Science Fiction

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A St Petersburg based English language publishing house called Karo have recently reprinted a version of The Amphibian by Alexander Belyaev from 1928. This concerns the exploits of a young man with shark's gills implanted in his body thus allowing him to thrive in the waters off the coast of Argentina.
View attachment 17773

Belyaev, a prolific science fictioneer, is often called the `Russian Jules Verne` so this is a must for students of the genre.

Here's my blog revew of it in which I discuss it's odd relationship with the Russia of it's time and the influence of the corresponding film on `The Shape of Water` among other things:
http://alternativerussianculture.sp...st-iconic-tale-to-come-out-of-stalins-russia/
Interesting blog tale, I Tweeted it.
 

skinny

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Overblown piece of Hollywood horseshit. I can not wait to see it on the big screen in 3D while munching my $30 cup of corn kernels.

Good to see Arwen back in the game.
 
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I recommend Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy and Folding Beijing, by Hao Jingfang.

Science fiction’s new golden age in China: what it means to the authors, many female, leading the way

Recent Hugo Awards for Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang have shone spotlight on new generation of Chinese sci-fi writers; we talked to some about their hopes and the deeper meaning of their works at a recent Hong Kong conference

The science-fiction genre in China was little known before Liu Cixin was honoured with the Hugo Award for best novel in 2015 for The Three-Body Problem. The first book in Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, it tells of an alien invasion during the Cultural Revolution and has sold more than a million copies in China alone. The English translation was recommended by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to members of his book club, and praised by former US president Barack Obama as “wildly imaginative, really interesting”.

Last year, Liu’s compatriot Hao Jingfang earned a Hugo Award for Folding Beijing, in which the city is divided into zones, each with a different number of hours in the day.

Liu has been nominated for another Hugo Award this year, for the final episode in his trilogy, Death’s End.

The two winning books are now being adapted for the big screen in China, marking a turning point for Chinese sci-fi and potentially expanding the genre’s exposure globally.

Some 104 original sci-fi titles were published in China in 2016, compared to 75 the previous year, and 461 novelettes were released last year.

Author Regina Wang Kanyu, 27, a long-time sci-fi fan, has witnessed its growth in recent years. “It’s the golden age of Chinese science fiction,” she says. ...

http://www.scmp.com/culture/books/a...al&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Liu Cixin's trilogy and the real world advance of China.

As the standoff has intensified, Liu has become wary of touting the geopolitical underpinnings of his work. In November, when I accompanied him on a trip to Washington, D.C.—he was picking up the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation’s Award for Imagination in Service to Society—he briskly dismissed the idea that fiction could serve as commentary on history or on current affairs. “The whole point is to escape the real world!” he said. Still, the kind of reader he attracts suggests otherwise: Chinese tech entrepreneurs discuss the Hobbesian vision of the trilogy as a metaphor for cutthroat competition in the corporate world; other fans include Barack Obama, who met Liu in Beijing two years ago, and Mark Zuckerberg. Liu’s international career has become a source of national pride. In 2015, China’s then Vice-President, Li Yuanchao, invited Liu to Zhongnanhai—an off-limits complex of government accommodation sometimes compared to the Kremlin—to discuss the books and showed Liu his own copies, which were dense with highlights and annotations.

Liu’s tomes—they tend to be tomes—have been translated into more than twenty languages, and the trilogy has sold some eight million copies worldwide. He has won China’s highest honor for science-fiction writing, the Galaxy Award, nine times, and in 2015 he became the first Asian writer to win the Hugo Award, the most prestigious international science-fiction prize. In China, one of his stories has been a set text in the gao kao—the notoriously competitive college-entrance exams that determine the fate of ten million pupils annually; another has appeared in the national seventh-grade-curriculum textbook. When a reporter recently challenged Liu to answer the middle-school questions about the “meaning” and the “central themes” of his story, he didn’t get a single one right. “I’m a writer,” he told me, with a shrug. “I don’t begin with some conceit in mind. I’m just trying to tell a good story.”

The trilogy’s success has been credited with establishing sci-fi, once marginalized in China, as a mainstream taste. Liu believes that this trend signals a deeper shift in the Chinese mind-set—that technological advances have spurred a new excitement about the possibilities of cosmic exploration. The trilogy commands a huge following among aerospace engineers and cosmologists; one scientist wrote an explanatory guide, “The Physics of Three Body.” ...

