This time last year, I launched my book “From Kuan Yin to Chairman Mao: An Essential Guide to Chinese Deities” in the UK. Vivian Ni, the wonderful manager of Guanghwa in London, my bookshop of choice for the launch, wrote a lovely article for the occasion of Qi Xi, which she published on WeChat. I liked it so much that this year, I have translated it into English to share with my English-language readers on the same occasion of Qi Xi. The article contains a brief interview with me, I hope you enjoy it.
Posted in Culture and tagged book, china, Chinese, culture, deities, festival, gods, interview, literature, Qi Qiao, Qi Xi, tradition, Valentine's
In the 18th and 19th centuries, when exploration was a hobby of the British upper classes, you’d regularly hear about the discovery of Brand New Civilizations — as though indigenous people’s generational histories did not pop into existence until someone with a pith helmet and a camera stumbled into the clearing. I had my own “Dr. Livingstone Presuming” moment this week, when I began to read headlines in such stalwarts of the British press as the Financial Times (as well as digital newcomers like The Verge) stating that the just-released film adaptation of The Wandering Earthmarked China’s first tentative foray into sci-fi cinema, before scuttling back and forth between comparisons with contemporary American blockbusters and classic American sci-fi quicker than you can say “White Gaze Genesis.”
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, culture, film, Kehuan, literature, representation, science fiction, Wandering Earth
Jin Yong, one of the greatest Chinese writers of the twentieth century, passed away earlier this week on Tuesday the 30th of October. Aged 94, he died of organ failure after battling long-term illness, at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, culture, Jin Yong, literature, novel, Wuxia
Recently numerous friends on social media have pointed out to me the shockingly underinformed or dubious ways in which the Chinese arts have been represented in the Western media. I have been impressed by your astuteness and I thank you for your kindness.
Posted in Commentary and tagged animation, arts, china, Chinese culture, comics, commentary, film, literature, novel, representation, science fiction
In the 7th century, the monk Xuanzang traveled from the capital of China to the middle of India. He journeyed through hundreds of states and countries, over 17 years and brought back 657 sutras. He recounted his experiences to the imperial court, and these were transcribed as Records of Western Regions Visited During the Great Tang. Xuanzang’s disciples / then wrote his biography, embellishing it with encounters and examples of Buddhist teaching. In the same way that any story told often enough begins to grow, the story of Xuanzang’s journey to the west would become the stuff of legends.
Posted in Blog2 and tagged china, Chinese, culture, Journey to the West, literature, Monkey King, talk
When I heard that Jin Yong’s Wuxia classic “The Condor Heroes” was being published in English, (translated by Anna Holmwood, and first volume released earlier this year), I was delighted. As a Chinese cultural commentator, I was happy to read the articles that this publication had generated, even by the old white academics who seem to have recently discovered the existence of Wuxia. One article however, did leave me mulling the content. In its use of journalistic shorthand, Vanessa Thorpe’s article in The Guardian a few weeks ago, described Jin Yong as being “China’s Tolkien”. Whilst I understand the reasoning for this, I feel that she’s missed the mark. In terms of story, character, genre, not to mention cultural significance, the world of “Condor Heroes” can be more appropriately described as China’s Star Wars.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, culture, literature, novel, wuxi
Our penultimate post is about popular Chinese fiction of the ghostly, grave-robbing kind. We are thrilled to post this piece by writer and translator Xueting Christine Ni, who is currently working with the fantasy and science fiction author Tang Fei, and writing a book on Chinese deities. Having studied English literature in London, and Chinese literature in Beijing, she is now based mainly in the UK.
As a writer on Chinese culture, specialising in pop culture, I’m often asked about genre fiction. “Do the Chinese do science fiction?” or “Does China have Horror?” Over the last two decades or so, Chinese pop culture has grown exponentially. Economic growth and relative political stability have allowed writers and artists the space to let their imagination run free and to create in readers a taste for such entertainment and variety.
Posted in Culture and tagged books, china, Chinese, comic, culture, film, ghost story, horror, literature, novel, tomb raiding, translation
written by Tang Fei, translated by Xueting Christine Ni
“Imagining the worst tomorrow makes me happy.
The gloom of the future lights my path.”
Posted in Translation and tagged china, Chinese, horror, literature, science fiction, translation
An open letter from Li Zhaoxin, (SF Rabbit), founder of of SFComet, translated by Xueting Christine Ni
Posted in Commentary and tagged books, china, Chinese, culture, interview, literature, science fiction
In honour of World Zombie Day 2014, I wrote about the China’s traditional monster of the undead, which I have revised and updated for Ghost Month 2021. You might know these are the “hopping vampires” (a misnomer that I shall address in this article). The proper name for them is Jiangshi, and in fact, they had lived in the Chinese fictional imagination for 900 years before the movies.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, culture, film, horror, Jiang Shi, literature, movie, zombie