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China's Hugo award-winning sci-fi story is eerily real for some Beijingers – Quartz

A young Chinese author just beat Stephen King in the prestigious Hugo Awards for science fiction.

At this year’s World Science Fiction Convention in Missouri, 32-year-old author Hao Jingfang’s story Folding Beijing won the Hugo Award for “Best Novelette”—a prize for which Stephen King’s Obits had also been nominated. In Folding Beijing, China’s capital is divided into three different physical layers for the elite, middle class and underclass. And although it’s sci-fi, the story hits close to home for some Beijingers.

Hugo Award Best Novelette winner Hao Jingfang
Hao Jingfang holding the trophy. (Sina Weibo)

In this dystopian story, the three social classes cannot travel between layers, and rarely interact. They are further separated by time: Each class is awake at different times during the 48-hour-day, and the underclass of laborers is only allowed to be awake for eight hours at night.

The protagonist is…

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