Ken Liu is an American author of speculative fiction. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, he wrote the Dandelion Dynasty, a silkpunk epic fantasy series (starting with The Grace of Kings), as well as short story collections The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories and The Hidden Girl and Other Stories. He also penned the Star Wars novel The Legends of Luke Skywalker.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Liu worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. Liu frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, cryptocurrency, history of technology, bookmaking, narrative futures, and the mathematics of origami.


Ken Liu has the following works available at Clarkesworld:

Timekeepers' Symphony

FICTION by Ken Liu in Issue 192 – September 2022

To keep time, you must first invent it. 1. Flicker—A piacere Time travels in divers paces with divers persons. I’ll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal and who he stands still withal. —William Shakespeare, As You Like It, III.ii. In the cloud forests of Paek Sigma II, […]

Legend of the Giant

FICTION by Fei Dao, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 181 – October 2021

1. “Chi-a! Chi-a!” Just as dawn is about to chase away the night, the silence is broken by a distant, earth-rumbling chant. A roiling, dark column of smoke snakes toward the rosy clouds. The giant, towing a rusty furnace behind him, each stride infused with pride, marches into sight from over the horizon. Lit by […]

The Loneliest Ward

FICTION by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 143 – August 2018

At the nurses station, Qina and Auntie Han were the only two left on duty. Everyone else had already gone home, relief flooding their faces as they exited the ward. Qina wasn’t her usual carefree self—but who could blame her? She was in the middle of a cold war with her boyfriend, after all. She […]

Farewell, Doraemon

FICTION by A Que, translated by Emily Jin and Ken Liu in Issue 140 – May 2018

I escaped the city and returned home on a winter’s day. A vast gloomy sky, whitish-gray as the belly of a dead fish, stretched out in front of me. Sparrows flapped their wings as they hopped on and off the dead branches trembling in the ferocious wind, unable to perch. I shivered and tucked my […]

The Psychology Game

FICTION by Xia Jia, translated by Emily Jin and Ken Liu in Issue 133 – October 2017

This is a globally popular reality TV show. The structure of the show is simple. The screen is split in half: on the left, the patient reclines in a sling chair; on the right sits the therapist. To preserve anonymity for both participants, their faces are replaced by vivid software-generated 3D cartoon versions and their […]

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 […]

The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales

FICTION by Fei Dao, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 127 – April 2017

Once upon a time there was a king. He was brave and clever and blessed with good luck. As you might expect, he ended up unifying the world, and even made plans to conquer the sun. Most remarkably, he did everything aboveboard and never lied. The people loved him and wanted to emulate his example. […]

Goodnight, Melancholy

FICTION by Xia Jia, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 126 – March 2017

Lindy (1) I remember the first time Lindy walked into my home. She lifted her tiny feet and set them down gingerly on the smooth, polished wooden floor, like a child venturing onto freshly-fallen snow: trembling, hesitating, afraid to dirty the pure white blanket, terrified of sinking into and disappearing beneath the featureless fluff. I […]

Another Word: The Joy of Helping

NON-FICTION by Ken Liu in Issue 123 – December 2016

Recently, Tor Books published Invisible Planets, the first English-language anthology of contemporary Chinese SF (by “contemporary,” I mean roughly something like “written during the 21st century”). I was both the anthology’s editor and translator. As I started to do publicity for the book, one question came up again and again: What motivated me to do […]

The Snow of Jinyang

FICTION by Zhang Ran, translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan in Issue 117 – June 2016

Translators’ Note This story is an alternate history and features events that would have been familiar to its original Chinese audience. To help set the scene for those less familiar with this period of history, we provide the following background information: Jinyang was an ancient city located in modern-day Shanxi Province, China. This story takes […]


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, […]


FICTION by Gu Shi, translated by S. Qiouyi Lu and Ken Liu in Issue 114 – March 2016

An individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution. —Merriam-Webster 1. Chimera It had the fore part of a lion, the tail of a dragon, and its third head, the middle one, was that of a goat, through which it belched fire. It was begotten by Typhon on Echidna, as Hesiod relates. […]

Everybody Loves Charles

FICTION by Baoshu, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 112 – January 2016

1. He shot into space, free as a fish that had leapt away from the sea’s embrace. Gazing down through Pegasus’s porthole, he saw the receding grey metropolis, then the amber suburbs, and finally the green fields and yellow deserts, all quickly submerged beneath a sea of clouds. By the time he emerged from the […]

Another Word: Let's Write a Story Together, MacBook

NON-FICTION by Ken Liu in Issue 112 – January 2016

The bridge of the Starship Dolphin was a sight to behold. There was an air conditioning unit off in the distance. There seemed to be electricity in the air. Ensign Serenity Starlight Warhammer O’James was leaning on the communications panel. She was a bit on the short side, but in a cute way, with perky […]

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

FICTION by Xia Jia, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 110 – November 2015

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler Li Yunsong (librarian, traveler on a winter’s night) posted on 20xx-04-06 Many are the ways of commemorating the dead, and no one can say which is best—not even the dead. The method I’m about to tell you is perhaps the strangest of them all. My father was a […]

Another Word: Chinese Science Fiction and Chinese Reality

NON-FICTION by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 110 – November 2015

China is a society undergoing rapid development and transformation, where crises are present along with hopes, and opportunities coexist with challenges. This is a reality reflected in the science fiction produced there. Chinese readers often interpret science fiction in unexpected ways. Take my Three Body series as an example. The alien-invasion story takes as its […]

Preserve Her Memory

FICTION by Baoshu, translated by Ken Liu in Issue 108 – September 2015

One o’clock in the morning. Heavy rain. Ye Lin, her clothes drenched, stands at the edge of the roof of the three-hundred-story Future Tower. She shivers uncontrollably as the gale, whipping freezing rain, slices across her skin like an ice knife. From her perch more than a kilometer aboveground, she surveys the city that never […]
Best Science Fiction of the Year