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
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
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
A type of Cdrama and film that has been very popular over the last decade, is the Tang Dynasty mystery, tales of detection, court intrigue and crime solving adapted from novels by well-known writers of the 21st century, yet set in ancient China. One reason for the current focus on Tang Dynasty culture, is that China is once again at an economic and cultural peak, recalling its greatest gold age in history. One key figure that immortalised this perfect combination of the Tang setting and tale of mystery, is Di Renjie.
Posted in Commentary, Culture and tagged china, Chinese, crime fiction, culture, detective fiction, Di Renjie, fiction, film, Gong An, Judge Dee, novels, Robert Van Gulik
Cdrama now enjoys a global following, and one of the most popular shows at the moment is Tencent’s A Dream of Splendour (directed by Liu Yang and staring Liu Yifei, Chen Xiao, Liu Yan and Lin Yun), a historical fiction series set in dynastic China. Unlike a lot of other cdrama which are based on contemporary novels, this series has been inspired by a 13th century opera of Guan Hanqing, one Yuan Dynasty’s best-loved playwright, 赵盼儿风月救风尘 (zhào pàn’ér fēngyuè jiù fēngchén), Zhao Pan’Er Courageously Saves A Lady of the Night. Instead of outlaws, notables and royalty, the frequent subjects of a lot of other historical fiction, it tells the tale of three ordinary women surviving the hardships of life through their resourcefulness and friendship, eventually turning a small teahouse into a very successful restaurant.
Posted in Culture and tagged A Dream of Splendour, Cdrama, china, Chinese, culture, fiction, literature, opera, plays, playwright, Yuan Dynasty
On July the 3rd 2022, renowned writer Ni Kuang, passed away, aged 87. He was one of the most popular modern classic Sinophone writers.
Posted in Commentary and tagged books, Chinese, culture, fiction, Ni Kuang, novel, orbituary, science fiction, Sinophone, Wisely, writer, writing, Wuxia
It’s International Women’s Day and also the publication day of Tordotcom’s The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation (ed. Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang). As a collection that spotlights contemporary SFF by women and non-binary writers, I thought it would be appropriate to contribute an essay on the story of the amazing growth and diversification of China’s female web literature output.
Posted in Blog2, Culture and tagged books, china, Chinese, culture, fiction, literature, novels, online literature, publishing, SFF, web novels
Despite Covid restrictions, I returned this year to convention life, at least virtually, as a guest at EasterCon, and in an event driven to digital by a global pandemic, it couldn’t have been more appropriate to talk about how all this has affected science fiction and fantasy works. The hour-long panel featured myself, along with the editor and authors of New Con Press. There was a lot to talk about in the one-hour slot, and with so many of us having lived near hermit like existences for the last few months, personal take-aways from lockdown becoming a central topic for some of the more loquacious guests, and there were so many points that were left unexplored.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, culture, fiction, literature, outbreak, pandemic, science fiction, SF in Translation, SFF, society, translated, virus