Chengdu Wants to Become a Hub for Sci-Fi

The new Chengdu Science-Fiction Museum nears completion, as it gets ready to welcome the World Science Fiction Convention and Hugo Awards Ceremony

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3:17 PM HKT, Thu August 10, 2023 1 mins read

Chengdu is embracing a new chapter in its identity as a hub for science fiction, amidst an ongoing renaissance of Chinese sci-fi.

Following the success of Liu Cixin’s works and the “Wandering Earth” movie, the Chengdu Science Fiction Museum, on the brink of completion, is set to open its doors to the public as the main venue for the 81st annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), as well as the prestigious Hugo Awards ceremony, in October of this year.

The impressive piece of architecture is situated by Jingrong Lake within Chengdu’s Science & Innovation New City. The design, created by Zaha Hadid Architects, draws inspiration from the spiral patterns of an expanding nebula, as well as from gold leaf masks unearthed in recent archaeological digs near Chengdu, representing the mystical visions and alien-like forms celebrated by the area’s ancient inhabitants.

‘Alien-like’ forms of ancient Sanxingdui civilization masks. Image via Wikimedia Commons

A central atrium illuminated by natural light, and a large window that looks onto the nearby mountain range integrate the museum’s interior with its natural surroundings. The 59,400 square meter floor plan aims for seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, and across different stories to connect the museum’s facilities.

Chengdu, a city of over 2 million residents, has a rich legacy in the realm of science fiction. The most-read sci-fi magazine on the planet, Science Fiction World, is based in Chengdu, where it was first published in 1979.

Image via ATCHAIN

Image via ATCHAIN

During Worldcon, the World Science Fiction Society will preside over and present the Hugo Awards, considered the premiere award in science fiction. Categories include novels and short fiction, artwork, and dramatic presentations, all interspersed with diverse professional and fan activities.

Announced guests of honor for the convention include Liu Cixin, Sergey Lukyanenko, and Robert J. Sawyer.

Liu Cixin received the 2015 Hugo Award for his novel The Three-Body Problem. Sergey Lukyanenko, despite recently attracting controversy over comments about the Ukrainian invasion, remains a figure of significance for his works such as Night Watch. Robert J. Sawyer is celebrated for works such as The Flashforward and The Oppenheimer Alternative.

Cover image via ATCHAIN

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