Chen Qiufan was born in 1981, in Shantou, China. (In accordance with Chinese custom, Mr. Chen’s surname is written first. He sometimes uses the English name Stanley Chan.) He is a graduate of Peking University and published his first short story in 1997 in Science Fiction World, China’s largest science fiction magazine. Since 2004, he has published over thirty stories in Science Fiction World, Esquire, Chutzpah, and other magazines. His first novel, The Abyss of Vision, came out in 2006. He won Taiwan’s Dragon Fantasy Award in 2006 with “A Record of the Cave of Ning Mountain,” a work written in Classical Chinese. In English, his short stories have been published in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, MIT Technology Review, Slate, Pathlight and other venues. His novel, Waste Tide was published by Tor in 2019.


Chen Qiufan has the following works available at Clarkesworld:


FICTION by Chen Qiufan, translated by Blake Stone-Banks in Issue 163 – April 2020

In the history of human writing, the earliest word for “freedom” is found in Sumerian, signifying freedom from debt. —Treatise of Our Divine Debt, 02:35 1 The dream’s last sequence looped in my memory. A sticky black tide swept every inch of my body. Its rippling foam splintered into tiny chains that swarmed my skin, […]

The Ancestral Temple in a Box

FICTION by Chen Qiufan, translated by Emily Jin in Issue 160 – January 2020

“Mr. Huang has a few words to say . . . ” Everyone in the room stood up at once. The intelligent care robot, however, slowly turned its face in my direction. Emojis flashed on the blue screen. I wasn’t sure whether I understood what those emojis meant. “ . . . to you, in private,” the robot continued. I took a […]

In This Moment, We Are Happy

FICTION by Chen Qiufan, translated by Rebecca Kuang in Issue 155 – August 2019

Black screen. BACKGROUND AUDIO One heartbeat overlaps onto another; the first slow and steady, the second initially faster than the first by two thirds before slowing down. With a nervous energy, the two rhythms intertwine, their timbres cooling and turning mechanical, weaving into a grander, more complex electronic soundscape. CAPTION In spring 2015, the new […]

A Man Out of Fashion

FICTION by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 131 – August 2017

Waking from an endless dream, Du Ruofei found himself naked in bed. For a long while he simply lay still. The dream had lasted so long that he had forgotten where he was supposed to be. Finally, he recognized the dilapidated apartment he had been renting for the last three years: unfashionable décor dating from […]


FICTION by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 115 – April 2016

I judge of your sight by my sight, of your ear by my ear, of your reason by my reason, of your resentment by my resentment, of your love by my love. I neither have, nor can have, any other way of judging about them. —Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments Balin’s dark skin, […]

Coming of the Light

FICTION by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 102 – March 2015

0. My mother told me about a Buddhist monk she and I met while shopping on my first birthday. The monk caressed my head—back then as bald as his—and chanted a few lines that sounded like poetry. After we returned home, my mom recited a few fragments to my father. Dad, who had had a […]

The Fish of Lijiang

FICTION by Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 59 – August 2011

Two fists are before my eyes, bright sunlight reflecting from the backs of the hands. “Left or right?” I see myself reaching out with a child’s finger, hesitating, and pointing to the one on the left. The fist flips, opens. Empty. The fists disappear and reappear. “One more chance. Left or right?” I point to […]