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 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.