The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
Ep 81 - Xiu Xinyu and The Stars We Raised with Yen Ooi

Ep 81 - Xiu Xinyu and The Stars We Raised with Yen Ooi

November 20, 2022

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A star’s coming of age was the process of slowly getting uglier.

In the eighty first episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, writer/researcher Yen Ooi and I are gazing up at The Stars We Raised (逃跑星辰 / táopǎo xīngchén), a short story by Xiu Xinyu featured in the all-women + nonbinary anthology The Way Spring Arrives. Once more, a Chinese science fiction story is taking us down to the countryside for melancholy reflections on the pains of growing up. Yen and I dig into the pains of publishing too, from gender to generation and from style to synthesis.

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// WORD OF THE DAY //

(仁 - rén - human kind(ness))

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Ep 80 - Chiou Charng-Ting and Raining Zebra Finches with May Huang

Ep 80 - Chiou Charng-Ting and Raining Zebra Finches with May Huang

October 24, 2022

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‘In the same spot where Father died, the dead body of a deer lay prostrate in the rain.’

In the eightieth episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, it’s Raining Zebra Finches (斑胸草雀 / bān xiōng cǎo què). Blame for this troubling meteorological occurrence falls upon Taiwanese author Chiou Charng-Ting; it’s her story. Under the weather with me is her translator, May Huang. In our discussion we’ll be testing the limits of our earthly knowledge and dreaming of other philosophies. When nature stops hiding and springs the inexplicable upon us, where else is there to turn?

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// NEWS ITEMS //

  • Balestier Press publishes The Pidgin Warrior, David Hull’s translation of a kung fu satire written in the 1930s by Zhang Tianyi
  • A horror followup to Sinopticon, titled Sinophagia, is on the way
  • Can Xue’s Mystery Train published by Sublunary Editions on Oct 18th

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// WORD OF THE DAY //

(梅雨季 - méiyǔ jì - plum rain season)

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Ep 79 - Mu Ming and Express to Beijing West Railway Station

Ep 79 - Mu Ming and Express to Beijing West Railway Station

October 8, 2022

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‘History is nothing more than a complex construction of records and observations’

In the seventy ninth episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction podcast, we’re riding the Express to Beijing West Railway Station (开往西站的特别列车 / kāiwǎng xī zhàn de tèbié lièchē), and I’ll be buying my ticket from none other than the author herself, Mu Ming. En route we’ll be passing by the scenic works of William Blake and Christopher Nolan, and pondering whether Shakespeare and Lu Xun would make good Netflix writers. Long-time TrChFic listeners will also already know all-too-well: you’re going to hear me enthuse about trains. Sorry.

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// WORD OF THE DAY //

(想象力 - xiǎngxiànglì - imagination)

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Ep 78 - Gu Hongming and Bonnie Prince Tuan with Lee Moore

Ep 78 - Gu Hongming and Bonnie Prince Tuan with Lee Moore

September 25, 2022

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‘Then each Boxer lad who loves fighting and fun,
let him follow the bonnets of bonnie Prince Tuan’

In the seventy eighth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are riding to war behind Bonnie Prince Tuan, a poem by a Chinese Scotiaphile that draws a parallel between two sets of rebels: the Jacobites of the Scottish highlands and the Boxers of northern China. There’s no point denying it – this is some pretty weird stuff. Here to lend some Boxer brawn to my Jacobean jesting is Lee Moore of the Chinese Literature Podcast – a show that has already devoted an episode to this madness.

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// WORDS OF THE DAY //

(廣記不如淡墨  - guǎng jì bùrú dàn mò - the best memory is not as good as the palest ink)

(雅各布派 - yǎ gè bù pài - Jacobite)

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Ep 77 - Yan Lianke and Lenin’s Kisses with Piotr Machajek

Ep 77 - Yan Lianke and Lenin’s Kisses with Piotr Machajek

August 21, 2022

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“You can give me your empty words if you like; I’ve come to fill out the forms permitting us to withdraw from society.”

In the seventy seventh episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are turning our cheek to Lenin's Kisses (受活 / shòu huó) by Yan Lianke. Yes, I’m finally dealing with him – and not alone. Piotr Machajek is here to show me how to Liven, as we look into the pros and cons of entering and retreating from a society that just cannot leave things be. 

