This month in Chinese science fiction


Lu Yang (绿杨), 1934-2010

Below are some highlights of the October edition of a monthly newsletter compiled by the World Chinese-Language Science Fiction Research Workshop.

Flashy and Trendy: When SF meets “Get It Louder”

On the evening of September 20, Han Song and Fei Dao attended the opening ceremony of the third Get It Louder Festival in Beijing. The large-scale exhibition of fashion, design, pop culture, art, and literature attracted large numbers of young people, and for the first time featured a science fiction roundtable. On October 8, Pan Haitian was the featured writer in a “Black Box: Literature on the Spot” performance art piece. He was sequestered in a cubicle for two hours, and spectators were able to view him and his work-in-progress on monitors outside. On October 9, Han Song, Fei Dao, and Pan Haitian were panelists for a discussion on the subject “Science Fiction: Negotiating the Future,” held at Sanlitun Soho in Beijing. They discussed creativity, how developments in science and technology affect their writing, and how science fiction affects society.

Noted Science Fiction Author Lu Yang Dies

Lu Yang (绿杨), a well-known Chinese science fiction author, passed away in Hefei at 5:17 on October 17, 2010. Lu Yang (meaning “Green Poplar”) was born Li Jukang in Shanghai in 1934 to a family from Panyu, Guangdong Province. He was a doctor by profession. After publishing his first work in Science Literature and Arts in 1979, he threw himself into writing and became one of the few writers to emerge from two successive boom-bust cycles and continue writing. In the 1980s, he published science fiction under the pseudonyms “Albatross” and “Green Poplar,” and in the 90s, he published the “Luvenchy” (鲁文基) series of stories in Science Fiction World. He subsequently made the jump to novels, writing Adventures of the Gemini, Genetic Ghost, and Angels’ End, which influenced a generation of readers and illustrated an old SF author’s stubborn faith in scientific progress. An authorized online archive of some of Lu’s shorter work can be found here.

Dust Settles on March 21 Incident

On September 26, Science Fiction World president and general editor Li Chang was removed from his positions, putting a final end to the affair that started half a year ago with an open letter from SFW editors calling for him to be sacked. A number of editors resigned during the incident, and as older editors have moved on to positions in other organizations, there has basically been a turnover in the SFW editorial staff. The affair and its aftershocks will likely continue to influence the activities and environment of science fiction publishing in China for at least several years.

Alternative SF: Stories of New Concept Cars Published

The Fantastic Journey of Leaf’s Car (“叶子”车的奇幻之旅), Da Shixin’s collection of stories about concept cars, will be published by Shanghai Education Publishing House. The stories contain a mixture of elements from science fiction, adventure, journalism, and animation. The title story was commissioned by the SAIC to accompany a concept car shown at the Shanghai Expo. A short introduction to the collection has not led to high expectations from online commentators, for whom the book’s only interesting aspect (as well as a disappointment) is that a significant proportion of people engaged in the creation of science fiction in China still equate it with science education, children’s science education in particular. Da Shixin’s writing about cars has won the Five Firsts Project Prize and the Ministry of Culture’s Constellation Prize for science fiction. The Constellation Prize, now defunct, was first awarded in 1991 by the Children’s Division of the Ministry of Culture, the Children’s Committee of the Popular Science Writers’ Association, and twenty publishing houses and periodicals and was the only national-level prize for science fiction in China.

See the full newsletter for more news bites.

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