The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
Ep 40 - Liu Cixin and Death’s End with Keith Justice Hayward

Ep 40 - Liu Cixin and Death’s End with Keith Justice Hayward

October 20, 2020

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The ultimate fate of all intelligent beings has always been to become as grand as their thoughts.

Episode 40 is no ordinary episode! This time TrChFic is crossing over with Couch Command and its esteemed host Keith Hayward to jump right down the Chinese sci-fi wormhole of Liu Cixin's haymaker-punch ending to his Three Body Problem trilogy, Death's End (死神永生 / Sǐshén Yǒngshēng). Hell yes.

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// NEWS ITEMS //

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// WORD OF THE DAY //

(警告 / Jǐnggào / warning)

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Ep 38 - Lin Yutang and Hymn to Shanghai with Paul French

Ep 38 - Lin Yutang and Hymn to Shanghai with Paul French

September 12, 2020

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'O thou city that surpasseth our understanding! How impressive are they emptiness, and thy commonness, and thy bad taste!'

In the thirty eighth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Hymn to Shanghai (上海之歌 / Shànghǎi Zhīgē), a piece by 'the little critic' himself, Lin Yutang. Joining me to pick apart Lin's biblical condemnation is the roguish raconteur and historian of Old Shanghai, Paul French. Expect to hear a lot about the virtues of liberal cosmopolitanism and the evils of Art Deco and gin liqueur.

 

// NEWS ITEMS //

 

// WORD OF THE DAY //

(黄包车 / huáng bāo chē / rickshaw)

 

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Ep 36 - Gujian with Emily Jin

Ep 36 - Gujian with Emily Jin

July 30, 2020

'I think there is no brother in this world as strange as you'

In the thirty sixth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at a video game(!) series called Gujian (古剑/ Gǔ Jiàn). Helping me level up and face my shadow self is Emily Jin, a highly active Chinese science fiction translator, and better yet: a hardcore Gujian fan!

Gujian isn't a Western Tolkeinesque RPG, nor is it a JRPG Final Fantasy-style affair. It's made in China, set in China, and played (mostly) by Chinese gamers. You may not be shocked to learn that it's a Wuxia RPG, with a little Xianxia magic thrown in for good measure.

 

// NEWS ITEMS //

 

// WORD OF THE DAY //

(剑 / Jiàn / a straight, double-edged Chinese sword)

 

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Ep 28 - Yang Lian and Narrative Poem with Brian Holton

Ep 28 - Yang Lian and Narrative Poem with Brian Holton

April 4, 2020

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"Dalliances wi ither worlds..."

In the twenty eighth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Yang Lian's Narrative Poem (叙事诗 / Xùshìshī) Our guest is Brian Holton, the premier translator of Chinese-to-Scots!

Publishers: EN - Bloodaxe Books // CN - Huaxia Publishing House

Yang Lian's homepage // Brian Holton on Paper Republic

 

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Ep 26 - Hao Jingfang and Vagabonds with Ken Liu

Ep 26 - Hao Jingfang and Vagabonds with Ken Liu

March 7, 2020

Ep 26 art

"A person from one civilisation looks at their surroundings as distinct objects and events and considers them separately. But when a person from another civilisation looks in as an outsider, they prefer to view everything through the lens of political power and try to explain everything based on that perspective."

In the twenty sixth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Hao Jingfang's Vagabonds (流浪玛厄斯 / Liúlàng Mǎèsī)

It would be tempting to say that Vagabonds is a Chinese science fiction rewrite of Ursula K le Guin’s The Dispossessed. My guest Ken Liu would be the first to stress that while there’s some truth to this, readers would be much better off treating the book as thing unto itself. He’s right- this is a book with no shortage of ideas or interpretations. Storywise, here’s what you need to know: it’s a red socialist planet ‘versus’ a green and blue corpocracy. Sit down, get comfy, and pick a side. Or don’t. Not picking a side may be the point.

Publishers: EN - Simon & Schuster - Head of Zeus  // CN - New Star Press

Hao Jingfang on Paper Republic

Ken Liu on Paper Republic 

 

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Ep 25 - Sanmao and Stories of the Sahara with Mike Fu

Ep 25 - Sanmao and Stories of the Sahara with Mike Fu

February 15, 2020

"Don't ask from where I have come. My home is far, far away."

In the twenty fifth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Sanmao's Stories of the Sahara (撒哈拉的故事 / Sǎhālāde Gùshì)

Sanmao AKA Echo Chan is a literary hero in China and Taiwan, but only recently has some of that fame begun to spill over into the rest of the world. She’s probably most famous for the time she spent in the Sahara, writing in a lucid, arresting, and playful style about her life there. Sanmao passed away in the 90s but she’s very much alive on the page, as her translator Mike Fu and I discuss.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

 

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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

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'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 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 15 - Yan Ge and The Chilli Bean Paste Clan with Nicky Harman

Ep 15 - Yan Ge and The Chilli Bean Paste Clan with Nicky Harman

October 6, 2019

Ep 15 art

"Ai-ya! Don’t go on at me!"

"Well if I don’t, who’s going to?"

In the fifteenth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are looking at Yan Ge's The Chilli Bean Paste Clan (我们家/wǒmen jiā)

This is a s-p-i-c-y novel published by Balestier Press about a dysfunctional family and its depraved, conflicted, and frequently disoriented patriarch. Yan Ge has said that it was inspired by her years spent growing up the the chilli bean paste production capital of Sichuan Province. Our guest for this episode is Yan Ge's translator, advocate, and friend, Nicky Harman.

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// Discussed this Episode //

1st chapter online - available from The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing

Nü Voices Women and Chinese Scifi Episode

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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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