Friday, October 10, 2008

An Alternate History of Chinese Martian SF

Thanks to James Patrick Kelly’s column “On the Net: Alternativity,” in the October/November double issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, we learned about a humorous post titled “An Alternate History of Chinese Science Fiction” at
the blog No Fear of the Future.

According to Kelly, the blog post "is part jape and part literary criticism. ... lists the most influential SF books of the last hundred years, from 4600 to 4700. (For those of you who are wondering, this is the year 4705 in the Chinese calendar.)”

Two books that made the list:

Bai Ai Tan's A Princess of Mars, published in the year 4609. “No one will ever call Bai Ai Tan a great writer, and parts of A Princess of Mars have aged badly, though not to the degree of his Tarzan novels. But A Princess of Mars and the other Barsoom stories still carry a certain pulp charge, and in the right frame of mind even a jaded modern reader can enjoy them.”

Ran Shan Hui’s “Mars” trilogy, published in the 4690s, “starting with The Voyage of Night Shining White, which won the ZGSFA and Nebula Awards. ... It combined the inventiveness of the old pulp authors ... with realistic science fiction (a very believable future history of the transformation and settling of Mars, from the arrival of the first colonists to the rise of multinational corporations). ... What set the trend of the Nineties more than The Voyage of Night Shining White, The Dragon’s Nine Sons, and Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea?”

The Los Angeles Public Library has a Chinese language copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars (1992). Presumably, you can purchase a copy through!

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