Cixin Liu Graphic Novels #1-3

Vol. 1: Sea of Dreams

Cixin-SeaOfDream-cov“An annual ice sculpture festival draws the attention of an extraterrestrial visitor, who learns how to create such art and decides to use local resources to sculpt a piece in a gesture of goodwill. All the water in the ocean is sent to the stratosphere, where the ice sculptor uses splendid techniques to create crystal dominoes scattered by a giant of the cosmos. In the world of the ice sculptor, art is the sole reason for civilization’s existence. After the ice sculptor creates the pinnacle of beauty, but also brings forth devastation and disaster, humanity decides during Earth’s last breaths to fight for their survival.

The first of sixteen new graphic novels from Liu Cixin and Talos Press, Sea of Dreams is an epic tale of the future that all science fiction fans will enjoy.”

[Text from the publisher’s website ; see also the backcover]

Cixin Liu Graphic Novels #1: Sea of Dreams, by Rodolfo Santullo (writer) & JOK (Illustrator). New York: Tales Press (Imprint of Skyhorse Publishing), June 2021. 96 pages, 7 x 10 in., $US 17.99 / $C 24.99, ISBN 978-1-945863-67-7. For Teen readership (12+). 

Vol. 2: The Wandering Earth

Cixin-WanderingEarth-cov“The life-bringing sun is on track to have a catastrophic helium flash within the next four hundred years, which would wipe the Earth from the universe entirely. To survive, humanity constructs massive engines on Earth that keep running nonstop, gradually taking Earth out of the Sun’s orbit. Braking, escaping, and hostile living conditions wear down humanity’s hope. People who believe that civilization has already been destroyed form a rebel faction, carrying out a ruthless execution of those who still believe that the Sun will undergo a helium flash.

The second of sixteen new graphic novels from Liu Cixin and Talos Press, The Wandering Earth is an epic tale of the future that all science fiction fans will enjoy.”

[Text from the publisher’s website ; see also the backcover]

Cixin Liu Graphic Novels #2: The Wandering Earth, by Christophe Bec (writer) & Stefano Raffaele (illustrator). New York: Tales Press (Imprint of Skyhorse Publishing), September 2021. 128 pages, 7 x 10 in., $US 17.99 / $C 24.99, ISBN 978-1-945863-65-3. For Teen readership (12+). 

Vol. 3: The Village Teacher

Cixin-VillageTeacher-cov“In the depths of mountains shrouded with ignorance and superstition, a man dedicates his life to igniting a passion for science and culture in children’s hearts. As his life draws to an end, he uses his dying breaths to impart knowledge on others. Fifty thousand lightyears away, in the depths of outer space, an interstellar war that has lasted for twenty thousand years draws to an end. In order to preserve the Milky Way’s many civilizations, the victor begins to exterminate lower-level life forms. When they reach Earth, they pose a test. The eighteen children deep in the mountains use the last lesson their teacher taught them to shine bright the hope of civilization…

The third of sixteen new graphic novels from Liu Cixin and Talos Press, The Village Teacher is an epic tale that all science fiction fans will enjoy.”

[Text from the publisher’s website ; see also the backcover]

Cixin Liu Graphic Novels #3: The Village Teacher, by Zhang Xiaoyu. New York: Tales Press (Imprint of Skyhorse Publishing), September 2021. 108 pages, 7 x 10 in., $US 17.99 / $C 24.99, ISBN 978-1-945863-69-1. For Teen readership (12+).

>> Please, read the warning for possible spoilers <<

I have read two of Liu Cixin’s book (The Wandering Earth and The Three-Body Problem). He is certainly the best known Chinese science-fiction writer and has received many awards (Hugo, Locus, Seiun, Arthur C. Clarke and the Chinese Galaxy and Nebula). As an engineer he writes mostly hard science stories but his writing is also very imaginative and interesting. I am looking forward to reading more of his stories and, of course, the easy (or lazy) way is to read comic book adaptations instead. Luckily for me, Talos Press has started releasing a series of sixteen adaptations of Liu Cixin’s short fiction work. Three has already been published and a fourth one is due in January 2022 (Yuanyuan’s Bubbles).

Sea of Dreams (梦之海 / Mèng zhī hǎi) is based on a story published in the Chinese monthly magazine Science Fiction World (科幻世界 / Kehuan Shijie) in 2002. An interstellar artist is inspired by an ice sculptor on Earth but his work of art threaten the whole planet! It is a cute story but the art of the adaptation doesn’t appeal much to me. stars-3-0

The Wandering Earth (流浪地球 / Liúlàng dìqiú) is based on a story published in the Chinese monthly magazine Science Fiction World in 2000. The sun is about to burst into a red giant threatening to destroy the earth. Instead of build generation ships and save a few, the humanity decide to transform earth itself into a spaceship and save everybody (or almost). This is a real epic spanning several millennia and the adaptation succeeds very well to tell that complex story. And I really like the art: it is realist, smooth and with well balanced colouring. It is definitely my favourite book. stars-4-0

The Village Teacher is based on a story (乡村教师 / Xiāngcūn jiàoshī / lit. “The rural teacher”) published in the Chinese monthly magazine Science Fiction World in 2001. In order to defend themselves against an invasion of silicon-based creature, the carbon-based lifeforms of the Milky Way decide to create an isolation zone five hundred light years wide in the middle of spiral arm one by destroying almost all stars and therefore preventing the enemy from using them to leapfrog from a stellar system to another. They’ll be confined to the outer reaches of the galaxy and never be a threat again. However, they must quickly test each planet before destroying their sun to safeguard all star system with level 3C civilizations. Meanwhile on Earth, in a very rural region of China, a dying country teacher is doing his best to spread knowledge despite the opposition of some of the villagers. Will his students know enough to save Earth? This story emphasize the importance of a good education… A nice story with a moral. This time the artist, Zhang Xiaoyu, is Chinese and, if the art is not totally to my taste, its realism has some charms. stars-3-5

Three graphic novel adaptations that provide a nice reading and can introduce the reader to the works of Liu Cixin. It is worth having a look. I can’t wait to see the fourth volume…

For more information you can check the following websites:

[ AmazonGoodreadsGoogleNelliganWikipediaWorldCat ]

© 2021 FT Culture (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

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