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/...161694&esrc=&utm_content=B&utm_term=TNY_Daily
 

Mythopoeika

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Liu Cixin's trilogy and the real world advance of China.

As the standoff has intensified, Liu has become wary of touting the geopolitical underpinnings of his work. In November, when I accompanied him on a trip to Washington, D.C.—he was picking up the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation’s Award for Imagination in Service to Society—he briskly dismissed the idea that fiction could serve as commentary on history or on current affairs. “The whole point is to escape the real world!” he said. Still, the kind of reader he attracts suggests otherwise: Chinese tech entrepreneurs discuss the Hobbesian vision of the trilogy as a metaphor for cutthroat competition in the corporate world; other fans include Barack Obama, who met Liu in Beijing two years ago, and Mark Zuckerberg. Liu’s international career has become a source of national pride. In 2015, China’s then Vice-President, Li Yuanchao, invited Liu to Zhongnanhai—an off-limits complex of government accommodation sometimes compared to the Kremlin—to discuss the books and showed Liu his own copies, which were dense with highlights and annotations.

Liu’s tomes—they tend to be tomes—have been translated into more than twenty languages, and the trilogy has sold some eight million copies worldwide. He has won China’s highest honor for science-fiction writing, the Galaxy Award, nine times, and in 2015 he became the first Asian writer to win the Hugo Award, the most prestigious international science-fiction prize. In China, one of his stories has been a set text in the gao kao—the notoriously competitive college-entrance exams that determine the fate of ten million pupils annually; another has appeared in the national seventh-grade-curriculum textbook. When a reporter recently challenged Liu to answer the middle-school questions about the “meaning” and the “central themes” of his story, he didn’t get a single one right. “I’m a writer,” he told me, with a shrug. “I don’t begin with some conceit in mind. I’m just trying to tell a good story.”

The trilogy’s success has been credited with establishing sci-fi, once marginalized in China, as a mainstream taste. Liu believes that this trend signals a deeper shift in the Chinese mind-set—that technological advances have spurred a new excitement about the possibilities of cosmic exploration. The trilogy commands a huge following among aerospace engineers and cosmologists; one scientist wrote an explanatory guide, “The Physics of Three Body.” ...

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/...161694&esrc=&utm_content=B&utm_term=TNY_Daily
Maybe the Chinese should read Nineteen Eight-Four, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Animal Farm...
 
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Maybe the Chinese should read Nineteen Eight-Four, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Animal Farm...
If you haven't read the full article it's worth doing so. The journalist/interviewer is also Chinese but has lived in the US for 30 years. Different viewpoints.
 
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Yes it was crap wasn't it. 4 teenagers save the earth [temporarily]. The CGI was good, that's about all I can say for it. As to the story..
I didn't think it was that bad:

The Wandering Earth: Chinese SF epic. The Sun is ailing and will soon turn into a Red Giant. A worldwide effort builds engines to move The Earth to the Alpha Centauri System. As Scotty said: Ye Cannae Change The Laws of Physics! But lets suspend our sense of disbelief for a while. A space platform is built which will navigate the Earth and protect it from collisions etc. Seventeen years into the mission some of the engines fail and the Earth is in danger of crashing into Jupiter.

The action is centred around a taikonaut on the Space Platform and his family on Earth who are caught up in the efforts to repair the engines. Good effects in space, well imagined satellites and spaceships. The Earth based adventure is engaging as massive trucks race across the frozen Earth. About half of the world's population has perished as the Earth's rotation was stopped, the remainder living underground. Some of the CGI becomes a bit ropey at times but this is an engaging film. Based on the novella by Liu Cixin and directed by Frant Gwo, The Wandering Earth is on a par with the better Hollywood disaster movies. 7/10. On Netflix.

:
 

skinny

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Maybe the Chinese should read Nineteen Eight-Four, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Animal Farm...
You can be quite sure the Ministry of Shitty Bastards would have had a team of lickspittles combing every line for hints of political and social notrightery. Probably why the author is so nervous about comparisons and western praise. Artistic fame in The Land of Paradise is a very very dubious honour. Just ask AWW. He's still waiting for his fingernails to grow back.
 

hunck

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I didn't think it was that bad:

The Wandering Earth: Chinese SF epic. The Sun is ailing and will soon turn into a Red Giant. A worldwide effort builds engines to move The Earth to the Alpha Centauri System. As Scotty said: Ye Cannae Change The Laws of Physics! But lets suspend our sense of disbelief for a while. A space platform is built which will navigate the Earth and protect it from collisions etc. Seventeen years into the mission some of the engines fail and the Earth is in danger of crashing into Jupiter.

The action is centred around a taikonaut on the Space Platform and his family on Earth who are caught up in the efforts to repair the engines. Good effects in space, well imagined satellites and spaceships. The Earth based adventure is engaging as massive trucks race across the frozen Earth. About half of the world's population has perished as the Earth's rotation was stopped, the remainder living underground. Some of the CGI becomes a bit ropey at times but this is an engaging film. Based on the novella by Liu Cixin and directed by Frant Gwo, The Wandering Earth is on a par with the better Hollywood disaster movies. 7/10. On Netflix.

:
We'll have to agree to disagree. Let's be honest, the plot is preposterous. I thought

It would've been better had it ended a half hour earlier when the earth was doomed after trying everything. Would've made it a darker film. Instead it suddenly goes Hollywood with 4 teenager tech wizards getting their arse into gear & saving the world. For a while.
 

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It's a crying shame what the Chinese Govt have done to the Hong Kong cinema industry since 1997. The Wandering Earth was diabolical, it made the physics in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle look like a Professor Brian Cox lecture.
 
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It's a crying shame what the Chinese Govt have done to the Hong Kong cinema industry since 1997. The Wandering Earth was diabolical, it made the physics in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle look like a Professor Brian Cox lecture.
Well I did say: Ye Cannae Chane The Laws Of Physics!

I found it entertaining though.
 

GNC

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Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy a stupid movie with the best of them, but mix that with a smug, know it all tone when they plainly knew nothing other than their way around a CGI program or two, and it starts to get on the nerves. I don't mean all sci-fi has to be scientifically flawless, there wouldn't be much of it left if it did, but the determination to be so wrong and then pretend to be very clever about it made the film practically unwatchable.

I am aware Chinese fantasy is a stronger genre than Chinese science fiction, though.
 

brownmane

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Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy a stupid movie with the best of them, but mix that with a smug, know it all tone when they plainly knew nothing other than their way around a CGI program or two, and it starts to get on the nerves. I don't mean all sci-fi has to be scientifically flawless, there wouldn't be much of it left if it did, but the determination to be so wrong and then pretend to be very clever about it made the film practically unwatchable.

I am aware Chinese fantasy is a stronger genre than Chinese science fiction, though.
As long as an author can establish and maintain the logic set up in a story, I can enjoy a tale that would not possibly happen. When a writer does not establish a clear logic and the characters and setting continually react against the set up premise/logic, then I find a story like that unreadable.

Unless it is "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy":D
 

Yithian

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Brief but interesting article on Arthur C Clarke and his predictions of the future:

Arthur C Clarke was never one to hide his light under a bushel. He referred to his office as his ‘ego chamber’ and bought an English manor house to accommodate his archives, aka the ‘Clarkives’. And yet, when it came to imagining the future, he adamantly refused to take credit for any predictions. The internet, 3D printers, email: he may have described them all long before they existed, but these were not predictions. They were, he insisted, extrapolations.

Terminology aside, Clarke arguably did more than any other author since HG Wells and Jules Verne to catapult his mind into the future, taking a vast global readership along with him for the invariably wild ride. As a science writer, he conjured up the idea of a ‘personal transceiver’ small enough to be carried about, enabling contact with anyone in the world and also featuring global positioning, making getting lost a thing of the past. That essay was written back in 1959, and what he was essentially describing was the mobile phone.

Full Article:
http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20190621-the-man-who-created-our-vision-of-space
 

INT21

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You seem to forget E.M. Forster.

'The Machine Stops' has lots of modern things in it. Skype in particular. And it was written in the thirties. And also the dire warning of what may happen when the machine does indeed stop; when The internet of Things crashes.

