Science fiction serves as a kind of mirror for how a society sees itself in the future. So what future do Chinese sci-fi writers envision in the far-off yet-to-come? And what role does China play in that future? Do contemporary Chinese writers see a harmonious utopia ? Or are they more concerned with the prospects of dystopian collapse? These are the questions raised in this week's edition of Sinica, which takes a closer look at the state of sci-fi in China

Joining Kaiser this week is longtime Sinica stalwart Gady Epstein, who also happens to be the Beijing bureau chief for Forbes magazine. With them we have two genuine experts on Chinese science fiction. Our first guest is Stanley Chen (Chen Qiufan), Google employee and one of the leading new generation of Chinese science fiction writers. Joel Martinsen, one of the most informed Americans on the Chinese science fiction scene, is also in our studio to talk about what sets Chinese sci-fi apart from its Western counterpart.

If you enjoy this podcast, be sure to give us your take on things either in the comment section, or by writing us at sinica@popupchinese.com. And remember, to subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS, just open up iTunes, click on the "Advanced" menu and select "Subscribe to Podcast". When prompted, copy the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica into the box. Those of you who'd like to download this mp3 directly from our site can also grab it as a standalone mp3 file. Enjoy!
 said on
June 12, 2010
Only tangentially related to Kaiser's comment on the Great Leap Forward, but Richard McGregor has an excellent piece in the Financial Times today about a senior Xinhua reporter who has been doing research into the disaster and has published a (now banned) book as the result of several decades of research into government archives.

Very much worth reading:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/6a148d26-7432-11df-87f5-00144feabdc0.html

 said on
June 14, 2010
Can you reinstate the direct download link?
 said on
June 14, 2010
@rabbit,

link back up, thanks.
 said on
June 14, 2010
I think this was a good choice of topic and it's nice to have an occasional change of tone from the heavier political stuff. It didn't quite answer the question which has been nagging at me for a while though, which is WHY sci-fi is so completely absent from the mainstream media in China. Have there ever been any sci-fi TV shows here, ever? Or even half a dozen movies? Is it because no producers are prepared to take the risk of making one, or because there genuinely isn't any demand? Avatar seemed to go down pretty well so surely there's some kind of market, but I guess the relatively high production cost must be off-putting.

Anyway, this has prompted me to finally get round to reading Lao She's "Cat Country" (猫城记)

Incidentally, speaking of dystopian futures it looks like the China-Invades-America remake of Red Dawn will fortunately never see the light of day:

http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/17476/-red-dawn-on-indefinite-hold-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dawn_(2010_film)
 said on
June 15, 2010
U.K. author David Wingrove's "Chung Kuo" series (in 8 volumes) is a lot of fun. It features a future Earth scenario in which the Chinese have become globally dominant, the Mandarinate has returned, and history has been entirely re-written to erase the contributions of non-Han cultures. Try the first volume - it's actually quite good.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440207614/sr=1-1/qid=1276539900/ref=sr_1_1_oe_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276539900&sr=1-1
 said on
June 24, 2010
My favorite sci-fi book about China is Maureen McHugh's "China Mountain Zhang" written in the late 80's. It takes place in the early 22nd century where the position of China and the U.S. are the opposite of what they were in the late 1980's. Well-written and a worthwhile read.

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