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Chinese science fiction: A podcast and reading list

The latest Sinica podcast is up: Science Fiction in China.

The podcast is hosted on Chinese learning website PopUp Chinese, presented by Kaiser Kuo, with guests Gady Epstein of Forbes magazine and Danwei's Joel Martinsen.

They are joined by author Chen Qiufan (陈楸帆, who also goes by Stanley Chan). Chen began writing science fiction while still in school and won awards for several early stories. His novel The Abyss of Vision (深瞳), a supernatural-tinged SF mystery, was published as part of Science Fiction World's Nebula series of original domestic science fiction in 2006. His story "The Cave on Ningchuan" (甯川洞记), written in classical Chinese, won the Green Dragon prize at the 2005 Taiwan Fantasy Art Awards, and his language experimentation continued this year with a Cantonese-language story that appeared alongside an interview in the January issue of Hong Kong's LIME magazine. In the podcast, he mentions that one of his stories was translated into Italian: "The Tomb" (坟), a horror-flavored short that was published in SFW in 2004, appears in Alia 6. Chen keeps a Sina microblog.

Other Chinese science fiction resources:

As mentioned in the podcast, short stories by Yang Ping and Han Song are included in the Apex Book of World SF (Apex, 2009), edited by Lavie Tidhar, whose 2003 article for the Internet Review of Science Fiction, Science Fiction, Globalization, and the People's Republic of China, is an informative look at the themes and questions that have concerned Chinese science fiction (SF) in the reform era. Tidhar also interviewed Chinese SF author and critic Wu Yan for the Internet Review of Science Fiction in A Bull in a China Shop on the Moon.

Wu Yan, Janice M. Bogstad, and Wang Pengfei are the authors of Science Fiction in China, published in the May 2010 "International Science Fiction" issue of World Literature Today. It's thick with names and tantalizing titles, but still provides a readable "'snapshot' of what's happening in China," to quote from the introduction.

Liu Cixin's Three Body trilogy, mentioned in the podcast, has not been translated, but the first few chapters of an earlier novel, Ball Lightning (球状闪电), are available at Paper Republic.

Further English-language resources on Chinese SF, including a (short) index of translations, is available on a list on Douban. The list was drawn up by SanFeng, who is an editor of the fan e-zine New Realm (新幻界, blog); see this mission statement for more information. SanFeng is also one of the organizers of the fan-run Sky Awards, which has a long list translated here.

And the World Chinese-Language Science Fiction Research Workshop (ChineseSciFi.org), brings together academics studying Chinese SF. It's run by Li Guangyi, who recently asked What Does China Imagine? at The China Beat.

Danwei's interest in Chinese SF goes back to 2004, when we interviewed the editor of a short-lived new magazine, SF Story.

Danwei's Joel Martinsen has translated blog posts by Han Song, including a vision of the Tibet railway and a summary of Chinese SF stories concerning the moon. More recently, Danwei provided extensive coverage of the coup at Science Fiction World magazine. Joel also blogs about Chinese SF on Twelve Hours Later, whose latest post looks at five stories narrated by reporters.

Other SF-related posts on Danwei include China's vital role in Chinese science fiction, an anecdote from a publisher, and Science fiction fantasies of Shanghai, Jeffrey Wasserstrom's discussion of a few Qing-dynasty SF tales.

Update (2010.06.17): The World SF News Blog has a range of China-related posts, including interviews with Wu Yan and Han Song and a brief rundown of 30 years of Science Fiction World by Sherry Yao, one of the magazine's editors.

There are currently 2 Comments for Chinese science fiction: A podcast and reading list.

Comments on Chinese science fiction: A podcast and reading list

Hi, I first heard about DANWEI was from my classmate, we are immigrate in Canada, and studied English in Canada, but we like talk about something releated to China, including your website, DANWEI is a very creative idea. I really appreciated your website's attitude which is eager to know China and join it. Not like us, even though we live in Canada, we often talked about China, so this is the reason why we cannot learn English very well.

Wang Xiaobo wrote a great Sci-fi Novella. It is called 2011 or something like that...

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