INT21.
 
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I'll definitely get the paperback.

The Future Is Female!: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin

edited by Lisa Yaszek
Library of America, 530 pp., $27.95

... Three years before Weinbaum’s Martian adventure, Leslie F. Stone published “The Conquest of Gola” in the April 1931 issue of the science-fiction pulp magazine Wonder Stories. This was not Stone’s first published story, but it became her best known. Gola is a planet ruled by a gentle civilization of telepathic nonhumanoid females with movable eyes and sensory functions available on all parts of their round, golden-fur-covered bodies. The males of the planet are docile pleasure-consorts. Into this edenic world plunges a cadre of Earth men who desire “exploration and exploitation.” The queen rejects their plea for trade and tourism. She isn’t just dismissive of what she feels are the Earthlings’ barbarian mentality and low-grade intelligence; she simply can’t be bothered to take them seriously. “To think of mere man-things daring to attempt to force themselves upon us,” she says. “What is the universe coming to?” Rebuffed, the Earth men launch a full invasion; the Golans (who narrate the tale) obliterate them. End of story. A case study in thinking better than men but not like men.

“The Conquest of Gola” is one of the twenty-five SF tales written by women that are collected in the enjoyable new anthology The Future Is Female, edited by Lisa Yaszek, a professor of science fiction at Georgia Tech. It encompasses the genre’s pulp years (1926–1940) and the so-called Golden Age (approximately 1940–1960), and ends just before the emergence of feminist SF in the 1970s. The anthology dispels the commonly held belief that women didn’t participate much in science fiction before the Seventies and argues that a category of fiction often thought to be socially retrograde, technologically fetishistic, and poorly written is in fact rich in style and humanity. Not every story in the anthology serves this argument—Katherine MacLean’s colonization tale “Contagion” (1950) is about as socially daring as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Leigh Brackett’s well-meaning “All the Colors of the Rainbow” (1957), set in the Jim Crow South, simply exchanges dark-skinned humans for green-skinned aliens, only with a slightly better outcome. But many offer potent reminders that, as N.K. Jemisin put it in her incendiary Hugo Award acceptance speech last year, “Science fiction and fantasy are microcosms of the wider world, in no way rarefied from the world’s pettiness or prejudice.” ...

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/07/18/universe-of-ones-own-women-science-fiction/
 

James_H

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Maybe the Chinese should read Nineteen Eight-Four, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Animal Farm...
It's worth seeking out a volume called 'invisible planets', a collection of contemporary Chinese SF short stories translated by Ken Liu. Certainly for the time being writers are getting away with writing dystopias.

The flip side of that is that liu cixin's work implies that totalitarianism is necessary for the world of the future. He's seen as the generation above the current crop of young SF writers in China though.

I met some Chinese SF writers once, and apart from the surprise that they were all beautiful young women (goes against my stereotypes), a lot of them seemed to have jobs with companies like tencent, presumably as 'ideas guys'.

The Chinese SF scene sprung out of Chengdu, where a magazine called 'science fiction world' is published. In its early days it reprinted (unauthorized) translations of classic short stories from Western writers, which had a big influence on the next generation of Chinese writers.

On an unrelated note I've finally started reading gene Wolfe's book of the new sun. Only a hundred pages in but I love it. So far it reminds me of the shadowy, guildy world of Pratchett's ankh morpork books, but without the annoying jokes.
 

Mythopoeika

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The flip side of that is that liu cixin's work implies that totalitarianism is necessary for the world of the future. He's seen as the generation above the current crop of young SF writers in China though.
It's probably true, looking at the logic, that the only way to have something important done (environment, population) is to have it imposed on people.

On an unrelated note I've finally started reading gene Wolfe's book of the new sun. Only a hundred pages in but I love it. So far it reminds me of the shadowy, guildy world of Pratchett's ankh morpork books, but without the annoying jokes.
It's a great set of works. Wolfe was a genius.
 

Coal

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On an unrelated note I've finally started reading gene Wolfe's book of the new sun. Only a hundred pages in but I love it. So far it reminds me of the shadowy, guildy world of Pratchett's ankh morpork books, but without the annoying jokes.
It's a great set of works. Wolfe was a genius.
Yes and yes.
 
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