Gu Shi is a speculative fiction writer and a senior urban planner. She has been working as a researcher at the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design since 2012. Her short fiction works have won two Galaxy Awards for Chinese Science Fiction and three Chinese Nebula (Xingyun) Awards. She published her first story collection Möbius Continuum in 2020. Her stories have appeared in English translation in Sinopticon (2021), Broken Stars (2019), The Way Spring Arrives (2021), Clarkesworld magazine and Current Futures, XPRIZE’s science fiction ocean anthology (2019). Her stories have also been translated into Italian, Japanese, German, Romanian and other languages.
This month we're delighted to be featuring speculative fiction author Gu Shi, and her story 'Introduction to 2181 Overture, Second Edition', translated by Emily Jin and first published in Clarkesworld, issue 197, in February 2023. We're very grateful to author, translator and publisher for letting us reprint it this month. The Chinese story won the Golden Award for Best Short Story in the 12th Xingyun (Nebula) Awards, and the Best Short Story in the 1st Diaoyucheng SF Awards. You can read the original story in Chinese here, and Emily's English translation here.
When cryosleep technology was offered to the market in bulk, the lowered pricing led to a buying frenzy. Finally, cryosleep became a common mode of transportation—across time, rather than space. If we could travel from Beijing to Paris, why couldn’t we travel from the present to ten years later? The only difference between another land and another time was that the former was knowable, and the latter not. Thus, compared to immigration, cryosleep was an option more or less the same price, that brought about simultaneously more risks and more opportunities. It was up to the individual to decide the dimension they would cross.
You can also find an audio version of the story, read by Kate Baker, on Clarkesworld's website.
And if you'd like to explore more stories translated by Emily Jin, we featured her translation of a story by Chen Qian 陈茜 on our bookclub in July 2022, taken from the collection The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang (Tordotcom, 2022). (And which just happens to feature another story by Gu Shi, translated by Yilin Wang).
Gu Shi is also one of the authors in The Book of Beijing, edited by Bingbing Shi and coming in September from Comma Press. This latest addition to Comma's 'City in Short Fiction' series features ten stories, including Gu Shi's 'The MagiMirror Algorythm', translated by Florence Taylor. And we're very excited that Gu Shi herself will be visiting the UK, along with another author from the book - Wen Zhen - as part of the launch of The Book of Beijing. Events will be held in Manchester on the 15th October, and Leeds on the 16th. More details to come soon!