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The Dragon and the Stars, collecting original sf/f stories from across the Chinese diaspora, and edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi, has won the Canadian Prix Aurora, for best related English book. Charles Tan has a handy page with links to online stories, where available.
Accepting the prize (from L to R): Derwin Mak, author Tony Pi, Eric Choi.
If you’re interested in finding out what’s happening in the Chinese science fiction field, you can check out Chinese Science Fiction’s latest newsletter for news. The newsletter is presented in both English and Chinese. Here’s an excerpt:
Second XINGYUN Awards
The Second XINGYUN Awards closed nominations on August 16 and commenced the voting phase on September 1. To increase exposure, voting is taking place on three websites. The awards will also conduct a “XINGYUN Forum” around the theme “Chinese SF in the Three Body Era.” A new mobile platform has been made available to handle mobile rights for World Chinese Science Fiction Association members. The awards, forum, and member convention will take place on November 12 inChengdu.
Great news and major kudos to Clarkesworld Magazine for publishing in their latest issue the short story The Fish of Lijiang by Chinese author Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu. The author will also have a new short story, “The Tomb”, in the forthcoming Apex Book of World SF 2.
Two fists are before my eyes, bright sunlight reflecting from the backs of the hands.
“Left or right?”
I see myself reaching out with a child’s finger, hesitating, and pointing to the one on the left. The fist flips, opens. Empty.
The fists disappear and reappear.
“One more chance. Left or right?”
I point to the one on the right.
“You’re sure? Want to change your mind?”
My finger hesitates in the air, waving left, then right, like a swimming fish.
“Final answer? Three … two … one.”
My finger stops on the left.
The fist flips, opens. Other than the bright sunlight, the hand is empty.
I open my eyes. The sun is bright, white, and hurts my eyes. I’ve been dozing in this Naxi-style courtyard for who knows how long. I haven’t felt this comfortable in such a long time. The sky is so fucking blue. I stretch until my bones crack.
After ten years, everything here has changed. The only thing that remains the same is the color of the sky.
Lijiang, I’m back. This time, I’m a sick man. – continue reading!
A writer in present-day China does not even have to make an effort to imagine the future, as any day-to-day record of urban China’s dramatic transformations is futuristic in itself, Han Song says.
“To be a journalist in present-day China is like inhabiting a science fiction world,” he explains.
Han, who wears several hats – those of a Xinhua journalist, blogger, science fiction writer and sci-fi historian – feels today’s China lends itself to science fiction writing like never before, being “both a pre-industrial and a post-industrial culture”.
While most mainstream literature today focuses on China’s past, sci-fi looks into the future, he says. “And in China, the future is now.”
He comes across as a self-effacing, mild-mannered guy who, given a choice, would love to spend all day burrowing into the mini mountain of sci-fi reads that keep accumulating on his desk.
The softness in his voice and deportment are quite at odds with Han’s ruthless vision of the future in which the conflicts and confusions experienced in a fast-changing culture are not only exaggerated manifold but also fraught with a deep sense of foreboding. – continue reading!
On the eve of her coronation as China’s first female ruler, Wu Zetian’s colossal Buddha statue is nearing completion when a series of mysterious events threaten to derail the empress’ rise to power. Two high-ranking officials burst into flames after inspecting the statue, leading to suspicions of foul play targeted toward the empress. On the counsel of her spiritual advisor (who takes the form of a talking deer), the empress summons legendary sleuth and martial arts expert Detective Dee out of exile in prison to solve the case. With the help of the beautiful and deadly Jing’er and albino imperial guard Pei, Dee sets out to crack the case… and crack a few skulls along the way.
Here’s the trailer – what do you think?
Coverage of the Chinese Space Programme, with some amazing artwork from the 1960s onwards!
