Friday, April 09, 2021

To Hold Up the Sky

To Hold Up the Sky is a collection of short stories written between 1999 and 2017 and recently translated to English. The audiobook is narrated by various narrators and very well down. The stories include:
"Full Spectrum Barrage Jamming"
"The Village Teacher"
"Fire in the Earth"
"Time Migration"
"Ode to Joy"
"Sea of Dreams"
"Cloud of Poems"
"The Thinker"

The stories explore some interesting science fiction scenarios. In one story, the a village teacher hopes to impart some knowledge to students in a remote Chinese village. Right before he dies, he teaches them Newton's laws. A group of aliens grabs a sample of life forms from earth to determine if they are sentient. It just so happens that the students are chosen and some of the questions are on basic mechanics. Their correct answers save the earth.

Another story has the expansion of the universe turn to a contraction. This leads to time running backwards. (However, it just seems "normal" to people living there.)

There are plenty of interesting things to think about in the stories. In general, the stories are fairly "hard" science fiction, dealing with scientific concepts. The author clearly has experience with western science fiction. Sometimes it feels as if he is an American writer that has set his science fiction in China. However, he does delve just a little deeper into the Chinese culture than would a western writer.

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