Having explored in the first three articles of this mini-series, deadly demons, friendly fiends, gorgeous ghouls and saucy spooks in Chinese supernatural lore, I come to the mythical monsters.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, creatures, culture, horror, monsters, mythical, myths, supernatural
A while ago, I was given this beautiful old cabinet originally used for holding Traditional Chinese Medicines, so that I can store all the varieties of my loose leaf tea collection. Each of these many rows of small draws have the names of a herb carved onto it. Before I put my leaves into it, I thought it would be interesting to find out a little about each of these herbs.
Posted in Culture and tagged cabinet, china, Chinese, culture, herbs, medicine, TCM, tea, traditional medicine
I have always maintained that diverse writers must be included in the main discourse of subject matters, rather than seconded into special interest groups, thus making them feel like oddities, rather than fully part of the community. It was with this in mind that I was so pleased to be invited to FanfiAddict’s author livestream on How SFF is Changing, which put me on a panel with a wonderful selection of authors from very different backgrounds, all writing about and working in different styles, content and traditions. There were a few points in the discussion I did not get to address at the time, or may not have been concise on, and thought I would take the opportunity to expand on them here.
Posted in Commentary, Culture and tagged Asian, china, commentary, diversity, fantasy, fiction, literature, livestream, mythology, representation, SFF
I love speaking at conventions. This whole career as a sinologist started with talks to anime crowds about the films, foods, myth and music of China. In the midst of the buzz around my upcoming collection, Sinophagia, I was excited to be included on the panel of “Horror and Identity” as part of this year’s Flight of Foundry, especially with such a diverse collection of fellow guests to talk about the genre, and how our lived experiences and outlooks informed it.
Posted in Culture, Translation and tagged china, Chinese, fiction, genre, horror, identity, literature, SFF, translation
There’s something a little odd about using family terms to refer to romantic relationships, but with the current popularity of Tencent’s hit show Nothing But You, about a young tennis player developing feelings for his older female manager, everyone seems to be talking about 姐弟恋, jiedi lian (Older Sister/Younger Brother Romance). Even the regular handful of Anglophone China watchers are now talking about the phenomenon of older women dating younger men, and the ‘normalisation’ of it in Chinese media. Whilst the sub-genre has proliferated over the last few years (some of the most popular include Mango TV’s A Rational life and IQiyi’s Dr Appledog’s Time, both released in 2021), shows about career-oriented women dating younger men have in fact, been a thing in contemporary Chinese storytelling since at least the middle of the last decade.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, feminism, gender, marriage, relationship, romance, SFF, society, sub-genre
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article highlighting some of China’s female science fiction writers . It is a well-known fact that women in the SF community have been heavily overlooked in China, where a hard-science-heavy tradition took root in the genre’s first ‘golden age’ of the 1950s, which in itself was a continuation of a nation-building role for sci-fi that could be traced all the way back to the beginning of the century. Although women have been active contributors to the genre since at least the 1970s, with writers such as Zhang Jing and Ji Wei, their inclination, or perceived inclination to write ‘soft science fiction’, meant they have not been as visible as male writers in previous eras. In the twenty-first century however, kēhuàn (Hanyu for sci-fi) has diversified as a genre, branching off into more character driven fiction, which integrates science with story, shifting away from works that centrally focused on science theory or concepts.
Posted in Commentary, Culture, Translation and tagged china, Chinese, culture, equality, feminism, fiction, literature, science fiction, SF, SFF, women's writing
Spring Festival planning actually starts as Christmas ends. That sad moment of shoving carefully boxed Christmas trees and garlands in the loft offset with bringing down another box, labelled “CNY DECS”. This box isn’t opened up immediately though, there’s a lot of real life things that need to happen, including cleaning and writing the inevitable articles for media who suddenly remember Chinese people exist. The box sits in a corner for a few weeks, saving us the effort of having to head to the loft a second time, but also taking the edge off the January blues, until we open it on Xiaonian.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture, customs, Spring Festival, tradition
Beyond “Made in China” being stamped on almost every toy under the tree, you wouldn’t really consider the impact of Christmas as a festival in China, indeed my childhood was almost entirely Christmas-free.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, christmas, culture, customs, festival, tradition, winter
I had the pleasure of being invited, along with three other wonderful guests, to be part of the Chinese Science Fiction in The Digital Age series of talks and forums held by the Hong Kong Metropolitan University. It was well received, with many enthusiastic questions from the students. And I have translated my short talk into English for Anglophone readers who are interested in the topic.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, digital, digital age, fiction, global, panel, publishing, Sci-Fi, science fiction, SF, talk
The end of this week sees China’s second biggest traditional festival. 中秋节 Zhōngqiū Jié, or in English, Middle Autumn Festival. You may also hear it referred to as Moon, or mooncake Festival. Veneration of the moon goes back a long way in Chinese history, with offerings of food, fruits and wine on household altars, moon appreciation rituals, and of course, moon cakes (月饼 yuèbing). It is of course this foody aspect of the festival that has truly gone global in the 21st century.
Posted in Culture and tagged cakes, china, Chinese, cuisine, dessert, food, history, mid-autumn festival, moon cakes, Moon Festival