Ken Liu won science fiction awards for best short story

Ken Liu won science fiction awards for best short story
Ken Liu’s short story Mono No Aware wins the Hugo Award for best short story again this year.

Chinese-American writer Ken Liu has clinched a rare triple whammy by sweeping three of science fiction's most prestigious awards for best short story: the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award.

And his post-apocalyptic tale Mono No Aware (2012) has just won this year's Hugo Award for best short story.

But the 37-year-old litigation consultant has not written an actual book - yet.

The story that scored the hat trick was The Paper Menagerie (2011), a heartrending tale about the child of an interracial marriage growing up in the United States and his relationship with his mother, a mail-order bride from China.

The tale was picked to be a part of this year's Read! Singapore anthology titled Under One Sky, which explains why the author flew into town last week. He came for a series of public events in conjunction with the National Library Board's Read! Singapore initiative, which aims to encourage communal reading.

Liu has a personal connection to this island - his artist wife, Lisa Tang, was born in Singapore before moving to Hong Kong and later, the United States. But this trip marks his first to the little red dot. His excitement at encountering the city state and its literary habits is palpable and he praised a local anthology of speculative fiction, Ayam Curtain, published last year by Math Paper Press.

He says of the collection: "It's fascinating to read. The Singaporean speculative tradition is different. Singapore doesn't conceive itself as the centre of the world or the one country that's going to save the world, so there's a different tone that comes out in the way speculative fiction is done. That's refreshing to read."

Liu, who has become increasingly prolific in the past few years, has emerged as a distinct voice resisting the tide of science fiction and speculative fiction written in the usual Anglo-American tradition. For instance, Mono No Aware takes a wry dig at American dominance in popular culture: "In front of the classroom hangs a large American flag to which the children say their pledge every morning. To the sides of the American flag are two rows of smaller flags belonging to other nations."

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