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Liu Cixin

Liu Cixin

Liu Cixin (Chinese: 刘慈欣; pinyin: Liú Cíxīn, pronounced [ljǒʊ tsʰɨ̌ɕín]; born 23 June 1963) 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. 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. He is sometimes called "Da Liu" ("Big Liu") by his fellow science fiction writers in China.

Life and career

Liu was born on 23 June 1963 in Beijing and raised in Yangquan, Shanxi, where his parents had been sent to work in the mines. Due to the violence of the Cultural Revolution he was sent to live in his ancestral home in Luoshan County, Henan. 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.


Liu cites English authors George Orwell and Arthur C. Clarke as important literary influences. He was labeled the first cyberpunk Chinese author after his novel China 2185 was published in 1989. Liu's most famous work, The Three-Body Problem, was first published in 2006. 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. Liu Cixin thus became the first author from Asia to win Best Novel. The German translation (which included some portions of the original text not included in the English translation) followed in 2016. Ken Liu also translated the third volume of The Three-Body Problem series, Death's End, in 2016. 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. Liu's fiction focuses primarily on problems such as social inequality, scientific development and ecological limitations that impact humanity.


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

A cinematic adaptation of The Three-Body Problem has been filmed, but its release has been indefinitely postponed. In March 2018, Amazon was rumored to be negotiating for the rights to the project. However, YooZoo Pictures released a statement in response stating that it was the "sole owner of the rights for film and TV series adaptations." 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." In June 2019, it was reported that work had begun on an animated adaptation, and in 2020, October Media announced another adaptation in the works.

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

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.

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. The Netflix television adaptation started production in early November 2021, with a scheduled finish date in August 2022. In November 2023, Netflix released a sneak peek and announced that the drama would be released March 21, 2024.

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

Films and TV works

Personal life

Liu is married and has a daughter.

Political views

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."

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. 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."

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!" The Netflix adaptation, where Liu Cixin was also a Consulting Producer, also starts with the struggle session. 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.

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".



  • China 2185 (中国2185) (1989)
  • The Devil's Bricks (魔鬼积木) (2002)
  • Supernova Era (超新星纪元) (2003)
  • Ball Lightning (球状闪电) (2004)
  • The Remembrance of Earth's Past (地球往事) trilogy:
    • The Three-Body Problem (三体) (2006)
    • The Dark Forest (黑暗森林) (2008)
    • Death's End (死神永生) (2010)
  • Of Ants and Dinosaurs (2010), also published as The Cretaceous Past (2021)

Works of short fiction



  • 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


  • Hold Up the Sky



  • 文明的反向扩张 (Science Fiction World)
  • 远航!远航! (Science Fiction World)



External links

  • Liu Cixin at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • "Liu Cixin" (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction; by Jonathan Clements)

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Liu Cixin by Wikipedia (Historical)