emotional feelings for people. Whether it is the relationship between the protagonist’s parents or the relationship between the protagonist and his parents or his wife. Liu uses the protagonist’s character to reflect the status of society at that time. However, the loss of emotional connection between characters is already a catastrophe for human society, but it is a psychological disaster. Yet it is always the physical catastrophe that man is aware of and wants to avoid.


Liu Cixin is a globally influential author. Liu's work helped to boost the Chinese sci-fi market's development. His work has been translate and transformed to various languages and forms,[16]which attracts number of new readers and also capitalists, leading the public to think about the "Golden age" of Chinese sci-fi literature. His work in contemporary science fiction literature is a monument. His works are called "hard science fiction" by the public as the reader could find reality from imaginary description and the surreal world.[17]

However, Liu thinks that his work's quality does not worth the huge impact they got. "The Three-Body Problem" is one of the example. The book got extremely high sales and gain numbers of fans. However, it does not affected the sales of other Liu's work.[18] This may imply that only some of the work are being held in high esteem, but it does not affected other sci-fi fiction. The public only knows a small part of it without finding more fictions in-depth.


Galaxy Award (China)[19][20]

The Wondering earth (Film)

1999: ["With Her Eyes"] (1998) (1st price)

2000: ["The Wandering Earth"] (1999) (Special Prize)

2001: ["The Complete Frequency Blocking Fortress"] (2000);

2002: ["The Chinese Sun"] (2001);

2003: ["Earth's Cannon"] (2002);

2004: ["Mirror"] (2003)

2005: ["To Support Mankind"] (2004);

2006: ["Trinary"] (2005);

2010: ["Deadth's End"] (2009)

Hugo Awards

2015: ["The Three-Body Problem"] (winner)

Nomination Awards

Galaxy Award (China)

2001: ["The Village Schoolteacher"] (2001)

2002: ["Zhaowendao"](2002), ["Devourer"](2002)

2003: ["The Poetry Cloud"] (2002) , ["The Thinker"] (2002)

Nebula Awards

2015: ["The Three-Body Problem"]

John W. Campbell Memorial Award

2015: ["The Three-Body Problem"] (finalist)

Hugo Awards

2017: ["Death's End"]

Dragon Awards

2017: ["Death's End"]

Locus Awards - megazine

2015: ["The Three-Body Problem"] (2nd place)

2017: ["Death's End"] (winner)[21][22]

Taking Care of God (comic)

Arthur C. Clarke Award Imagination in Service to Society 2018 -Liu Cixin


Film: The Wandering Earth(2019). Directed by Guofan adapted from "The Wanderring Earth”

Film: Cracy Alien(2019). Directed by Ninghao adapted from "The Village Schoolteacher"[23]

Film: The Three-Body Problem(2023) Directed by David Benloff and D.B. Weiss on Netflix adapted from "TheThree-Body Problem"[24]

Animation: The Three-Body Problem(2022 Dec3) Directed by Wang Yuxuan adapted from "The Three Body Problem"[25]

Japanese Comic: Taking Care of God(神様の介護係)(2022) Draw by Yokoyama Shun(横山旬) on COMIC Hu adapted by "Taking Care of God"[26]

Further reading

Interview: Three Body Problem trilogy, George Orwell's influence Oxford Scientia(2016)[27]

- Interviewed during London Literature Festival 2016. Liu Cixin shared his thought about the Three Body Problem trilogy, Chinese sci-fi's development status and the influence bring by high technology to the public.

Speech: Award speech for winning the Clark Award[28][29]

- Liu Cixin gave a speeach about how he start writing science ficion and his expectations for science fiction.

paper: Find a Drop of Water from the Ocean——Reflections on Chinese Traditional Literary Elements in Science Fiction[30]

- Liu Cixin's research on traditional literary elements in science fiction

Documentary: Rendezvous With The FuTure (未来漫游指南)[31]

- A Documentary produced by Bilibili and BBC science unit to introduce science fiction and astronomy science to the public through the work of Liu Cixin.[32]


  1. "Summary Bibliography: Cixin Liu".
  2. "The Wandering Earth".
  3. Liu, Cixin (2015). 我是刘慈欣. Beiyue Literature & Art Publishing House. ISBN 9787537845878.
  4. "Science Fiction World". Wikipedia.
  5. "Galaxy Award". Baike.
  6. "The Hugo Award". The Official Site of The Hugo Awards. August 22, 2015.
  7. "Liu Cixin's a gamer". OSU.EDU.
  8. Wu, Yimian. "Author of Three-body Problem Joins IDG Capital As Chief Thinker". China Money Network.
  9. "The Three-Body Problem (三体) (2006)".
  10. "The Dark Forest (黑暗森林) (2008)".
  11. "Death's End (死神永生) (2010)".
  12. Brennan, Ashley (09-09-2021). "Review: The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu". FanFiAddict. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. Baidu (22-11-19). "流浪地球 The Wandering Earth". Baidu 百度. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. "Underground Reading: The Wandering Earth by Liu Cixin". Pornokitsch. |first= missing |last= (help)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Boromgans (10-24-2015). "THE WANDERING EARTH – Cixin Liu (2013)". Weighing a pig doesn't fatten it. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. 韩颖琦, 刘延霞 (2021). "论刘慈欣科幻小说中的科学叙事艺术". 中国作家网. 《中国当代文学研究》第2期.
  17. Rea, Christopher. "Liu Cixin 刘慈欣 and Chinese Sci-Fi". Modern Chinese Cultural Studies.
  18. 丁舟洋, 王礼迪 (2017). "专访刘慈欣│资本家拿着钱要毁灭我们,广大科幻作家盼着他们拿钱来毁灭". 每经网.
  19. "银河奖历程回顾". 科幻世界.
  20. "Yinhe Award". The Encyclopedia of Science Fcition.
  21. Mark R., Kelly. "Cixin Liu". science fiction awards+ database. Locus Science Fiction Foundation.
  22. ISFDB team. "Chronological Bibliography: Cixin Liu". The Internet Speculative Fiction Database.
  23. "Cixin Liu".
  24. Kasey Moore, Tigran Asatryan (2022). "'The Three-Body Problem' Netflix Series: Everything We Know So Far".
  25. Bilibili (2022). "The Three-Body Problem Animation countdown".
  26. "小説「三体」の著者・劉慈欣作品、日本初コミック化!「神様の介護係」2022年6月19日より連載開始". 株式会社KADOKAWA.
  27. Oxford Scientia. "Exclusive Interview with Liu Cixin (English subtitles) | 刘慈欣专访:未来的神奇之处,我们无法想象".
  28. Cixin, Liu (2018). "Liu Cixin's speech (video)".
  30. Liu, Cixin (2011). "从大海见一滴水——对科幻小说中某些传统文学要素的反思". 《科普研究》03期.
  31. Bilibili (2022). "Rendezvous With The FuTure".
  32. Layton, Mark (2022). "Bilibili & WaterBear share co-pro budgets, rights flexibility & content demands".

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