It is an extraordinary short story, one of the best things I’ve read all year, and it’s proof positive of how rapidly China is becoming a society supercharged with creativity. I am pleased to see it received a Hugo Award for best novelette.
The author is Hao Jingfang and it’s on-line here. Did you know she is a macroeconomics researcher at a quango in Beijing? One key part of the plot and premise revolves around macroeconomic theory, here is an excerpt:
“Hard to say.” Lao Ge sipped the baijiu and let out a burp. “I suspect not. You have to understand why they went with manual processing in the first place. Back then, the situation here was similar to Europe at the end of the twentieth century. The economy was growing, but so was unemployment. Printing money didn’t solve the problem. The economy refused to obey the Phillips curve.”
He saw that Lao Dao looked completely lost, and laughed. “Never mind. You wouldn’t understand these things anyway.”
I cannot excerpt more without giving away spoilers. Definitely recommended, and for the pointer I thank Eva.