A Summer Beyond Your Reach
This thought-provoking collection of 14 sci-fi shorts from Jia raises fascinating what-ifs while presenting snapshots of a futuristic China juxtaposed with its deeply embedded cultural heritage. In “Six Views of a Spring Festival,” translated by Ken Liu, the age-old tradition of arranged marriages is paired with technological advances that offer mini digital copies of candidates who simulate dates, family meetings, weddings, honeymoons, and even pregnancies to test-drive compatibility. “A Time Beyond Your Reach,” translated by Carmen Yiling Ya, shows how two very different lifestyles can connect by using time-warp technology. The necessity of love is questioned in “Duet of Love,” translated by Rebecca Kuang, in which scientists have found the mechanisms to switch on and off this neurobiological function. And human-interfaced robotics offer ways to care for the elderly and allow their continued contribution to society in “Tongtong’s Summer,” translated by Liu. Jia infuses these slice-of-life tales with much for readers to ponder. Science fiction fans with an appreciation of Chinese culture should snap this up.