Shui Wa migrated to Beijing to earn more money and was eventually selected to clean cosmic dust on the Chinese Sun, a giant man-made mirror-like facility launched by a Chinese company to monitor and change weather on earth through reflecting sunshine.
At the end of the story, Shui Wa flew with the "sun" to the far cosmos for further missions, while his parents still live on the planet, with nothing but the hope that their son will one day return.
"Liu Cixin's works are full of boundless imagination rich in ancient heroism and the unmistakable scientific accuracy of Isaac Newton," said Han Song, a 41-year-old Sci-Fi author and journalist.
"I have been greatly impressed by Liu's works for their grandeur and the strong Chinese message," said 24-year-old Wei Wei, a self-confessed Sci-Fi addict.
Liu's new novel describes the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, the most desperate era in Chinese history in the novelist's eyes.
"It was not easy to publish a book about something like the Cultural Revolution in the 1980s, when sci-fi was regularly criticized by commentaries in the People's Daily, the Party's newspaper," Liu said.
In the early eighties, the Party considered Sci-fi an evil, which could lead the public astray. All sci-fi writing across China ceased. The magazine Science Fiction World was the only survivor of the crackdown.
Sci-fi returned a few years later but in a different form. A group of novelists wrote predominantly about high-tech inventions and technologies, including laser beam weapons and atomic batteries.
"The writers in the 80s tied the genre too strictly to science popularization that they turned the genre into a technology exhibition," Liu said.
Compared to his predecessors, Liu has met less pressures and restrictions.
However, "Bygone Stories of Earth" was serialized in Science Fiction World magazine with few constraints to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the end of the Cultural Revolution.
"The second generation of sci-fi writers are touching upon more sensitive topics, including Sino-Japanese relations, the Taiwan issue and even the chaotic "Cultural Revolution" (1966-76), which used to be taboos, " said Han Song.
"It is a gradual process. My "Supernova Era" went through ten years of countless edits before being published in 2003, because it pictured a world war waged by soldiers under 13 years old and it was deemed to be too violent and bloody," said Liu. (more)