“The Young Companion” and modern China

First published the same year Hugo Gernsback came out with his legendary science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926, The Young Companion《良友》catered to the tastes of young middle class people, but it was also a force for social change. This fascinating article (in Big5) talks about 《良友》the “natural breast movement” 「天乳運動」 among young women in the 1920s-30s, and this sohu article (GB) discusses the fashion sense displayed in the pages of the magazine. In this pic you can see that the bobbed, flapper hairstyle we associate with the West was popular in China of the 20s also. The Young Companion is often thought of as product of Shanghai’s hybrid culture, but this article talks about its founding by a Guangdong native, Wu Lian-de (伍聯德).

 

 

 

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)

Chinese SF authors and the Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign (ASPC)

Both Ye Yonglie (葉永烈) and Zheng Wenguang (鄭文光) were “struggled” during the ASPC of the 1980s. Zheng was a Vietnamese astronomer and emigre SF author of “Pacific Ocean Man” 《太平洋人》 and Mirror Image of the Earth 《地球的鏡像》– the latter of which is about aliens who have developed an interest in the Cultural Revolution. Meanwhile Ye was singled out for ridicule in the official press for promoting “quack science,” and later condemned for writing a story in which AIDS has reached China.* In addition to Ye and Zheng, the archaeologist Tong Enzheng (童恩正)wrote very popular SF works and ran afoul of the authorities–only in Tong’s case it was a few years later, when he supported the students during the June 4th 1989 protests. Tong was a truly fascinating scholar and made a definitive contribution to Chinese SF with his highly influential personal essay “My Views on the Art of Science Fiction” (1979): 「我對科幻文藝的看法」 *

References:
*Hussman, Mikael.“Hesitant Journey to the West: SF’s Changing Fortunes in Mainland China.” Science Fiction Studies, Volume 27, #80, Pt 1 (March 2000).
* Ed. Chinese Pen. 「中国科幻为何在80年代陨落?

The strange story of the Zhong Kui

The Zhong Kui (鍾馗) story:

According to Song Dynasty sources, once the Emperor Xuanzong was gravely ill. He had a dream in which he saw two ghosts. The smaller of the ghosts stole a purse from imperial consort Yang Guifei and a flute belonging to the emperor. The larger ghost, wearing the hat of an official, captured the smaller ghost, tore out his eye and ate it. He then introduced himself as Zhong Kui. He said that he had sworn to rid the empire of evil. When the emperor awoke, he had recovered from his illness. So he commissioned the court painter Wu Daozi to produce an image of Zhong Kui to show to the officials.

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.