Ken Liu on “Seven Birthdays”

Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
Wall of Storms by Ken Liu

Q: Tell us about your story in Bridging Infinity?

My story starts out as a “climate change” geo-engineering story based on ideas circulating in the scientific community but soon veers in an unexpected direction. It explores themes of family, our post-human essence, and the weight of history, which are close to my heart. But best of all, it features multiple “kites” at astronomical scales. Who doesn’t like kites?

Q: What was the inspiration behind your story?

I wanted to take the idea of mega-engineering and scale it up to be as grand as I can imagine and still be (theoretically) possible. To tell a story at an epic scale within the compact space of a short story is a challenge I enjoy.

Q: What do you believe makes a good science fiction story?
If the reader exclaims, “why didn’t I think of that?” then it’s a good SF story.

Q: What are you working on now? And if people like your story in the book, what other work of yours should they seek out?

I’m working on the next book in my silkpunk epic fantasy engineer-as-hero series (The Dandelion Dynasty, which includes The Grace of Kings and The Wall of Storms). I’m also trying to sketch out my next project, a near-future hard scifi novel.

If readers enjoy “Seven Birthdays,” they may also enjoy my story, “The Waves,” which was published by Asimov’s and collected in Humanity 2.0, edited by Alex Shvartsman. They may also like the stories in my collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories.

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