The succesful launching of the Shenzhou V, the Divine Vessel, on 15 October 2003, withtaikonaut Yang Liwei on board, marked a giant leap forward in the Chinese space program that saw its origins in the 1960s. With this result, China joined the club of space-travelling nations that previously had been limited to the United States and the Soviet Union/Russian Federation. A previous Chinese launching , in 1970, had already brought a satellite into orbit that endlessly broadcast Dongfang hong (东方红, The East is Red), not the national anthem, but probably one of the best known Chinese tunes, eulogizing Mao Zedong. The success of this mission was solely ascribed to the genius of Mao Zedong Thought, which had guided the scientists and workers. In reality, Qian Xuesen (1911-2009), a rocket engineer formerly attached to the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, U.S., who had been expelled in the 1950s for suspected Communist sympathies, designed China’s first missiles, earning him the accolade of being the father of the space program. – continue reading and to see more art!
Little guests in the Moon Palace, early 1970s
Xujun Eberlein writes for Foreign Policy Magazine about a new Chinese SF novel that is taking China by storm.
In the euphoric Beijing of 2013, Starbucks is Chinese-owned and called “Starbucks Wangwang.” Its trademark drink is Longjing Latté, named for a famed Chinese tea. It is a place where Mr. Chen, an immigrant from Hong Kong, feels comfortable escorting a marginalized woman named Xiaoxi, the secret love of his youth. After running into Xiaoxi in a Beijing bookstore, their first encounter in many years, Mr. Chen asks her whether she had gone abroad. “No,” she replies.“No is good,” Chen nods. “As everyone says, no place is better than China nowadays.”“You are joking,” Xiaoxi says.Her sullen mood seems at odds with the jubilant crowd around them. As she suddenly departs, he notices two men smoking nearby who have been following her.So opens an early scene from The Prosperous Time: China 2013, a hotly controversial Chinese science-fiction novel. Written by 58-year-old Hong Kong novelist Chen Guanzhong, who has lived and worked in Beijing for much of his life, China 2013 presents an ambivalent vision of China’s near future: outwardly triumphant (a Chinese company has even bought out Starbucks), and yet tightly controlled. There is a mood of mounting tension, here evident as a woman with dissenting thoughts is followed by secret police.The novel, first published in Hong Kong in late 2009, caused quite a stir on Chinese websites early this year. For instance, Hecaitou, one of the most influential bloggers in the country, wrote in January that the book “once and for fall settles the majority of Internet quarrels” on what China’s tomorrow will be like. At the time, the book was only available in Hong Kong. But after interest grew apace in Chinese cyberspace, the author himself “pirated” his rights from his own publisher in Hong Kong to let Chinese mainlanders read it online for free. Since February, numerous digital versions of the novel have circulated and sparked heated discussions on the Chinese Internet. – continue reading.
The Chinese Science Fiction Newsletter reports that SF author Wang Guozhong has passed away:
Wang Guozhong, former director of the Shanghai Publication Bureau, head of the Research Institute of Culture and History, and author of the science fiction story “Black Dragon Goes Missing” died at the age of 83. Black Dragon Goes Missing was the most important SF collection of the 1960s, and the criticism its content drew from the Japanese government made it the internationally controversial work in the history of Chinese SF. Wang was a lead planner and editor of the popular science series A Hundred Thousand Whys, which occupies a pivotal position in the history of Chinese popular science writing.
former director of the Shanghai Publication Bureau, head of the Research Institute of Culture and History, and author of the science fiction story “Black Dragon Goes Missing” died at the age of 83. Black Dragon Goes Missing was the most important SF collection of the 1960s, and the criticism its content drew from the Japanese government made it the internationally controversial work in the history of Chinese SF. Wang was a lead planner and editor of the popular science series A Hundred Thousand Whys, which occupies a pivotal position in the history of Chinese popular science writing.
Congratulations to Apex Book of World SF contributor, Han Song, for winning the best short story award!
2009 SKY AWARD WINNERS (via Feng Zhang and sfawardwatch.com):
- Best Fiction Long Form in 2009: Once upon a Time in Shanghai, JIANG Nan (Volumes Publishing Company)
- Best Fiction Short Form in 2009: “Dark Room”, HAN Song (New Realms of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jun 2009)
- Most Popular Translated Fiction in 2009: The Girl Who Leapt through Time, Yasutaka Tsutsui, trans. by DING Dingchong (from The Girl Who Leapt through Time, Shanghai Translation Publishing House)
- Special Contribution Award: Odyssey of China Fantasy – a SF/F magazine