The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
Ep 47 - Ma Jian and Beijing Coma with Ronald Torrance

Ep 47 - Ma Jian and Beijing Coma with Ronald Torrance

February 5, 2021

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When you've stared at the past for so long that time dissolves, you'll be able to wake from your slumber

In the forty seventh episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are falling into Beijing Coma (肉之土 / Ròu Zhī Tǔ). Avid Ma Jian reader Ronald Torrance is here to guide me from perimeter to epicentre of this colossal novel, and the weighty events it reckons with. Even without politics, stakes are high here: life/death, time/memory, flesh/history, and the intimate bonds that can exist between translators and writers.

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(地标 - Dìbiāo - Landmark)

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Ep 45 - Strange Beasts of China with Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang

Ep 45 - Strange Beasts of China with Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang

January 14, 2021

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In bars like this, on nights like this, the people of Yong'an would talk of death

In the forty fifth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are hunting for the Strange Beasts of China (异兽志 - Yì Shòu Zhì). Two very special guests are joining me this time - the book's author Yan Ge and its translator Jeremy Tiang. If I sound a little off-kilter this episode, it's because I'm star struck!

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(异 - Yì - strange/different)

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Ep 44 - Ge Fei and Peach Blossom Paradise with Canaan Morse

Ep 44 - Ge Fei and Peach Blossom Paradise with Canaan Morse

December 22, 2020

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 Every person's heart is an island, trapped by water, sequestered from the world

In the forty fourth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are going in search of Peach Blossom Paradise (人面桃花 - Rénmiàn Táohuā) by Ge Fei. Rowing me through the lingering mists and dark waters is craftmaster Canaan Morse, its translator.

Ge Fei has been covered once before on this show. We did his Flock of Brown Birds in Episode 30. This time we are dealing with something less surreal. On the surface, it's a typical 'important Chinese novelist writes historical saga' affair. But beneath...

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(徒 - Tú - in vain)

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Ep 43 - Can Xue and I Live in the Slums with Stefan Rusinov

Ep 43 - Can Xue and I Live in the Slums with Stefan Rusinov

November 26, 2020

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'Underneath the hole is another hole. Do you dare go down?'

In the forty third episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are grappling with the experimental literature of Can Xue, as embodied in I Live in the Slums. Helping me train for the performance of a lifetime is Chinese-to-Bulgarian translator & friend of the pod, Stefan Rusinov.

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(审丑 - shěn chǒu - examining ugliness AND/OR the abject, if you like)

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Ep 30 - Ge Fei and Flock of Brown Birds with Eric Abrahamsen

Ep 30 - Ge Fei and Flock of Brown Birds with Eric Abrahamsen

April 21, 2020

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"Assuming my memory hasn't been obstructed, then something must be interfering with time"

In the thirtieth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Ge Fei's Flock of Brown Birds (褐色鸟群 / Hésè Niǎoqún) Our guest is Eric Abrahamsen, one of the founding members of Paper Republic

Ge Fei on Paper Republic

Translator Poppy Toland on Paper Republic

 

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(记忆 / Jìyì / memory)

(叙事者 / Xùshìzhě / narrator)

 

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Ep 29 - Song Aman and Gongsun’s Dreams with Michelle Deeter

Ep 29 - Song Aman and Gongsun’s Dreams with Michelle Deeter

April 12, 2020

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"Memory comes from forgetting"

In the twenty ninth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Song Aman's Gongsun's Dreams (公孙画梦 / Gōngsūn Huàmèng) Our guest is Michelle Deeter, returning for her second appearance on the show! This story is not yet published in English. The Chinese version features in Song Aman's collection Inland Romance, published in Chinese by Jiangsu Phoenix Literature and Art Publishing.

Michelle Deeter's homepage

Song Aman on Paper Republic

 

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(魔方 / mófāng / rubik's cube)

(利薄多销 / lìbóduōxiāo / small profits, numerous sales)

 

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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

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'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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Ep 20 - Liu Cixin and Devourer with Adam McMurchie

Ep 20 - Liu Cixin and Devourer with Adam McMurchie

December 2, 2019

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'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

 

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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

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'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 14 - Jiang Zilong and Empires of Dust with Christopher Payne

Ep 14 - Jiang Zilong and Empires of Dust with Christopher Payne

September 30, 2019

"There’s an old saying: the earth is like a vomiting carcass."

In the fourteenth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Jiang Zilong's Empires of Dust (农民帝国/nóngmín dìguó)

This is an epic of ‘reform literature’ published by Sinoist Books, charting the rise and fall of Guo Cunxian, a ‘rugged individual’ of sorts who lives through the revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and Reform and Opening. What is ‘reform literature’ you ask? Listen and find out, comrade! Our guest is one of the book's two translators, Christopher Payne. His co-translator was Olivia Milburn.

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South China Morning Post review

China Channel Dylan Levi King article

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