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// NEWS ITEMS //

  • Wang Xiaobo’s Golden Age gets a retranslation & a spot in the NYT
  • Mildly interesting: a 2005 poll comparing expert & popular rankings of Chinese authors
  • Wang Shuo appears to enter Twitter and announce a new book
  • Paper Republic profiles Fujianese poet Wu Ang

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// WORDS OF THE DAY //

(狗带 - gǒu dài  - go die)

(入世,出世 - rùshì, chūshì - enter society, withdraw from society)

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Ep 76 - Huang Fan and Zero with The Hugonauts

Ep 76 - Huang Fan and Zero with The Hugonauts

August 6, 2022

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“Unmasking a universally accepted lie or overturning an irreplaceable idol will produce something akin to a mental collapse.”

In the seventy sixth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are hitting Zero (零 / líng). Joining me on deck are The Hugonauts, as we navigate a dystopian world that might be a postmodern riff on 1984 by amorphous author Huang Fan, or might be something far more sinister. All seasoned rebels know: sometimes you crash the system, and sometimes the system crashes you.

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// WORD OF THE DAY //

( - lǐ  - reason)

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Ep 75 - A Yi and The Curse with Jeffrey Kinkley

Ep 75 - A Yi and The Curse with Jeffrey Kinkley

July 23, 2022

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“Are you going to let your son die for nothing?”

In the seventy fifth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are surviving The Curse (杨村的一则诅咒 / yáng cūn de yī zé zǔzhòu). My partner for this investigation is literary Sinologist Jeffrey Kinkley. What exactly are we dealing with here? A tale of a backfiring curse, or a backfiring society? For realist writing to penetrate our often nightmarish world and scratch The Real, does it have to get weird first? Detective K and I are on the case. Don’t expect comforting answers.

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// WORD OF THE DAY //

(游离 - yóulí  - to disassociate)

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Ep 74 - Zou Tao and The Fox Spirit of Bluestone Mountain with Timothy Gouldthorp

Ep 74 - Zou Tao and The Fox Spirit of Bluestone Mountain with Timothy Gouldthorp

July 2, 2022

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There is a saying that accurately describes Young Master Zhou’s state of mind: “Willing to die beneath the flower and linger as an amorous ghost”

In the seventy fourth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are dallying with The Fox Spirit of Bluestone Mountain (狐狸緣全傳 / húlí yuán quánchuán). Arriving just in time to save us from the spirit’s wiles is translator Timothy Gouldthorp. Straighten your tails, grab a Taoist 不可以色色 bonk stick, and line up for battle as the creatures of the forest (rabbits included) take on the gods!

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// WORD OF THE DAY //

(缘分 - yuánfèn - karmic affinity)

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Ep 73 - A Que and Farewell, Doraemon with Eero Suoranta

Ep 73 - A Que and Farewell, Doraemon with Eero Suoranta

June 7, 2022

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‘This cartoon will never end’

In the seventy third episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, Eero Suoranta and I are saying Farewell, Doraemon (再见,哆啦A梦 / zàijiàn, duōlaAmèng). This is the second time a story by A Que has appeared on the show, and I feel that I now know the writer’s soul: tender in spirit, thoughtful in action, of limpid and eerie atmosphere, and shy about everything except postmodern intertextual showmanship. Pass with us through a loop in time hidden in a lonely river, to drown in nostalgia (from the Greek nostos ‘return home’ + algos ‘pain’).

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// WORDS OF THE DAY //

(动画 - dònghuà - animation )

(90后 - jiǔ líng hòu - 90s kids)

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Ep 72 - Han Song and My Country Does Not Dream with the London Chinese Science Fiction Group

Ep 72 - Han Song and My Country Does Not Dream with the London Chinese Science Fiction Group

May 5, 2022

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‘Because of sleepwalking, over one billion Chinese people have awakened’

In the seventy second episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast I’m facing down a bleak reality: My Country Does Not Dream (我的祖国不要做梦 / wǒde zǔguó bù zuò mèng). But I’m not doing it alone! The London Chinese Science Fiction Group have deployed a team of Han Song aficionados (and one critic) to console my exhausted brain as the daytime hours fall away, revealing a sombre somnambulant city behind the city: Beijing.

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// NEWS ITEMS //

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// WORDS OF THE DAY //

(梦游 - mèngyóu - sleepwalking)

(吊儿郎当 - diào'er lángdāng - sloppiness)

(躺平 - tǎngpíng - lie flat, as resistance to the 996 work system)

(闭眼 - bì yǎn - eyes closed)

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