‘3 Body Problem’: from underground magazines to a Netflix blockbuster
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'3 Body Problem': from underground magazines to a Netflix blockbuster

China is responsible for the export of many different goods and materials, but one of its major exports in recent decades is its literature, specifically science fiction. Authors such as Liu Cixin have an international following, which includes fans such as Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. 

China’s influence over the world of science fiction is best represented in its recent hosting of Worldcon. Despite the increasingly questionable politics of China and a tightened grip on expression, fans of sci-fi from all over the world gathered in Chengdu to revel in their favourite genre. 

The celebrations following Worldcon were short-lived, as goodwill turned sour after it was revealed the organisers disqualified nominees for the Hugo Awards to meet Chinese censors. 

This is representative of the constant contradiction that China lives in, as its science fiction is some of the most read and distributed around the world; however, its writers also have strict limitations imposed on the creative process. The overall popularity of Chinese science fiction has increased so much that the aforementioned Liu Cixin is set to have a Netflix adaptation of his The Three-Body Problem made. 

The adaptation will have a big budget as attached to it are the same showrunners who were responsible for Game Of Thrones. The series could see Chinese science fiction reach one of its biggest audiences. 

Getting to this point has been no small feat, as a team of authors, editors, and cultural bureaucrats were responsible for ensuring that the world of Chinese authors could be distributed worldwide with a passionate belief that these novels could help bring people together. 

“Sci-fi has always been a bridge between different cultures and countries,” said the editor-in-chief of Science Fiction World, Yao Haijun, China’s oldest sci-fi magazine.