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Waste Tide

Waste Tide

Chen Qiufan; translated by Ken Liu

Tor Books

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Award-winning author Chen Qiufan's Waste Tide is a thought-provoking vision of the future.

Translated by Ken Liu, who brought Cixin Liu's Hugo Award-winning The Three Body Problem to English-speaking readers.

Mimi is drowning in the world's trash.

She’s a waste worker on Silicon Isle, where electronics -- from cell phones and laptops to bots and bionic limbs — are sent to be recycled. These amass in towering heaps, polluting every spare inch of land. On this island off the coast of China, the fruits of capitalism and consumer culture come to a toxic end.

Mimi and thousands of migrant waste workers like her are lured to Silicon Isle with the promise of steady work and a better life. They're the lifeblood of the island’s economy, but are at the mercy of those in power.

A storm is brewing, between ruthless local gangs, warring for control. Ecoterrorists, set on toppling the status quo. American investors, hungry for profit. And a Chinese-American interpreter, searching for his roots.

As these forces collide, a war erupts -- between the rich and the poor; between tradition and modern ambition; between humanity’s past and its future.

Mimi, and others like her, must decide if they will remain pawns in this war or change the rules of the game altogether.


"An accomplished eco-techno-thriller with heart and soul as well as brain. Chen Qiufan is an astute observer, both of the present world and of the future that the next generation is in danger of inheriting." – David Mitchell, New York T… More…

Award-winning author Chen Qiufan's Waste Tide is a thought-provoking vision of the future.

Translated by Ken Liu, who brought Cixin Liu's Hugo Award-winning The Three Body Problem to English-speaking readers.

Mimi is drowning in the world's trash.

She’s a waste worker on Silicon Isle, where electronics -- from cell phones and laptops to bots and bionic limbs — are sent to be recycled. These amass in towering heaps, polluting every spare inch of land. On this island off the coast of China, the fruits of capitalism and consumer culture come to a toxic end.

Mimi and thousands of migrant waste workers like her are lured to Silicon Isle with the promise of steady work and a better life. They're the lifeblood of the island’s economy, but are at the mercy of those in power.

A storm is brewing, between ruthless local gangs, warring for control. Ecoterrorists, set on toppling the status quo. American investors, hungry for profit. And a Chinese-American interpreter, searching for his roots.

As these forces collide, a war erupts -- between the rich and the poor; between tradition and modern ambition; between humanity’s past and its future.

Mimi, and others like her, must decide if they will remain pawns in this war or change the rules of the game altogether.


"An accomplished eco-techno-thriller with heart and soul as well as brain. Chen Qiufan is an astute observer, both of the present world and of the future that the next generation is in danger of inheriting." – David Mitchell, New York Times bestselling author of Cloud Atlas

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The fine, handcrafted wooden model of the junk at the center of the glass display case glistened with the reddish-brown varnish intended to give it an antique air. There was no holographic scene around it; instead, the background...

Praise for Waste Tide

"Something startlingly new... an action-packed story that's full of moral complexity. This is the futuristic vision that everybody needs right now." —Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky

"An accomplished eco-techno-thriller with heart and soul as well as brain. Chen Qiufan is an astute observer, both of the present world and of the future that the next generation is in danger of inheriting." – David Mitchell, New York Times bestselling author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks

The pinnacle of near-future science fiction.” —Cixin Liu, Hugo Award-winning author of The Three Body Problem

"Readers will cherish the opportunity to experience Chen’s sweeping, complex, and deeply emotionalnear-future dystopian vision via this thoughtful rendition by Hugo-winning translator and author Liu... Chen’s story is extremely relevant to the current moment of throwaway culture, increasing income disparity, and technological advances progressing at such a rate that morality and ethics have trouble keeping up. Readers who crave gorgeous imagery and a thrilling narrative that also explicitly wrestles with big questions will be overjoyed." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"Chen weaves a stunning tale of greed and deftly exposes all the hidden contours of the human heart." —Maggie Shen King, author of An Excess Male

“Filled with wonderful invention, compelling characters and a whirlpool of story, Waste Tide is an urgently-needed, thought-provo… More…



"Something startlingly new... an action-packed story that's full of moral complexity. This is the futuristic vision that everybody needs right now." —Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky

"An accomplished eco-techno-thriller with heart and soul as well as brain. Chen Qiufan is an astute observer, both of the present world and of the future that the next generation is in danger of inheriting." – David Mitchell, New York Times bestselling author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks

The pinnacle of near-future science fiction.” —Cixin Liu, Hugo Award-winning author of The Three Body Problem

"Readers will cherish the opportunity to experience Chen’s sweeping, complex, and deeply emotionalnear-future dystopian vision via this thoughtful rendition by Hugo-winning translator and author Liu... Chen’s story is extremely relevant to the current moment of throwaway culture, increasing income disparity, and technological advances progressing at such a rate that morality and ethics have trouble keeping up. Readers who crave gorgeous imagery and a thrilling narrative that also explicitly wrestles with big questions will be overjoyed." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"Chen weaves a stunning tale of greed and deftly exposes all the hidden contours of the human heart." —Maggie Shen King, author of An Excess Male

“Filled with wonderful invention, compelling characters and a whirlpool of story, Waste Tide is an urgently-needed, thought-provoking wild ride of a novel. I couldn’t put it down.” – Lavie Tidhar, author of Central Station

"A sci-fi blockbuster with mob bosses, robots and a powerful virus...downright prescient" —Shelf Awareness

“A hard-hitting, uncompromising look at the near future” —Adrian Tchaikovsky

"Viscerally gripping action... sheer excellence."Kirkus (starred review)

"Already an award winner in China, this book is likely to draw comparisons to Cixin Liu's The Three Body Problem and Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140 and is a provocative addition to the growing corpus of Chinese speculative fiction and near-future and realist sf as a whole." —Library Journal

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Reviews from Goodreads

Chen Qiufan; translated by Ken Liu

Chen Qiufan is an award-winning science fiction writer. He grew up near Guiyu, China, home to the world’s largest e-waste recycling center, an area the UN called an “environmental calamity.” His experiences there inspired the Waste Tide. He currently lives in Shanghai and Beijing and works as the founder of Thema Mundi Studio.


Ken Liu (translator) is the author of The Grace of Kings and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories.

image of Chen Qiufano
Zaojiu

Meet the Author

April 30, 2019

Meet award-winning science fiction author Chen Qiufan as he discusses his latest novel, Waste Tide.

READ THE FULL EXCERPT →

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