The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
Ep 21 - Han Song and the Fundamental Nature of the Universe with Nathaniel Isaacson

Ep 21 - Han Song and the Fundamental Nature of the Universe with Nathaniel Isaacson

December 11, 2019

Ep 21 art

'Everything is going to descend into chaos and disorder. Entropy will accelerate rapidly...'

this is episode 5 of 7 in our Chinese Science Fiction Season

In the twenty first episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Han Song's The Fundamental Nature of the Universe (宇宙的本性/yǔzhòu de běnxìng)

A tale of artificial intelligence and ennui. Or should it be angst? Or simply just yanjuan? Musing darkly with me on this episode is its translator Nathaniel Isaacson, author of Celestial Empire: The Emergence of Chinese Science Fiction. He translated this story, so he ought to know a thing or two about it!

FULL TEXT - academic access required 

Han Song on Paper Republic

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Episode 21 transcript

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Ep 20 - Liu Cixin and Devourer with Adam McMurchie

Ep 20 - Liu Cixin and Devourer with Adam McMurchie

December 2, 2019

Ep 20 art

'We still have a very long time to get along and very many things to talk about, but let us not speak of morals. In the universe, such considerations are meaningless.'

this is episode 4 of 7 in our Chinese Science Fiction Season

In the twentieth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Liu Cixin's Devourer (吞食者/tūnshí zhě)

This is a grim tale for survival in a predatory galaxy, very much in the mold of The Three Body Problem. Helping me out on this episode is Chinese SF superfan and fellow Dundonian Adam McMurchie. I’m sure he’ll be back on again!

The story was translated by Holger Nahm, and published in The Wandering Earth by Head of Zeus & TOR

 

// Discussed this Episode //

Jiayang Fan on Liu Cixin

The Three Body Problem

 

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Ep 19 - Fei Dao and The Storytelling Robot with Matt Michaelson

Ep 19 - Fei Dao and The Storytelling Robot with Matt Michaelson

November 26, 2019

Ep 19 art

'The robot’s ability to learn was unparalleled, and with the help of its creators it analysed its databank of stories to create a set of scientific laws for storytelling – a model that would later become world-famous. But the mathematical nature of this model was so overwhelmingly complex that only the robot could make head or tail of it.'

this is episode 3 of 7 in our Chinese Science Fiction Season

In the nineteenth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Fei Dao's The Storytelling Robot (讲故事的机器人/jiǎng gùshì de jīqìrén), translated by Alec Ash.

 

This is a thoughtful tale told by a writer with a melacholic, existential tendency. My favourite! Helping me out here is Matt of the Spectology Podcast. A very chill fellow who really knows a lot about Chinese SF.

This story may also be read online in the original Chinese

 

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Ep 18 - Waste Tide with Chen Qiufan

Ep 18 - Waste Tide with Chen Qiufan

November 15, 2019

Art for Ep 19

'Everything was shrouded in a leaden miasma, an amalgamation of the white mist generated by the boiling aqua regia in the acid baths and the black smoke from the unceasing burning of PVC, insulation, and circuit boards in the fields and on the shore of the river. The two contrasting colors were mixed by the sea breeze until they could no longer be distinguished, seeping into the pores of every living being.'

this is episode 2 of 7 in our Chinese Science Fiction Season

Chaos reigns in the hyperactive, hyperreal, and highly populated Silicon Isle- a spot just off the coast of Guangdong where downtrodden ‘waste people’ do pitiless, dangerous work for local and global elites. All it takes is a spark, and the whole thing explodes…

In the eighteenth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Chen Qiufan's Waste Tide (荒潮/huāng cháo). The translator is Ken Liu and the publishers are Head of Zeus and TOR. Our guest is the author himself!

 

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Ep 17 - Hao Jingfang and Folding Beijing with Lyu Guangzhao

Ep 17 - Hao Jingfang and Folding Beijing with Lyu Guangzhao

November 9, 2019

Ep 17 art

'The folding city was divided into three spaces. One side of the earth was First Space, population five million. Their allotted time lasted from six o’clock in the morning to six o’clock the next morning. Then the space went to sleep, and the earth flipped.'

this is episode 1 of 7 in our Chinese Science Fiction Season

In the seventeenth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Hao Jingfang's Folding Beijing (北京折叠/běi jīng zhé dié)

 

This is a Hugo Award-winning ‘novelette’ translated by Ken Liu that imagines a city that has ‘economised’ by splitting social classes more fundamentally than ever before. It was first published by Uncanny Magazine. Helping me out in this episode is the charming and insightful Lyu Guangzhao of the London Chinese Scifi Reading Group. He’s a legend.

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// Discussed this Episode //

Hao Jingfang's essay - I Want to Write A History of Inequality

Paul Mason on automation & future economics

Linus 林路's Chinese SF cinema IG is @sinoscifi

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