Excerpt of popular Chinese sci-fi writer Liu Cixin’s novel selected in gaokao


(Photo: VCG)

An excerpt of famous Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin’s novel was selected as reading comprehension material in the test paper for the Chinese gaokao exam, China’s National College Entrance Exam that took place on Thursday, which not only surprised many participants but also the writer. Liu later responded saying that science fiction meets the demand of people in this day and age.

After the exam in southwest China’s Sichuan Province ended, participants expressed their surprise at finding an excerpt of Liu’s novel “The Micro-Age” since this type of literature was rare in such a rigorous exam.

Liu, winner of a Hugo Award for Best Novel and nine-time winner of the Galaxy Award, told China News Service on Thursday that he had never expected that his science fiction novel would be selected for the gaokao test paper.

“After all, science fiction is still not a public trend in China and it is still a marginal zone of literature,” said Liu, “But by selecting sci-fi literature for the gaokao, it will inspire more people to pay attention to sci-fi novels and might benefit the development of sci-fi literature in China.”

He added that since science fiction novels had gained more and more attention in China in recent years, it reflected the demands of the current era. What’s more, with the development of science and technology, sci-fi novels will gradually become a popular literary subject in this era.

Speaking about this year’s gaokao essay topics, Liu expressed that one of the topics was related to science fiction as it required students to write a letter to the generation of 2035 to elaborate on the big events that have occurred since the year 2000 in China.

He said that unlike previous essay topics which tended to focus on current affairs or the past, this year’s topics were more likely to focus on the future.

“Compared with the life in the past, our lives now are filled with stronger 'future sense' and are full of imagination,” said Liu, “…the future has never been so attractive to us. So this year’s essay topic has a natural connection with society and reflects the current state of the development of the society.”

As this year’s gaokao participants were mostly born after the millennium, Liu has great expectations for the new generation’s understanding of science fiction.

“Since the young generation has had great access to high technology products, they have more comprehensive understandings of science fiction literature,” said Liu.

Liu Cixin won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel with his popular sci-fi novel "The Three-Body Problem", the first novel in his trilogy titled "Remembrance of Earth's Past". He was the first Asian to take home the world's highest honor for science fiction. The English version of "The Three-body Problem" has sold over 250 thousand copies around the world. 

Liu is also a nine-time winner of the Galaxy Award, which is China's most prestigious literary science fiction award. “Bring her eyes”, a novel by Liu published in 2004, was selected in the Chinese textbook by the People’s Education Press.