CIXIN LIU is the most prolific and popular science fiction writer in the People's Republic of China. Liu is an eight-time winner of the Galaxy Award (the Chinese Hugo) and a winner of the Chinese Nebula Award. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked as an engineer in a power plant. Translator JOEL MARTINSEN is the managing editor of Danwei.org, a blog about Chinese media. His translation of an excerpt of Cixin Liu's Ball Lightning appeared in Words Without Borders.