Monkeys of Mayhem

In March we saw a big brawl between two rival gangs of monkeys in Lop Buri, Thailand, and then their  final take over of the town. Then, in June, came a life sentence for Kalua, the alcoholic Indian monkey who terrorized  over 250 pedestrians and will be spending the rest of his days in solitary confinement. According to the reports:

Local authorities said Kalua was formerly owned by an “occultist” who routinely supplied him liquor to drink, which turned him into an alcoholic. They said the monkey became very aggressive three years ago when his owner died and left him no avenue to acquire more alcohol.

Can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, and wonder why he didn’t join a monkey gang if he wanted to raise so much hell? The Lop Buri story reminds me of that Strugatsky novel “Doomed City”, where:
Could it be another portent of some kind?

 

Identity politics, artistic autonomy, and a disappearing SF Story

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

It all began with a silly, transphobic meme [image right]…Then came the story, “I sexually identify as an Attack Helicopter,” which first appeared in Clarkesworld (Jan 2020 issue), but caused a huff among certain hypersensitive readers who claimed it was insincere, … Continue reading

Tang Fei in English w/links

Tang Fei (糖匪) is one of the more interesting of the Chinese New Wave SF authors in that her work frequently crosses genres and seems, to this reader at least, to be closer to slipstream fiction than SF.

《黄色故事》”Call Girl” Trans by Ken Liu 2013 @ Apex, The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014(Rich Horton ed.)
《蒲蒲》”Pepe” Trans by John Chu 2014 @ Clarkesworld, Apex best of the year reprint Vol 4
《宇宙哀歌》”A Universal Elegy” Trans by John Chu 2015 @ Clarkesworld
《碎星星》”Broken Stars” Trans by Ken Liu 2016 @ SQ
《自由之路》”The Path to Freedom“, Trans by Christine Ni 2016 @ paper-republic
《看见鲸鱼座的人》”The Person Who Saw Cetus” 2017 @ Clarkesworld, and the Chinese version

Serious Soviet Stuff

Currently working on a conference paper on ‘Weird fiction’ that I’ll present in March andran across a lot of interesting stuff related to Soviet Union (unrelated to my topic). First was an interesting AV club sketch about the Zone trope in science fiction, from whence I wound up reading an old (2014) Slate article on the real Stalker subculture that has grown up around Chernobyl since the disaster. There’s a lot of hype around the recent HBO series “Chernobyl,” and of course The New Yorker weighs in. Somehow ended up reading a post about an artist who imagines Barbie and Ken as a Soviet couple living in the past…Good old nostalgia is everywhere.

In other national literatures, excited that in a couple of weeks I’ll get to teach this Toh Enjoe story, “Harlequin’s Butterfly.” Currently reading The Woman in the Dunes (1961) by Kobo Abe and it has a similar vibe. Not very familiar with Abe’s work but I ran across the novel on this very good list of 100 Weird and Strange books and it seemed really interesting.

Chinese sf stories from Clarkesworld: 2014-15


Xia Jia “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler,” trans. Ken Liu (Nov 2015).
Liu Cixin “Another Word: Chinese SF and Chinese Reality,” trans. Ken Liu (Nov 2015)
Han Song “Security Check,” trans. Ken Liu (Aug 2015)
Chen Qiufan “Coming of the Light,” trans. Ken Liu (Mar 2015)
Zhang Ran “Ether,” trans. several (Jan 2015)
Xia Jia “Tongtong’s Summer,” trans. Ken Liu (Dec 2014)
Xia Jia “Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy,” trans. Ken Liu (Sep 2014)
Cheng Jingbo “Grave of the Fireflies,” trans.Ken Liu (Jan 2014)

Chen Qiufan Links / 网路上的陈楸帆 (ongoing)

Just some Chen links that are worth noting:

 

Note: I’ll continue to update this as time permits.

Chen Qiufan: “Science Fiction is the Height of Realism”

Holy cows, in this interview  the author exactly affirms what I claim in my paper…Excerpt:

陈楸帆:科幻是最大的现实主义”
2015-09-10 鈦媒體
陳楸帆屬於前者,他在自我剖析時說:「雖然我創作資歷尚淺,但是通過有意識的回顧,在自覺與不自覺間,我發現在創作里確實貫穿著這樣的一個母題/主題/意象:異化。」他所稱的異化包括了生物上的變形、疾病或變異;心理學上的疏離扭曲、分裂;社會體系/人際結構上的隔離、對立、變遷。比較鮮明的作品包括:《墳》(2004)、《麗江的魚兒們》(2006)、《深瞳》(2006)、《遞歸之人》(2007)、《第七願望》(2007)、《雙擊》(2009)、《鼠年》(2009)、《喪屍》(2009)、《開竅》(2011)等。這些都是通過技術變革作為其誘因或結果出現,屬於比較明顯的「異化」母題。

「事實上這也是我對科幻小說這個文類鍾情的原因,可以從一個極端真實的語境出發,通過可理解的/邏輯自洽的條件外延及思想實驗,將文本中的情節/人物推向一個極端超現實的境地,從而帶來一種驚異感及陌生化效果。」在陳楸帆看來,當代(或近未來)中國這個大背景下,本身就是一片異化的最佳試驗田,即使遭遇發表坎坷,他也執著地堅持思考、體驗、和書寫中國科幻故事的緣由。

Another interview with Chen: “何平访谈陈楸帆 :它是面向未来的一种文学

Chen Qiufan and Stan Lee

As i’m tweaking my paper for the fast approaching ACCL conference in Changsha I’ve run across a lot of interesting things on Chen Qiufan (陈楸帆, whose work I’m writing about), with perhaps the most intriguing being this (uncredited) image of the author posing in shades with the legendary Stan Lee.