Chinese science fiction: A podcast and reading list

Chinese science fiction: A podcast and reading list.

Danwei has moved to a magazine format now, shifting from the Danwei.org site that has been its home for a decade to Danwei.com, with more of a magazine format. I like the new site a lot better, and I keep hoping Jeremy and Company will come up with a way for all of us to peruse the site offline.

Nonetheless, there are treasures in the archives of Danwei.org that are timeless, and one of those treasures is this one, with a link to the Sinica Podcast on Science Fiction in China, and a list of Chinese science fiction resources.

Those who say that the Chinese culture and science fiction just do not work together should read this post, listen to the podcast, and follow the links. In truth, Chinese is in its formative stage, similar to where the craft was in the West before World War II. It is the realm of a small but growing core of fans, has yet to go mainstream, and operates on the edge of the Chinese literary world (sound familiar?)

For a first taste, download Joel Martinsen‘s well-reviewed translation of an excerpt from Liu Cixin’s Ball Lightning from Paper Republic.

Dies the Fire

Cover of "Dies the Fire: A Novel of the C...

Cover of Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change

Dies the Fire, a Novel of the Change, by S.M. Stirling

Despite Stirling’s workmanlike prose, he is an excellent storyteller, artfully combining science fiction and fantasy into a unique post-apocalyptic miasma. The story is engrossing, realistic (despite its huge early-story Deus ex Machina moment) and totally enjoyable.

Expecting nothing but a diversion on a road trip, I finished it and then bought two of the sequels. If you are a fan of post-apocalypse fiction, fantasy, or alternative history, Dies the Fire will be a delight.

As a side note, reading this book while I was traveling in the Pacifc Northwest brought the story even more vividly to life. Nothing like “Reading in the Setting,” a habit I picked up after reading James Clavell’s Tai-Pan on my first trip to Hong Kong in 1985.