Liu Cixin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Liu Cixin
Liu in 2017
Liu in 2017
Native name
Born (1963-06-23) 23 June 1963 (age 60)
Beijing, China
  • Science fiction writer
  • computer engineer
Alma materNorth China University of Water Resources and Electric Power
GenreScience fiction
Notable worksRemembrance of Earth's Past
Liu Cixin
Traditional Chinese劉慈欣
Simplified Chinese刘慈欣

Liu Cixin (Chinese: 刘慈欣; pinyin: Liú Cíxīn, pronounced [ljǒʊ tsʰɨ̌ɕín]; born 23 June 1963)[1] is a Chinese computer engineer and science fiction writer. He is a nine-time winner of China's Galaxy Award and has also received the 2015 Hugo Award for his novel The Three-Body Problem as well as the 2017 Locus Award for Death's End. He is also a winner of the Chinese Nebula Award.[2] In English translations of his works, his name is given as Cixin Liu. He is a member of China Science Writers Association and the vice president of Shanxi Writers Association.[3] He is sometimes called "Da Liu" ("Big Liu") by his fellow science fiction writers in China.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Liu was born on 23 June 1963 in Beijing and raised in Yangquan, Shanxi,[4] where his parents had been sent to work in the mines.[5] Due to the violence of the Cultural Revolution he was sent to live in his ancestral home in Luoshan County, Henan.[6] Liu graduated from the North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power in 1988. He then worked as a computer engineer at a power plant in Shanxi province.[7]


The Hugo Award trophy won by Liu

Liu cites English authors George Orwell and Arthur C. Clarke as important literary influences.[8] He was labeled the first cyberpunk Chinese author after his novel China 2185 was published in 1989.[9] Liu's most famous work, The Three-Body Problem, was first published in 2006.[10] It is the first book in the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy. American author Ken Liu's 2014 translation (published by Tor Books) won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the book sold 1,200,000 copies in China before it won.[10][11] Liu Cixin thus became the first author from Asia to win Best Novel.[12] The German translation (which included some portions of the original text not included in the English translation) followed in 2016.[13] Ken Liu also translated the third volume of The Three-Body Problem series, Death's End, in 2016.[14] Death's End was a 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novel finalist and won a 2017 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

Liu's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy has been a sensation of Chinese science fiction literature within Chinese territory and internationally. In 2012, the winner of the Nobel Prize of Literature, Mo Yan, acclaimed the remarkable originality of Liu Cixin.[10] Liu's fiction focuses primarily on problems such as social inequality, scientific development and ecological limitations that impact humanity.[15]


Chinese video platform Tencent Video released a series based on The Three-Body Problem in January 2023.[16]

A cinematic adaptation of The Three-Body Problem has been filmed, but its release has been indefinitely postponed.[17] In March 2018, Amazon was rumored to be negotiating for the rights to the project.[18][19] However, YooZoo Pictures released a statement in response stating that it was the "sole owner of the rights for film and TV series adaptations."[19] Although it "was originally scheduled to be released in 2017," the project "was postponed indefinitely due to the company's internal shuffling and the rumored 'bad quality' of the film's first cut."[19] In June 2019, it was reported that work had begun on an animated adaptation,[20] and in 2020, October Media announced another adaptation in the works.[21]

The cinematic adaptation of his short story The Wandering Earth was released in China on February 5, 2019,[22] which became the second highest-grossing film in the Chinese box office within 2 weeks.[23]

The science-fiction comedy film Crazy Alien, adapted from his science fiction short story The Village Teacher, had grossed 2.2 billion at the box office, making it the fifteenth film in Chinese film history with a box office exceeding 2 billion.[24]

US streaming platform Netflix announced in September 2020 that it had ordered an English-language series based on Liu's well-known trilogy The Three-Body Problem. Liu would serve as a consulting producer on the project. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were named as writers and executive producers. Other members of the creative team included executive producer Rian Johnson, Ram Bergman, Bernadette Caulfield, Nena Rodrigue, Lin Qi, and Rosamund Pike.[25] The Netflix television adaptation started production in early November 2021, with a scheduled finish date in August 2022.[26] In November 2023, Netflix released a sneak peek and announced that the drama would be released March 21, 2024.[27]

Chinese video sharing website Bilibili released a series exploring the science of Liu Cixin's science fiction in November 2022.[28]

Films and TV works[edit]

Year Work Type Role
2019 The Wandering Earth Movie Original, Executive Producer
2019 Crazy Alien Movie Original
2021 Earth Rescue Day (末日拯救) Movie Screenwriter
2022 Rendezvous with the Future TV series Main Interviewee
2023 Three-Body TV series Original
2023 The Wandering Earth 2 Movie Executive Producer
2024 3 Body Problem TV series Consulting Producer

Personal life[edit]

Liu is married and has a daughter.[29]

Political views[edit]

In a June 2019 interview published in The New Yorker, interviewer Jiayang Fan found that Liu "prefers to avoid" talking about politics. In the same article, Liu stated that democracy was not appropriate for modern China. When probed by Fan about "individual liberty and freedom of governance", Liu said that this is "not what Chinese people care about", adding "If you were to loosen up the country a bit, the consequences would be terrifying." He expressed support for policies such as the one-child policy and China's Xinjiang policies, saying "Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks? If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty."[30]

