Monday, May 13, 2013

Science Fiction in China: A Conversation with Fei Dao

The Los Angeles Review of Books has an interview with Chinese author Fei Dao which gives an insight into some of the things happening with Chinese speculative literature. Will this be a big influence on Lao science fiction produced in Laos?

One of the quotes I think is particularly useful to consider is: the late Qing dynasty around 1902, it was chiefly concerned with the problem of bringing ancient China into modernity. At that time, Liang Qichao [translated sci fi] because he thought it would be beneficial for China’s future … as something that could popularize scientific knowledge. And Lu Xun thought that if you gave ordinary people scientific literature to read, they would fall asleep. But if you blended scientific knowledge into stories with a plot, it would be more interesting. [He thought that] in this way, the people could become more modern. So at that time science fiction was a very serious thing to do in China that could allow ordinary people to get closer to modern scientific knowledge, and serve as a tool for transforming traditional culture into modern culture. It played a very important role, and had a serious mission to accomplish.
 There are a lot of responses that I think were going to be rather obvious. That Russian and Japanese writers had significantly more influence on Chinese writers than those from the West for a long time, for example. But overall, it was nice to see writers from outside of a traditional European American worldview being given a chance to share their views.

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