The Wandering Earth
This one’s by Cixin Liu too – he’s the author of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy that I absolutely devoured this past summer. It’s a short story, less than a couple hours, and the world it creates is fantastical but a little hard to believe. The premise involves humanity needing to move away from the sun due to its instability, with its generational ship being the Earth for thousands of years. It’s a wack idea, but the execution is pretty great.
I’d be hard pressed to define it as hard sci-fi, but the story integrates some heavy elements of technology and science. There are hints to societal paradigm shifts that I thought was really cool, and I feel like the movie would definitely flesh that out a little more. Sometimes short stories create a universe but rush through them quickly, which is a bit disappointing if you want to be enraptured in that world.
Given that humanity is trying to flee the sun, there’s some interesting symbolism that goes on given the existence of light as a symbol in within human culture that’s shown really well. It would be great to take on a more in-depth analysis of this, but I feel like there are hints of developing this central theme throughout the story that I couldn’t quite grasp on my first read-through. Overall, The Wandering Earth completely develops and executes the core of an idea pretty remarkably, given that you accept the semi-fantastical nature of the world. Would love to read this again, especially given how short it is.