Title: What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear
Author: Bao Shu (translated by Ken Liu)
Published in: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Publication Date: March/April 2015
Description, by Lois Tilton [Locus]: "It’s an idea story, the idea being Time and its direction. We begin four years before the year of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which two small children witness with joy and wonder. They are Xie Baosheng, our narrator, and his lifelong love Qiqi. But first, Xie tells us he was born on a portentous day, when “some suggested the Earth was passing through the galactic plane; still others claimed that the universe was starting to collapse.” Readers should keep this in mind. It’s a time of prosperity and hope; Xie’s father makes a good living with computers; there are high-def screens where kids can play cool games. But then, slowly and inexorably, things fall apart. Readers may first get the idea when the SARS epidemic strikes. Or when Saddam drives the Americans out of Iraq. Or when the LCD screens are replaced by cathode ray tube monitors. History has started to run backwards. Perhaps the most dominant impression here is how the condition of Chinese society [today], relative to what came before, is seen as fortunate; Xie looks back on his childhood as an idyllic time before events came to blight his life...."