Dreamed 1989/6/4 by Liu Cixin
[Liu's] novel Supernova Era... was published in 2003 and will appear in English later this year. It took him twelve years to get the book published, with several rounds of revision, in part because prospective publishers worried about the likely reaction of the state censors. Liu, unlike many Chinese writers popular in the West, is no dissident, but he had conceived the novel in the nervous aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. He told me that during the protests, in 1989, he happened to be in Beijing for an engineering conference. In an afterword to the forthcoming English translation, he writes:
On the night of June 4 I listened in my hotel to the chaotic noise outside, and the muffled sounds of gunfire. That night I dreamed of a limitless expanse of snow, whipped up by the wind into a ground blizzard, and an object--perhaps the sun or a star--glowing with a blinding blue light that painted the sky an eerie color between purple and green. And beneath that dim glow, a formation of children advanced across the snowy ground, white scarves wrapped around their heads, rifles fitted with gleaming bayonets, singing some unrecognizable song as they moved forward in unison...In the book a supemova bathes Earth in deadly radiation, killing everyone over the age of thirteen. In the absence of adults, children must figure out how to apportion resources, forge diplomatic relationships, and maintain order. It soon becomes evident that a world run by children is very different from one run by adults...
I awoke in a cold sweat and couldn't get back to sleep, and that's when the germ of the idea for Supernova Era first took shape.
Source: the New Yorker, 2019/6/24, pp. 29-30
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