Be it first or last name, the term "Liu" seems already intimately linked to a Chinese version of science fiction that makes its way thanks, among others, to Cixin Liu and for a few years less through Ken Liu. A Ken already much more Americanized since he immigrated to the United States as a child.
As for the young Liu, his dedication to the CiFi literature it's more of an all-encompassing compromise. Novels, short stories and translations that serve for that round trip between English and Chinese for the benefit of a fictional and fantasy narrative in general.
Ken Liu's fondness for the story seems more like one of those channels typical of the writer on duty who undertakes the task of telling small stories (just to the extent I mean) until he assaults the great stage of the novel in one way or another.
The point is that in any of its plots we can enjoy plots that slide through epic fantasy or that wander around more full science fiction scenarios with various speculations, time travel, uchronies or various dystopias.
Top 3 recommended books by Ken Liu
The hidden girl and other stories
The story also gains as the author matures. Because the brief has a virtue always to be conquered by the narrator, the synthesis made metaliterature. Because putting descriptive aspects aside and shortening the threads that string together an extensive narrative, there is only a kind of boxing match where the writer looks for our ko, that direct blow to understanding from the turn that can only win us with the greatest forcefulness. That already happens in many of the stories included here.
This collection includes a selection of Liu's speculative fiction over the past five years: eighteen of his best stories and a fragment of The veiled throne, the third volume in the epic fantasy series The Dandelion Dynasty. From narratives about time-traveling murderers or cryptocurrencies to moving stories of parent-child relationships, the stories in this volume explore important issues for the present and cast a visionary look into the future of humanity.
The grace of kings
We come to the first novel by Ken Liu that also opens the The Dandelion Dynasty Trilogy. And we discover an author bent on assaulting at the first time that olympus of great storytellers from other worlds like Tolkien o Pratchett. The result, still pending closure, points out ways with a transgressive point in terms of the usual stereotype of extremes marked between good and bad. The point is to build a new world where everything matters in addition to the plot. The scenery that spreads to us as we read, the relationships between the characters. Everything has another weight and another measure.
This is an epic tale of two friends who rebel against tyranny at the decline of a corrupt and oppressive empire. Two unlikely allies - a prison guard turned bandit and a disinherited nobleman - join forces to overthrow the tyrant. In "The Grace of Kings" Ken Liu rewrites epic fantasy from a different cultural perspective and abandons his conventional settings: it is a world of gods who lament what is done in their name, women who conspire and fight alongside men, war kites, bamboo and silk airships, and sea monsters.
The paper zoo and other stories
Haiku stories insofar as they seek to convey that final moral. And yes, also science fiction and the fantastic can precisely that, offer new readings and surprising visions about the metaphysical or the sociological.
That is precisely the nature of a volume that, on the other hand, combines a variety of settings in its fifteen stories. So what covers everything is that notion of literary transcendence, of sediment, of invitation to calm reading despite the brevity. Sensitivity full of fantasy, links with Asian culture to enter exotic settings but fully human at the end of the day.
First work that has obtained the three great prizes of the genre in the same year. "Ken Liu's short work has won all the prestigious international awards and, more importantly, it has also and forever won the hearts of readers around the world." Mariano Villarreal, Fantastic Literature «Through all these stories, Liu uses tropes of fantasy and science fiction to explore in a deep, intelligent and, on many occasions, tremendously emotional a great diversity of themes with the ultimate intention of shedding a little light on the big question of what it means to be human ...