This month in Chinese SF


Science Myths, 1976-79

Below are some highlights of a monthly newsletter compiled by the World Chinese-Language Science Fiction Research Workshop. Launched with the June issue, the newsletter will be released in Chinese and English on the 20th of every month.

Rao Zhonghua, Popular Science Writer and SF Scholar, Dies

On May 18, 2010, popular science writer Rao Zhonghua (饶忠华) passed away in Shanghai due to illness. He was 79. Rao started writing about science in 1951, and in 1972 began a 14-year tenure as editor in chief of Science Pictorial (科学画报), whose record-breaking circulation topped 1 million copies.

Rao was also an editor of SF Ocean (科幻海洋) and edited the science fiction anthology Science Myths (科学神话). He interviewed Isaac Asimov, one of just a few Chinese writers to do so, and was one of the first writers to look into the origins of Chinese science fiction. Compendium of Chinese Science Fiction (中国科幻小说大全), which he edited, is a comprehensive history of Chinese SF prior to 1983 and is a valuable resource for the study of Chinese SF.

College Students to Shoot SF Film for 2,000 RMB

He Xi’s 2003 novella “The Sad One” (伤心者) is being filmed by college students at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. Maternal love and cross-temporal scientific thought form two threads that carry throughout the film, whose budget is 2,000 RMB (a longer article is available here).

Shooting DV films has been a growing trend among college students in recent years. Notable films include Qin Zheng’s Beihang Anxiety (北航惊魂, 2007), Xia Jia’s Parapax (2007), and Zhang Fanxi’s The Turbulence (湍流, 2008)

Parapax is available on Youku, as are Beihang Anxiety and its sequel, Beihang Anxiety II, which has an innovative opening credits sequence you can enjoy even if you don’t know the language.

The Turbulence is only available as a short trailer, but it’s subtitled in English and looks pretty slick.

Funding Problems for 4D Science Fiction Film Future Dinosaurs

China’s first 3D animated film, Animen (超蛙战士之初露锋芒) was released to theaters at the start of June. A “4D” science fiction film Future Dinosaurs (未来恐龙) started shooting, but it has run into funding problems after just 15 minutes made it on film. The shortfall of several million yuan has make things difficult for several start-up animation houses.

World Chinese Science Fiction Association Extends Nominations for 2010 “XINGYUN” Chinese Fantasy Awards

Member nominations have been extended until June 25. At the World Chinese Science Fiction Association Convention, which will convene in Chengdu in August, the organizing committee will announce the nominations and winners and will award prizes.

The XINGYUN prize (星云奖) awards certificates and trophies but has no cash awards. Judging is fair and impartial, and the awards are open to all Chinese-language authors, translators, and editors across the globe.

See the full newsletter for more news bites.

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