Liu's remarks in the New Yorker interview were questioned by five Republican U.S. senators in a letter to Netflix in September 2020. The letter asks whether Netflix was aware of Liu's remarks and demands a justification for proceeding with the adaptation of The Three-Body Problem.[31][32][33][34] Netflix responded that Liu was not the creator of the show, and that Liu's comments "are not reflective of the views of Netflix or of the show's creators, nor are they part of the plot or themes of the show."[35]

Liu's works (including some of his adaptations) contain various subtle and plot-wide criticisms of actions of the Chinese Communist Party. In one such case, Liu moved a brutal struggle session from where it was hidden in the middle of the book to the beginning of The Three Body Problem's English translation, when suggested by his translator, Ken Liu. In response to the prominently placed plot point, Liu Cixin acted positively and replied "That is how I wanted it originally!"[36] The Netflix adaptation, where Liu Cixin was also a Consulting Producer, also starts with the struggle session.[37] Liu Cixin's Chinese publishers chose to place the politically charged scene in the middle of the book instead of the beginning, in order to get past government censors.[36][37]

Polish science fiction critic Wojciech Orliński argued that Liu's works such as Remembrance of Earth's Past and The Wandering Earth represent endorsement of concepts of world government, consequentialism as well as tacit approval of "China's surveillance and control society".[38]



Works of short fiction[edit]

  • The Whale's Song (鲸歌) (Science Fiction World)
  • With Her Eyes (带上她的眼睛) (Science Fiction World)
  • Microscopic End (微观尽头) (Science Fiction World)
  • Contraction (坍缩) (Science Fiction World)


  • Inferno (地火) (Science Fiction World)
  • The Wandering Earth (流浪地球) (Science Fiction World)


  • The Village Teacher (乡村教师) (Science Fiction World)
  • Full Spectrum Barrage Jamming (全频带阻塞干扰) (Science Fiction World)
  • The Micro-Age (微纪元) (Science Fiction World)
  • Chaos Butterfly (混沌蝴蝶) (科幻大王)


  • Devourer (吞食者) (Science Fiction World)
  • Sea of Dreams (梦之海) (Science Fiction World)
  • Sun of China (中国太阳) (Science Fiction World)
  • The Angel Era (天使时代) (Science Fiction World)
  • 朝闻道 (Science Fiction World)
  • 西洋


  • The Glory and the Dream (光荣与梦想) (Science Fiction World)
  • The Poetry Cloud (诗云) (Science Fiction World), also known as Cloud of Poems
  • The Longest Fall (地球大炮) (Science Fiction World)
  • The Thinker (思想者) (Science Fiction World)


  • Of Ants and Dinosaurs (白垩纪往事)
  • The Mirror (镜子) (Science Fiction World)
  • Yuanyuan's Bubbles (圆圆的肥皂泡)


  • The Wages of Humanity (赡养人类) (Science Fiction World)
  • Taking Care of God (赡养上帝) (Science Fiction World)
  • Ode to Joy (欢乐颂) (九州幻想)


  • Mountain (山) (Science Fiction World)



  • Curse 5.0 (太原之恋) (九州幻想)


  • 烧火工 (


  • The Circle (圆) (Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction)
  • Time Migration (时间移民)


  • Weight of Memories (人生)


  • Fields of Gold (黄金原野) (Twelve Tomorrows)



  • 爱因斯坦赤道


  • With her Eyes (带上她的眼睛)


  • The Wandering Earth (流浪地球)
  • 魔鬼积木·白垩纪往事


  • Time Immigrant (时间移民)
  • 2018





Year Title Award Category Result Ref
2001 带上她的眼睛 (With Her Eyes) Yinhe (Galaxy Award (China)) Awarded[39]
2005 赡养人类 (Support Human Beings) Awarded
2006 三体 (The Three-Body Problem) Awarded
2015 赡养上帝 (¿Quién cuidará de los dioses?) Ignotus Awards Foreign Short Stories Nominated[40]
三体 Hugo Award Best Novel Awarded[41]
(The Three-Body Problem) John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominated[42]
Locus Award Best SF Novel Nominated[43]
Nebula Award Best Novel Nominated[44]
Prometheus Award Nominated[45]
2017 Canopus Awards Nominated[46]
(Die drei Sonnen) Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis Best Foreign SF work Awarded[47]
(El problema de los tres cuerpos) Premio Ignotus Foreign Novel Awarded[48]
(Le Problème à trois corps) Grand prix de l'Imaginaire Foreign Novel Nominated[49]
死神永生 (Death's End) Dragon Award Best Science Fiction Novel Nominated[50]
Hugo Award Best Novel Nominated
Locus Award Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Awarded[51]
2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award for ... Awarded[52]
2019 (The Circle) Seiun Award Best Translated Short Story Awarded[53]
2020 三体 (The Three-Body Problem) Best Translated Long Work Awarded[54]
2021 三体II 黒暗森林 (The Dark Forest) Best Translated Long Work Awarded[55]
2023 流浪地球 (The Wandering Earth) Best Translated Short Story Awarded[56]


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External links[edit]