Cixin Liu Graphic Novels #4
“Ever since she was a child, Yuanyuan always dreamed of blowing big bubbles. But her father worries about her fascination—he wants Yuanyuan to be as responsible and devoted to a calling as her mother was. As an adult, Yuanyuan creates a multimillion-dollar business out of the technology she developed for her doctoral thesis. But she still dreams of blowing the biggest bubble she can. When his daughter uses her high-tech methods to blow a bubble big enough to envelop a city, Yuanyuan’s father thinks back to the dreams he and Yuanyuan’s mother chased when they were young. In the end, Yuanyuan’s bubbles bring her father’s dreams to life.
The fourth of sixteen new graphic novels from Liu Cixin and Talos Press, Yuanyuan’s Bubbles is an epic tale of the future that all science fiction fans will enjoy. ”
[Text from the publisher’s website; see also the backcover]
>> Please, read the warning for possible spoilers <<
Cixin Liu Graphic Novels #4: YuanYuan’s Bubbles (刘慈欣科幻漫画系列：圆圆的肥皂泡 / Liú Cíxīn kēhuàn mànhuà xìliè: Yuán yuán de féizào pào / “Liu Cixin Science Fiction Comics Series: Yuán yuán Soap Bubbles”) was published in China in 2020 and was based on a short story by Cixin Liu originally published in 2004. It is part of a project by Chinese publisher FT Culture who is planning to adapt in graphic novels sixteen stories by the multiple award-winning Chinese author Liu Cixin. According to John Freeman, they asked creators from all over the world (twenty-six writers and artists from fourteen countries, including China, France, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Belgium and the USA) to contribute to the series. It will be translated and published in at least eight countries. The English adaptation is published in the USA by Talos Press and by Head of Zeus’ Ad Astra imprint in the U.K. The French adaptation will be published by Delcourt starting later this year. The first four volumes of the series are already available in English: Sea of Dreams (#1), The Wandering Earth (#2), The Village Teacher (#3) and Yuanyuan’s Bubbles (I have already commented on the first three). Chaos Butterfly (#5, by Dan Panosian) and The Circle (#6, by Xavier Besse and Nicholas Blackburn Smith) will follow on September 6 2022. The series will also includes adaptations of Devourer (by Corinne Bertrand), The Wages of Humanity (by Sylvain Runberg and Miki Montllò), Up to the Ears (by Julien Moca and Wang Jing), Be With You, Sunflower Boy (by Nie Jun) and Ball Lightning (by Thierry Robin). It is a very promising series.
YuanYuan’s Bubbles offers a very interesting story telling us of a realistic future where global warming has already done its damages. It also demonstrate that even the most whimsical scientific endeavour can eventually be useful and even save humanity from disaster. The art is rather average but it is worth reading. I find the whole series fascinating because it offers a window on Chinese science-fiction and an easy approach, through comics, to Liu Cixin’s works. Because of his scientific background, his writings are considered hard science-fiction but they remain easy to read and offer stimulating reflections on the paths that humanity should (or not) take in the future. I also like the fact that this project is really an international collaboration. For example, YuanYuan’s Bubbles’ creators are both French speaking: Valérie Mangin is a French writer, a latinist!, and Steven Dupré is a Belgian artist who publishes in both French and Dutch languages. They also collaborated together on the series Le Club des prédateurs.
All in all, YuanYuan’s Bubbles is a very good reading, even more so if you are interested in compelling science-fiction, Chinese literature or Liu Cixin’s works. I can’t wait to read the other titles of this series…
Cixin Liu Graphic Novels #4: YuanYuan’s Bubbles, by Valérie Mangin (text) & Steven Dupré (illustration); translation by Nicholas Blackburn Smith, based on a story by Liu Cixin. New York: Talos Press (Imprint of Skyhorse Publishing), January 2022. 72 pages, 7 x 10 in., $US 17.99 / $C 24.99, ISBN 978-1-945863-71-4. For Teen readership (12+).
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