Chen Qiufan (陈楸帆 a.k.a. Stanley Chan) is a dear friend and one of my favorite writers. I’m so glad that I got a chance to work on the translation of his first novel, Waste Tide(《荒潮》). If you are at all interested in SF or dark tech thrillers, this is a book not to be missed.
Praise for Waste Tide
“Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan is something startlingly new in science fiction: a cyberpunk novel that showcases the ugly side of our technology fetishism, an action-packed story that’s full of moral complexity, and a wild ride that never runs out of surprises. This is the futuristic vision that everybody needs right now.”
— Charlie Jane Anders
“In a 21st Century waste land—the world’s center for electronic recycling—where the excesses of global consumption, Chinese triads, international corporations, and environmental groups collide, Chen weaves a stunning tale of greed and deftly exposes all the hidden contours of the human heart.“
— Maggie Shen King
“The author patiently engineers these ingredients and personalities into a nightmarish conflict while showing a particular talent for writing viscerally gripping action. The moral dilemmas he presents are all too familiar, with seemingly little to differentiate villains, victims, and victors. China itself, of course, takes center stage, as the past—with its rich cultural backdrop, paramount loyalty to family and clan, and reverence for tradition—confronts social upheaval and the accelerating importance of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Chinese science fiction, once an unknown quantity in the U.S., is forcing itself to the forefront through sheer excellence.”
— Kirkus (a starred review)
“Chen’s story is extremely relevant to the current moment of throwaway culture, increasing income disparity, and technological advances progressing at such a rate that morality and ethics have trouble keeping up. Readers who crave gorgeous imagery and a thrilling narrative that also explicitly wrestles with big questions will be overjoyed.”
— Publishers Weekly (a starred review)
“Waste Tide turns out to be a complex and provocative exploration of the interactions among social class, corporate ambition, cultural identity, environmentalism, and human potential, with enough buzzy ideas to power a couple of novels, and enough violent melodrama to keep the reader plummeting along.”
— Gary K. Wolfe writing for Locus
Mimi is drowning in the world’s trash.
She’s a waste worker on Silicon Isle, where electronics — from cell phones and laptops to bots and bionic limbs — are sent to be recycled. These amass in towering heaps, polluting every spare inch of land. On this island off the coast of China, the fruits of capitalism and consumer culture come to a toxic end.
Mimi and thousands of migrant waste workers like her are lured to Silicon Isle with the promise of steady work and a better life. They’re the lifeblood of the island’s economy, but are at the mercy of those in power.
A storm is brewing, between ruthless local gangs, warring for control. Ecoterrorists, set on toppling the status quo. American investors, hungry for profit. And a Chinese-American interpreter, searching for his roots.
As these forces collide, a war erupts — between the rich and the poor; between tradition and modern ambition; between humanity’s past and its future.
Mimi, and others like her, must decide if they will remain pawns in this war or change the rules of the game altogether.