Skip to main content

Liu Cixin (刘慈欣)

  • 11 Accesses


Liu Cixin (born 1963) is arguably the most successful science fiction writer in contemporary China. Born in Beijing, Liu grew up in Yangquan, a coal-mining town of Shanxi Province at its east border to Hebei Province, where his parents worked in a mine. Graduated from North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power, Liu was a computer engineer working at Niangziguan Power Station where he started to publish science fiction in Chinese periodical Science Fiction World (科幻世界) in the 1990s. He only left his engineering position in 2014, after years of writing and publication in science fiction including his most famous trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past (aka: The Three-Body Problem, 地球往事). Translated into at least 24 different languages by late 2020, its first and final books won the Best Novel Hugo Award in 2015 and 2017, respectively, perhaps the top honour for science fiction literature. Two of his shorter works—a novella and a short story—were adapted into films in 2019, yet the most expected film adaptation of The Three-Body Problem (三体), the first book of Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy has not had a confirmed date of release despite its shooting being concluded in 2015. Liu’s works are praised by both astronomic scientists and literature critics for its perfect combination of scientific theories and wild imaginations of the destiny of human, the planet Earth and the universe. His works include many urban elite characters and attracted many urban followers across the world.


  • Hard science fiction
  • Contemporary Chinese writer
  • Extraterrestrial
  • Three-body problem
  • Urban elites
  • Urban readers
  • Cities in space
  • Futuristic cities

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Selected Works by Liu Cixin’s Published in English to Date

  • (2014) The Three-Body Problem (地球往事三部曲之三体, 2006/2008). Trans. Ken Liu. New York: Tor Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • (2015) The Dark Forest (三体II:黑暗森林, 2008). Trans. Joel Martinsen. New York: Tor Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • (2016) Death’s End (三体III:死神永生, 2010). Trans. Ken Liu. New York: Tor Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • (2016) The Weight of Memories (人生). Trans. Ken Liu. New York: Tor Books. (First published in English as eBook)

    Google Scholar 

  • (2017) The Wandering Earth: Classic Science Fiction Collection. Trans. Ken Liu et al. London: Head of Zeus.

    Google Scholar 

  •  Ten novellas and short stories including “The Wandering Earth” (流浪地球, 2000); “Mountain” (山, 2006); “Sun of China” (中国太阳, 2002); “For the Benefit of Mankind” (赡养人类, 2005); “Curse 5.0” (太原之恋, 2009); “The Micro-Era” (微纪元, 2000); “Devourer” (吞食者, 2002); “Taking Care of God” (赡养上帝, 2004); “With Her Eyes” (带上她的眼睛, 1999); “Cannonball” (地球大炮, 2003).

    Google Scholar 

  • (2018) Ball Lightning (球状闪电, 2004). Trans. Joel Martinsen. New York: Tor Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • (2019) Supernova Era (超新星纪元, 2003). Trans. Joel Martinsen. New York: Tor Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • (2019) “Chapter 8 from China 2185” (中国2185, 1989). Trans. Jessica Imbach.

  • (2019) “Prologue from China 2185” (中国2185, 1989). Trans. Jessica Imbach.

  • (2020) Of Ants and Dinosaurs (当恐龙遇上蚂蚁, 2004). Trans. Elizabeth Hanlon. London: Head of Zeus.

    Google Scholar 

  • (2020) To Hold Up the Sky. Trans. Adam Lanphier et al. New York: Tor Books.

    Google Scholar 

  •  Eleven short stories including “The Village Teacher” (乡村教师, 2001); “The Time Migration” (时间移民, 2014); 2018-04-01 (2018, 2014); “Fire in the Earth” (地火, 2000); “Contraction” (宇宙坍缩, 1999); “Mirror” (镜子, 2004); “Ode to Joy” (欢乐颂, 2005); “Full-Spectrum Barrage Jamming” (全频带阻塞干扰, 2001); “Sea of Dreams” (梦之海, 2002); “Cloud of Poems” (诗云, 2002); “The Thinker” (思想者, 2003).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Adam Lam .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Lam, A. (2021). Liu Cixin (刘慈欣). In: Tambling, J. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-62592-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-62592-8

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Literature, Cultural & Media StudiesReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences