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
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Waste Tide is science fiction of the very near future, grappling with the problems of globalization and environmental degradation that are already upon us. The story is set in and around China’s Silicon Isle, the end of the line for the world’s electronic waste and the center of a booming economy fueled by recycling. A delicate balance of clan politics maintains the status quo of an oppressive system, but a group of displaced characters—including a young migrant worker, Mimi, and a well-intentioned Chinese American translator—is about to blow things up. Chen Qiufan’s parable is imaginative and all the more haunting for being rooted in reality.
Anglophone readers will cherish the opportunity to experience Chen's sweeping, complex, and deeply emotional near-future dystopian vision via this thoughtful rendition by Hugo-winning translator and author Liu that maintains the story's essential Chinese character. Guangdong Province's environmentally devastated Silicon Isle, ruled by three powerful clans, is the destination for the electronic garbage created by a world addicted to body enhancements. The rubbish is processed in hellish conditions by the migrant workers considered by the rich natives to be subhuman "waste people." Chen Kaizong, a Silicon Isle born but America-trained translator, reconnects to his heritage and clan family while accompanying Scott Brandle, a visiting representative of TerraGreen Recycling, which wants to automate the process. Meanwhile, waste girl Mimi, on the run from the henchmen of the Luo clan after having been connected to the mysterious illness of the clan leader's grandson, becomes the central figure in a rising rebellion. Liu's careful handling of multiple Sinitic languages, as well as naming conventions that connect to class, education, and geographical origin, maintains the flavor of the setting and preserves the integrity of Chen's focus on interacting subcultures and the social opportunities available to those capable of linguistic code switching. 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.