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Probably one of the most notable events in recent times has been the advent of Chinese culture in SF/fantasy, there’s even a ’silkpunk’ genre. The first time we read a translated Chinese work it blew us away, which shouldn’t have been a surprise, that book being ‘The Three-Body Problem' by Cixin Liu - the first Asian novel ever to win a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015

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It turns out that we are witnessing the ‘Golden Age’ of Chinese SF or "kehuan" led by the likes of Cixin Liu, Hao Jingfang, Xia Jia and Chen Quifan who are not only winning a Chinese fan base but a global one. As it stands this April marks the Netflix release of Cixin Liu's, 'The Wandering Earth’, billed as China’s breakout sci-fi blockbuster, and on that note we’re just ecstatic about getting our copy of the Subterranean Press oversized edition of ‘The Three-Body Problem’ :

The story opens in the heat of the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s, where Ye Wenjie, the young daughter of a prominent professor of physics, witnesses her father beaten to death by Red Guard fanatics. The event sears itself not only into her memory but her very psyche, as she channels her anger into a state of emotional numbness and becomes more or less a misanthrope. Years later, her own political loyalties suspect, she is conscripted into working at Red Coast, a secret government radio telecommunications facility that she is initially told exists to detect and disable the satellites of enemy nations. Its real purpose is far more fantastic. And when she discovers a clear and unambiguous message from an extraterrestrial intelligence, she is faced with a fateful decision: can she actually take it upon herself to help cleanse the Earth of a morally irredeemable human race and usher in what she believes will be its redemption via conquest?Dust jacket and full-color interior illustrations by Marc Simonetti.

'It’s far from perfect, but in its best moments is so unlike anything hard SF has thrown at us before that no dedicated reader of the genre should overlook it.’(

'The Three-Body Problem' is the opening movement of a trilogy called 'The Remembrance of Earth’s Past’, the second novel 'The Dark Forest’ simply blew us away. 

There is a certain talent in translating a novel and retaining the quintessential emotion of the original text and Ken Liu certainly delivers the goods in 'The Three-Body Problem’ which is probably why he was selected to translate another rising stars debut novel, 'Waste Tide' by Chen Qiufan. Originally published in Chinese in 2013, anglophone readers can finally get a glimpse of a technological world from an author who grew up next to the largest E-waste facility in the world. 

The story takes place in the imaginary ''Silicon Isle''. The Chinese word ''硅屿'' for Silicon Isle shares a similar pronunciation with Guiyu (Chinese: 贵屿) in Mandarin. In the real world, Guiyu is a town in the Shantou prefecture of Guangdong province in China. And it is Shantou where Chen Qiufan was born and grew up before he entered Peking University.

Situated on the South China Sea coast, Guiyu got famous in the global environmentalist community for its reception of E-waste. The town held the record for being the largest E-waste site up to 2013. Though some residents got rich by electronic recycling, pollution became a serious issue in the town. 

'Mimi is a 'waste girl', a member of the lowest caste on Silicon Isle.

Located off China's southeastern coast, Silicon Isle is the global capital for electronic waste recycling, where thousands like Mimi toil day and night, hoping one day they too will enjoy the wealth they’ve created for their employers, the three clans who have ruled the isle for generations.

Luo Jincheng is the head of one of these clans, a role passed down from his father and grandfather before him. As the government enforces tighter restrictions, Luo in turn tightens the reins on the waste workers in his employ. Ruthlessness is his means of survival.

Scott Brandle has come to Silicon Isle representing TerraGreen Recycling, an American corporation that stands to earn ungodly sums if they can reach a deal to modernize the island’s recycling process.

Chen Kaizong, a Chinese American, travels to Silicon Isle as Scott’s interpreter. There, Kaizong is hoping to find his heritage, but finds more questions instead. The home he longs for may not exist.

As these forces collide, a dark futuristic virus is unleashed on the island, and war erupts between the rich and the poor; between Chinese tradition and American ambition; between humanity’s past and its future.'

Signed (author and translator) limited edition hardcover

Dust jacket illustration by Stephen McNally

Although we have not read any of his work, we have Mark Lawrence’s ‘Broken Empire’ in the Grim Oaks limited edition, we therefore snagged a copy of the limited and lined hardcover edition of ‘Road Bothers’, the short story collection from the same world. Getting a second novel (One Word Kill) from him in the same week was just coincidence but looking at the Goodreads reviews for ‘The Hod King’ and finding that the first reviewer is none other that Mark Lawrence certainly made us sit up. 

in focus

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities.

The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares are everywhere. 

Find out more about both books and that great DJ art on the Mark Lawrence page.  We have just got our hands on ‘The Hod King’ , the third instalment in ’The Books of Babel’ and as stated we found Mark Lawrence’s review, he clearly enjoys the series as much as we do and this quote of his totally captures the books for us: 'Reading these books makes me feel as if I'm a really clever intellectual sharing in something magnificent that only a rarefied few could appreciate.’ It’s so true! But never fear, the books are being read by all and sundry, and they’re loving them. We have ordered a set of the Subterranean Press editions which look like they will be gorgeous but in the meantime we have the Orbit limited hard covers (only 300 hardcovers printed!);


Our Lists: We list the top SF/Fantasy books, recommended reading and our personal reading lists from past and present

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Book Grading: 

what we’re listening to

  • Josh Ritter - Fever Breaks
  • Carolina Liar - Wild Blessed Freedom
  • Bryan Adams - Shine a Light
  • Rob Thomas - Chip Tooth Smile

'Fearing an uprising, the Sphinx sends Senlin to investigate a plot that has taken hold in the ringdom of Pelphia. Alone in the city, Senlin infiltrates a bloody arena where hods battle for the public's entertainment. But his investigation is quickly derailed by a gruesome crime and an unexpected reunion.

Posing as a noble lady and her handmaid, Voleta and Iren attempt to reach Marya, who is isolated by her fame. While navigating the court, Voleta attracts the unwanted attention of a powerful prince whose pursuit of her threatens their plan.

Edith, now captain of the Sphinx's fierce flagship, joins forces with a fellow wakeman to investigate the disappearance of a beloved friend. She must decide who to trust as her desperate search brings her nearer to the Black Trail where the hods climb in darkness and whisper of the Hod King.

As Senlin and his crew become further dragged in to the conspiracies of the Tower, everything falls to one question: Who is The Hod King?

We will try to list things of interest from the site on eBay, so look for our irregular listings under ‘wyrdbooks’.  

What we’re reading: 

             Just finished:                                            

                 Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch

                 The Fifth Season - N.K Jemisin

                 Thin Air - Richard K. Morgan

                 The Deathless - Peter Newman

                  The Book of Skulls - Robert Silverberg

                  Poison City - Paul Crilley

                  Clockwork City - Paul Crilley

                  Hazards - Mike Resnick

                  Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie