Tag Archives: scifi

Virtual Festivals and Vagabonds

Virtual Literary Festivals and Conventions

In this time of social distancing, stories and books are more important than ever. We all, however, have to be a little creative in how we connect with others to celebrate storytelling.

Since my book tour for The Hidden Girl and Other Stories had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, I’ve been working on virtual replacements for in-person events. I’ve already done panels in Second Life and virtual reality, and the explorations will continue.

Later this month, I’m going to be an author guest at the Newburyport Literary Festival, which has gone virtual this year.

NLF Virtual

My presentation, called “The Values of Stories; Stories of Values,” is scheduled for April 25 at 1:00 PM EDT. If you use Zoom, you can register as an attendee at the link above. I’ll be talking about why stories are important to me, how I ended up writing the stories in The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, and how the technology of storytelling changes the stories we tell.

Then, in May, I’ll be one of the Guests of Honor at Flights of Foundry, a virtual convention for speculative creators. I want to talk about literature and sustainability, the nitty-gritty legal and business aspects of being an artist trying to make a living, and the craft of writing.

Flights of Foundry

I hope to see you at one of these events!

Meanwhile, please keep an eye on the “Events” page as I’ll be announcing new events there as soon as details are confirmed.

Stay safe and healthy. Can’t wait to talk to you!

Vagabonds

Today is release day for Vagabonds, the English edition of the debut novel of my friend Hao Jingfang, translated by me (the Chinese original was written more than a decade ago).

Links: Saga (US) and Head of Zeus (UK).

It’s a deeply philosophical novel about our eternal search for fairness and equality, told through the perspective of a young woman who must find a home after exile from both the planet of her birth and the planet where she comes of age. I think of it as what you would get if you mixed Le Guin’s The Dispossessed with Camus’s L’Homme révolté, all flavored with Jingfang’s abiding compassion and faith in the sanctity of the individual as shown in stories like “Folding Beijing.”

I adore both the UK and US covers. They evoke the Neo-Platonic ideals that form such an important part of the book’s narrative.

I hope you like this book as much as I did.

Vagabonds US Cover
Vagabonds UK Cover

AMC Greenlights Pantheon Based on My Stories

So, I have some good news to share! AMC has ordered a primetime animated series, Pantheon, based on an interconnected series of short stories by me. Craig Silverstein and the writers have been so amazing to work with. The writers room may be one of the most fascinating storytelling innovations.

AMC has given a two-season order for Pantheon, a one-hour, animated series based on a series of short stories by Ken Liu about uploaded intelligence, reports Deadline.

The network began developing the series back in 2018, setting up a writers room to begin writing a series of scrips and a short animated presentation. The series is being run by Craig Silverstein, who’s produced and written for shows like AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies, Nikita, Terra Nova, and others. Deadline notes that the series is “described as a fresh take on graphic realism done in a traditional 2D way, using modern tools.” The series will at least run for two seasons (Deadline says that it’s “envisioned as an ongoing series”) of eight episodes.

The show will follow a young woman named Maddie, “a bullied teen who receives mysterious help from someone online,” who turns out to be her dead father David, who has uploaded his consciousness into the cloud, and whose existence marks a potential turning point for the human race.

— Andrew Liptak for Tor.com

You can listen to one of the stories behind Pantheon, “Staying Behind” as narrated by the inimitable @levarburton in the latest episode of LeVar Burton Reads. The story was originally published by Clarkesworld.

You can read the series of short stories that became the basis for Pantheon in my latest collection, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories.

Waste Tide

My friend Chen Qiufan’s debut novel, Waste Tide, is finally out in English. I did the translation, and Tor Books in the US and Head of Zeus in the UK are the publishers.

Waste Tide Covers

The novel has been getting excellent reviews everywhere. You can see a sample of the reviews and find out more about the book here.

Stan and me in front of MOCA

Stan (that’s his English name) and I attended a book launch for him at the Museum of Chinese in America in NYC on Tuesday, organized by Professor Jing Tsu of Yale. Very grateful to the staff of MOCA, Professor Tsu, Lindsey Hall (Stan’s editor at Tor), Desirae Friesen (Stan’s publicist), Eddie Schneider and Gray Tan (Stan’s agents), Russel Galen (my agent), Neil Clarke, Regina Kanyu Wang, Emily Jin, and others who made the English edition possible and the night so memorable.

Big congrats to Stan! (And buy the book!)

“Good Hunting” and Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots

“Good Hunting,” which may be found in The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, is now part of Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots.

Good Hunting from LDR

The series, executive produced by David Fincher, Joshua Donen, Jennifer Miller, and Tim Miller, consists of 18 awesome animated shorts centered around the titular themes. Other authors whose work was adapted include John Scalzi, Claudine Griggs, Marko Kloos, and many others.

The “Good Hunting” adaptation, one of the longest in the series, was directed by Oliver Thomas. The adapted script was by Philip Gelatt. It was animated by Reddog Culture House. Voice actors include Elaine Tan, Matt Yang King, Gwendeline Yeo, Maddox Henry, Sumalee Montano, and JB Blanc.

I think the adaptation looks fantastic. All the episodes in the series are relatively short so you can binge them all in probably one viewing. (Note that this is a series aimed at adults so it is not appropriate for children and likely NSFW.) Enjoy!

Star Wars: Legends of Luke Skywalker

Today is release day for The Legends of Luke Skywalker, a set of tall tales about the Jedi Knight that have been passing from cantina to freighter and from mouth to audio receptor ever since a certain farm boy left Tatooine for the wider galaxy far, far away…

I’ve been waiting forever to share this book with my fellow Star Wars fans.

Legends of Luke Skywalker Cover

If you want to learn a little more about the book, here are a few links to interviews and reviews.

Devan Coggan interviews me for Entertainment Weekly: “Ken Liu Tells Star Wars Tall Tales in The Legends of Luke Skywalker:

Legends follows a number of young deckhands working aboard a ship bound for Canto Bight (a casino world featured in the upcoming The Last Jedi). Together, they swap six different stories about Luke, each passed down from a different storyteller. One comes from a droid who claims to have witnessed Luke singlehandedly lead a droid rebellion, while another comes from a tiny, flea-like creature who claims to have had a pivotal role in Luke’s escape from Jabba’s palace. One of the particular highlights is the tale told by a former Imperial engineer, who says that Luke Skywalker was nothing but a piece of propaganda made up by the Rebellion. The real Luke is a con artist named Luke Clodplodder, who orchestrated a massive scam with his friends aboard a ship called the Century Turkey.

SWNN (Kyle Larson)’s review “Luke Is Looking for the Force in Ken Liu’s The Legends of Luke Skywalker:

Ken Liu has crafted a collection of stories that weave through the complicated life of Luke Skywalker in the fashion of great mythology and fairy tales. If you have an appreciation for bed time stories or great tales around a campfire, you won’t at all be disappointed in this book.

Starwars.com (James Floyd) interviews me in ”Ken Liu on Exploring the ‘Perfect Mythic Figure’ In The Legends of Luke SkywalkerM:

In our world, as the deeds of famous men and women are distorted, simplified, and exaggerated into bare, impressionistic outlines, we fill them in with vivid colors according to our own understanding of the human condition and our own needs for the right story. The same person may be seen as hero or villain, as martyr or hypocrite, depending on who is doing the seeing and what colors are in their Crayola box.

As it is in our universe, so it is in the galaxy far, far away.

Beautiful Dreamer

David Gaddie’s short film “Beautiful Dreamer”, based on my short story, “Memories of My Mother,” is now available for viewing online.

Beautiful Dreamer

Beautiful Dreamer is a sci-fi, time travel tale set in a striking near future world of drones, robots, holograms and transport pods. But it’s also a personal story. A mother, facing a terminal disease, leaves her baby daughter and travels into space at near-light speed. Using relativity, she is able to stretch her final two years over her daughter’s entire lifetime but is only able to visit her daughter for one night every seven years.