I'm really looking forward to release of Cixin Liu's The Three Body Problem. Partly because it's about invasion by space aliens (who must surely get their space lizard arses kicked, as is only right), and partly because it's a Chinese take on a very western genre.
Liu is a power plant engineer, so the science is probably going to be reasonably accurate; not that I give a shit. And it's been a genuine best seller in his home country already, so I'm guessing the story chops are the goods.
The Wall Street Journal ran some interview extracts recently, including a question about the reasons for Liu's success in the SF genre. His answer was revealing of a China we don't often think about, a modern industrial and even post industrial state emerging from thousands of years of agrarian backwardness.
Why do you think your book has generated so much interest?
It’s hard to say. I asked this same question of a person who has a lot of experience in selling books. He didn’t know either. Perhaps it’s linked to the fact that Chinese society is industrializing rapidly. Chinese people are increasingly considering the world not from the perspective of their own nation, but from the perspective of all mankind. They are concerned with the problems of all humanity. Those problems are often philosophical in nature. More and more Chinese have begun to care about where we come from, where we are now and where we are going. And they have begun to care about the fate of our planet and the entire universe. This is especially true of young Chinese.
You could say this about America, or any of the anglophone countries in the early to mid 20th Century and you would not be far wrong, I reckon.