Cover art from The Three Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. Image: Tor Books This is pretty interesting: during the latest national congress of the China Association for Science and Technology, chairman Han Qide announced that the country would be setting up a program to promote science fiction and fantasy, including the creation of a new major award.
Throughout much of its genre's history, China's science fiction has had a legacy of usefulness, often promoted to educate readers in concepts relating to science and technology. This new award will be accompanied by an "international sci-fi festival" and other initiatives to promote the creation of new stories.
In the last couple of decades, China has enjoyed an unprecedented boom when it comes to science fiction. Since the 1990s, dozens of authors have broken out and written a number of high profile books, creating a viable community. Every year, Chinese science fiction magazine Science Fiction World issues its own major award, the Galaxy.
This is particularly exciting news, given the increases that we've seen in science fiction coming from China. Authors such as Liu Cixin, Chen Quifan, Xia Jia, and others have had their works translated into English frequently, while Liu Cixin's novel The Three Body Problem earned the Hugo Award for Best Novel last year.
With more works coming to English readers this year, such as Death's End - the concluding volume of the Three Body trilogy - and Ken Liu's anthology of translated stories Invisible Planets, greater support for science fiction will hopefully translate into a wealth of new stories.
Given the quality of the stories that have been written already, this could be the start of a promising new wave of exciting new fiction for readers across the world.
[CRI English h/t Usman Malik]