The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast

The TrChFic Sci-Fi Season

June 9, 2020

Faced with the absurd reality of contemporary China, the writer cannot fully explore or express the possibilities of extreme beauty and extreme ugliness without resorting to science fiction

- Chen Qiufan, The Torn Generation: Chinese Science Fiction in a Culture in Transition


Like many, my intro to Chinese SF was Liu Cixin's The Three Body Problem 三体. It was the third ever piece of Chinese literature I'd ever read, following on from the Lu Xun's The Diary of a Madman and Cao Xueqin's The Dream of the Red ChamberIn time, I learned that the wormhole goes much deeper...


For your convenience, here's every episode from the TrChFic Sci-fi Season, listed in order.


Episode 17

Hao Jingfang and Folding Beijing with Lyu Guangzhao 

A chat with Lyu Guangzhao of the London Chinese SF Group about Hao Jingfang's Hugo-winning novelette of a dystopian, class inequality-powered, and architecturally mind-boggling future Beijing.



Episode 18

Waste Tide with Chen Qiufan

The author himself joins me on the show to discuss his debut novel. We also get into the book's economic & ecological concerns, and its use of regional dialect.


FeiDao.jpg Episode 19

Fei Dao and The Storytelling Robot with Matt Michaelson

Matt, China Hand of the Spectology Podcast, joins me to talk about Fei Dao, who once famously described China's sci-fi writers and readers as a 'lonely hidden army'.



Episode 20

Liu Cixin and Devourer with Adam McMurchie 

Liu Cixin's magnum opus Remembrance of Earth's Past AKA Three Body is rife with cosmic, Darwinistic pessimism. So is Devourer. With me to discuss it is fellow Dundonian, Adam McMurchie.


Episode 21

Han Song and The Fundamental Nature of the Universe with Nathaniel Isaacson

Nathaniel Isaacson, esteemed author of Celestial Empire: the Emergence of Chinese Science Fiction joins me to talk about Han Song, a veteran writer of often rather existential sci-fi.


Episode 22

A Summer Beyond Your Reach with Xia Jia 

The author herself joins me to talk about her upcoming collection of short stories, Alan Turing, and (unexpectedly!) quite a lot of French culture.



Episode 23

Baoshu and What Has Passed Shall In Kinder Light Appear

The only episode in this season which I handle solo. Perhaps rightly so, because Baoshu's story- one which is unpublishable inside the PRC- moved me to tears.


If you want more sci-fi, check out:

Episode 26 - Hao Jingfang and Vagabonds with Ken Liu

The TrChFic Patreonthere you'll find bonus episodes on Baoshu, Chen Qiufan, The Reincarnated Giant, and more

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