Alongside Liu Cixin, Chen Qiufan is considered China’s most renowned science fiction authors. His debut novel “The Silicon Island”, set on a waste-contaminated island off the Chinese coast, asks uncomfortable questions that strike at the heart of modern Chinese society: How much growth can our environment sustain? How long can the gap between the rural poor and the wealthy metropolises widen without the provincial population demanding a bigger cut of resources? “It’s like we have a rope around our necks, and we’re pulling on it. And the more we pull on it, the less air we get,” a protagonist says in Qiufan’s eco-thriller. “But if we let go, we fall into a bottomless abyss and drown.”
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