The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
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

Ep 30 art

"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

 

 // NEWS ITEMS //

 

// WORDS OF THE DAY //

(记忆 / Jìyì / memory)

(叙事者 / Xùshìzhě / narrator)

 

// DISCUSSED IN THE EPISODE //

 

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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

Ep 29 art

"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

 

// NEWS ITEMS //

 

// WORDS OF THE DAY //

(魔方 / mófāng / rubik's cube)

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

 

// DISCUSSED IN THE EPISODE //

 

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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

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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// Discussed in this Episode //

 

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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 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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// Discussed in this Episode //

South China Morning Post review

China Channel Dylan Levi King article

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Ep 11 - Lu Xun and Weeds with Matt Turner

Ep 11 - Lu Xun and Weeds with Matt Turner

August 3, 2019

Ep 11 art

"Fire spreads and rages underground, and once the lava’s broken through it will burn up all the weeds, along with the tall trees. Thereupon, therefore, nothing else will rot."

In the eleventh episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Weeds (野草/yě cǎo) by Lu Xun

Matt Turner has brought new life to one of Lu Xun's more downbeat bodies of work. He and I talk about the whys and hows of this endeavour. Fire does indeed rage underground.

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// Discussed in this Episode //

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Ep 10 - A Yi and A Perfect Crime

Ep 10 - A Yi and A Perfect Crime

July 27, 2019

"I tried. I put everything into being an exceptional student. But those things are like water cast out in the desert, they evaporate quickly. Whenever I started something, I would picture its inevitable ending. An apple becomes pips in the trash."

In the tenth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at A Yi's A Perfect Crime (猫和老鼠/māo hé lǎoshǔ)

This is dark and existential novel translated by Anna Holmwood wastes neither word nor sentiment on the reader. Prepare for discomfort as we take on the perspective of an alienated highschooler who murders his classmate for no real reason, then goes on the run.

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// Discussed in this Episode //

INEQUALITY AND CRIME RATES IN CHINA by Tsun Se Cheong and Yanrui Wu

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Ep 9 - Eileen Chang and Lust, Caution with Claire Hao

Ep 9 - Eileen Chang and Lust, Caution with Claire Hao

May 26, 2019

Ep 9

"Alive, her body belonged to him; dead, she was his ghost"

In the eighth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Lust, Caution (色,戒 / Sè, Jiè) by a certain someone called Eileen Chang. Heard of her?

It’s a tale of forbidden love and political intrigue set at a precarious time and indeed a precarious place in Chinese history: the Japanese-occupied foreign concessions of WW2-era Shanghai.

The translation I read is from the Penguin Pocket Classics Edition. Julia Lovell was the translator. Co-hosting with me on this episode is the amazing Claire Hao.

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// Discussed this Episode //

Except of the story available on the Pocket Penguins website

Julia Lovell/Han Shaogong article

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Ep 3 - Murong Xuecun and Leave Me Alone

Ep 3 - Murong Xuecun and Leave Me Alone

March 15, 2019

Ep 3 art

"I lit up a cigarette and thought that you shouldn't torture yourself by trying to go against life's grain. The dissolute will take advantage of the young. If you could be happy for a while, then settle for that."

In this episode we are looking at: Leave Me Alone (成都,今夜请将我遗忘 // Chéngdū, Jīnyè Qǐng Jiāng Wǒ Yíwàng) It's the 2014 UK edition published by Fortysix

Murong Xuecun's 2010 People's Literature Prize acceptance speech https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/world/asia/murong-xuecuns-acceptance-speech-for-the-2010-peoples-literature-prize.html

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