Eight Chinese science fiction writers and editors won top prizes at the fourth Xingyun (nebula) Awards on Friday, with the post-80s generation consolidating its place as the main drivers of this niche literary genre in China.
The awards, which featured eight categories, honored 40 finalists including "Ether," "Ender In Exile" and "High-Speed Rail." According to the organizers, more than 30,000 public votes were received.
Chen Qiufan, 32, a Beijing-based writer and a Google employee, won the prize of best novel and best new sci-fi writer with "The Waste Tide."
The novel paints China as a conflicted nation, powerful enough to convince other countries to accept its ideologies, but not strong enough to pull its population out of poverty.
"The younger generation, which have grown up in an era witnessing the revolution of science and technology and an explosion of information, are more open to new things and are bolder to try new writing styles like science fiction," according to Chen.
Another eye-catcher among the winners is Zhao Ruirui, 32, a former member of the Chinese national women's volleyball team and an Olympic medalist, who won second prize in the best novel category with "Caiyuxia" or "Hero with Colorful Feathers."
Jiang Xiaoyuan, the competition jury president, sees the Xingyun Awards as a springboard for Chinese sci-fi writers, especially the younger generation, to gain wider recognition.
"The winners this year are mainly of the post-80s generation. They are our hope for the future," said Jiang.
"Chinese sci-fi writers are barely known worldwide, but actually original Chinese sci-fi works are definitely something to be proud of. That's the meaning of the award," he added.
Though seen as an important way to popularize science and promote imagination, science fiction remain marginalized in China, with small quantities of publications.
The annual event, the only international awards for Chinese-language sci-fi writers, was organized by the World Chinese Science Fiction Association,based in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province. It was launched in 2010.