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An ‘extraordinary imagination;’ Cixin Liu comes to Santa Fe

This month, “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema is hosting a writer who may be one of the few who can rival Martin’s global reach.

Cixin Liu

On Nov. 14, Cixin Liu, China’s most popular science fiction writer and one whose audience has exploded worldwide over the past several years, will appear for a discussion, question-and-answer session and book-signing at the Jean Cocteau. Liu’s latest book in English translation, “Ball Lightning,” was published in August.

Liu doesn’t speak much English, the Jean Cocteau’s announcement said, so he will appear with a translator.

The New Yorker has called Liu China’s answer to the legendary British sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke of “2001: A Space Odyssey” fame. Liu’s “The Three-Body Problem” – part of a trilogy – won the 2015 Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel. Former President Barack Obama sought out Liu while in Beijing for an education conference in 2017.

Here’s what the Paris Review said about Liu recently: “His books are propelled by the fascination of scientific discovery, in which the mysteries of existence unfold around the reader. In Liu’s hands, everyday reality reveals itself to be composed of marvels, and the results are nothing less than mind-blowing.”

Now, Liu’s works are starting to hit the big screen. A film version of his “The Wandering Earth” is set for release next year.

It remains to be seen if Liu’s books will adapt to film as well as Martin’s – the Santa Fe author’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” series of novels, of course, were turned into HBO’s “Game of Thrones” TV series, a worldwide smash. But earlier this year, Amazon reportedly offered $1 billion for the rights to turn the Liu trilogy “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” into a series.

Liu’s Jean Cocteau appearance is described by the theater as a “lifetime opportunity” for fans to discuss and analyze “Ball Lightning,” said to be “an ode to mysterious natural phenomena and the agendas of those who try to amass its secrets,” with the author.

“Jean Cocteau implores The City Different to incite a profound discussion on Liu’s extraordinary imagination,” says the Jean Cocteau news release.