The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
Ep 37 - The Woman in the Carriage with Yilin Wang

Ep 37 - The Woman in the Carriage with Yilin Wang

August 30, 2020

Chuanqi.jpg

'The scholar suddenly glimpsed a movement in the darkness. Something dived towards him like a swift bird. The shadowy outline of a person neared him, reaching out with a hand.'

In the thirty seventh episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at The Woman in the Carriage (车中女子 / Chē Zhōng Nǚzǐ), a chuanqi story dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Our guest is its translator, Yilin Wang.

The Woman in the Carriage is a short tale, but the more you look at it, the more you see. Moral lessons, subtle humour, inexplicable strangeness, the roots of modern wuxia...it's all there!

A condensed transcript of the interview in this episode is available on Yilin's website.

 

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(盗贼 / dào zéi / thief)

 

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Ep 32 - The Book of Shanghai with Karen Wang

Ep 32 - The Book of Shanghai with Karen Wang

May 13, 2020

Ep 32 Art

"A true map cannot simply mark out the landmarks, and the most popular tourist sites, it must be able to guide readers through the city’s lesser-known corners, its dimly-lit nooks and rarely-frequented crannies"

In the thirty second episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at The Book of Shanghai, a short story collection from Comma Press. Our guest is Karen Wang of the Manchester Confucius Institute

 

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(捉 / Zhuō / Grasping)

 

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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

 

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(魔方 / mófāng / rubik's cube)

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

 

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Ep 24 - Feng Jicai and Faces in the Crowd

Ep 24 - Feng Jicai and Faces in the Crowd

January 19, 2020

"I have lived in Tianjin my whole life, and I know its people, with their toughness and competitive streak, their generosity, their determination to be respected, and their refusal to back down. When I illustrate them, it is these qualities I draw."

In the twenty fourth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Feng Jicai's Faces in the Crowd (俗世奇人 / Súshì Qírén)

This is the first time on the show that I’m looking at an illustrated book. Each chapter is a ‘sketch’ of one of old colonial Tianjin’s more quirky characters. They’re all drawn from local legends, and add up to create a really immersive wander through a bygone era.

Publishers: EN - Sinoist Books // CN - People's Literature Publishing House

 

Feng Jicai on Paper Republic

Olivia Milburn on Paper Republic

 

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Ep 23 - Baoshu and What Has Passed Shall In Kinder Light Appear

Ep 23 - Baoshu and What Has Passed Shall In Kinder Light Appear

January 12, 2020

Ep 23 art

"Later, I kept on hoping China would host the Olympics again, but it never happened. After I became a father, I told my son about that night, and he refused to believe China had once been so prosperous."

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

In the twenty third episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Baoshu's What Has Passed Shall In Kinder Light Appear (大时代 / dà shídài), available to read in the Broken Stars anthology, edited and translated by Ken Liu.

Baoshu reverses time, sending his protagonist through a life that begins with the Beijing Olympics and ends before the communist revolution. I go it alone on this episode, and maybe it’s for the best because this story made me cry. It’s beautiful.

 

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Ep 22 - A Summer Beyond Your Reach with Xia Jia

Ep 22 - A Summer Beyond Your Reach with Xia Jia

December 18, 2019

Ep 22 art

'The summer isn’t over yet. There are so many fun things to do.'

this is episode 6 of 7 in our Chinese Science Fiction Season

In the twenty second episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Xia Jia's A Summer Beyond Your Reach (你无法抵达的夏天/nǐ wúfǎ dǐdá de xiàtiān)

Xia Jia herself joins me via Skype from California to talk about her stories. French culture comes up three times in this episode. I really didn’t see that coming. Xia Jia’s stories do fuse deep thought with deep feeling, which I suppose does sound a bit French. Anyway! It’s a very fun episode, so have a listen.

Translators: Emily Jin, Carmen Yiling Yan, Ken Liu

Publisher: Clarkesworld

 

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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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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

 

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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

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 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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