Chengdu, located in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, buzzed with excitement and fervor as it welcomed writers, artists, and science fiction aficionados from all over the world. The much-anticipated World Science Fiction Convention, popularly known as Worldcon, opened its doors on October 18, marking the beginning of a five-day immersive journey into the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Worldcon boasts a rich history dating back to 1939 and is widely recognized as one of the premier events in the world of speculative fiction. This year’s edition in Chengdu marks a significant moment, as it’s only the second time the convention has been held in an Asian city, following Yokohama, Japan in 2007.
One of the event’s standout participants was none other than the distinguished Chinese science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Renowned for his groundbreaking novel, “The Three-Body Problem,” which clinched the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, Liu shared his reflections on the evolving nexus between technology and imaginative storytelling. He passionately conveyed the importance of science fiction in today’s technologically dominated age, stating, “With technology weaving itself into the fabric of our daily lives, the fusion of technological advances with imaginative thinking can paint vivid pictures of the future. It enables us to traverse uncharted universes otherwise beyond our grasp.”
Liu emphasized that the present era, characterized by rapid technological transformations, holds the potential to organically nurture future science fiction luminaries. He believes that external efforts to cultivate talents are secondary to the zeitgeist of the times. “Our era inherently births science fiction talents. The genre’s allure lies in its power to spark youthful imaginations, broadening their perspectives and fostering a deep curiosity for the enigmatic realms of science and the unknown,” Liu mused.
In a contemplative mood, Liu expressed his desires for the future, hoping that a century from now, humanity would have transcended the bounds envisioned by today’s sci-fi writers. Mirroring this sentiment, celebrated Hugo and Nebula award recipient, Robert Sawyer, expressed his aspiration for a future world that remains intrinsically human, undominated by artificial intelligence or machine life.
A hallmark of Worldcon is the illustrious Hugo Awards ceremony, which stands among the pinnacle honors in the science fiction and fantasy literary world. Eager attendees look forward to the award distribution slated for October 21. Over the years, Worldcons have been instrumental in molding the trajectory of science fiction and fantasy fandom. They have provided fertile ground for meaningful dialogues, debates, and discourse within the genre. This year’s attendees in Chengdu also include notable figures like Guo Fan, the visionary director behind the sci-fi sensation “The Wandering Earth,” and acclaimed film actor Wu Jing.