​China’s Major Science Fiction Awards Announce Winners, New Additions

Chinese author Liang Qingsan won the top prize for his novel “The New New Newspaper Press: Shadow of the Enchanted Metropolis” at the 13th Chinese Nebula Awards held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province on Saturday, while the Japanese edition of “The Three-Body Problem ” ” won the first Star Bridge award.

Liang’s work is a cyberpunk novel set in China’s late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), exploring different characters in different sectors of society and the conflicts between technological development, national integrity and individual ethics, the jury announced.

In addition to Liang’s win for Best Novel, other big winners were Wanxiang Fengnian who took home the award for Best Novel for “The Eye of Saishiteng” and Liang Ling who won Best Short Story for “Lunar Bank.” Meanwhile, the award for best translated work went to “Starmaker” by William Olaf Stapledon, translated by Chinese science fiction writer and translator Baoshu. In addition, Lu Ban won the award for the best new writer.

China’s Nebula Awards have added several new categories this year. The first was the Star Bridge Award for those who have contributed to the international promotion of Chinese science fiction literature. The inaugural award was given to a team of Chinese and foreign publishers and translators — including Nozomi Omori and Yao Haijun — who helped promote the science fiction novel “The Three-Body Problem” by the prestigious Hugo Award-winning author Liu Cixin around the world, especially this time to promote Japanese edition.

“The Three-Body Problem,” officially known as the “Remembering Earth’s Past” trilogy, released its 16th anniversary Chinese edition this year. The work has now sold about 29 million copies worldwide in more than 30 languages, including 3.3 million copies of translated editions in overseas markets, according to magazine and publisher Science Fiction World (SFW) and Chongqing Publishing Group. The animated series also debuted online on streaming platform Bilibili on the same day as the 13th China Nebula Awards.

Han Song, a cult science fiction writer and chairman of the organizing committee of China’s Nebula Awards, pointed out that Liu’s “Three Body Problem” has ushered in a new era for Chinese science fiction, and many top contributors and companies have helped publish and promote it overseas. “We want to reward those heroes behind the scenes,” he said. “They really built a ‘star bridge’ between Chinese science fiction and the world.”

Another addition this year was the award for the best idea for a sci-fi game given by the MMC Society to “Planet: Reboot”. The new award category aims to continue to deepen the exploration of the various development paths of China’s science fiction industry and encourage the development of films, animation, games and other works.

More than 200 well-known science fiction writers, publishers, academics and representatives of related industries, institutions and companies participated in the award ceremony online or in person.

The Chinese Nebula Awards, an international award for Chinese-language science fiction writers, are organized by Eternal Vision Science Fiction & Media Co. Hainan (EV/SFM), Time Vision, Chongqing Daily News Media Co. Ltd. and Chongqing Association of Science Writers. The awards were founded in 2010 by Chinese science fiction heavyweights Dong Renwei, Yao Haijun and Wu Yan.

The 13th Chinese Nebula Awards were originally scheduled to take place in Guanghan, Sichuan Province, home to the world-famous Sanxingdui Ruins — a Bronze Age site that includes the remains of an ancient city, sacrificial pits, residential quarters and tombs. The unique and unearthly appearance of the relics discovered there ignited the imagination of many science fiction writers. However, the COVID-19 outbreak delayed the awards ceremony several times and prompted the organizers to finally change the location, while several heavyweights, including Liu Cixin and several winners, were absent and had to participate via video link.

Dong Renwei, a sci-fi mogul and one of the founders of the awards, expressed regret at the small scale of this year’s event, but assured everyone that the 14th China Nebula Awards will compensate and go to Sanxingdui as previously planned after China eases restrictions. “When I founded the awards, I wanted it to be a big event, a gathering and a carnival for Chinese science fiction around the world,” he said. “Next year we will achieve it again.”

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