By Eric Abrahamsen, published
Just got back from another of the Get It Louder literary events, this one on science fiction, featuring Han Song, Pan Haitian and Fei Dao. There will be a proper post on this at some point, but I needed to say that after tonight's event I feel more hopeful about the future of Chinese literature than I have in years. Who says that science fiction/fantasy is only good for escapism? Over the course of two hours we got: the Communist ideal as science fiction; designs for anti-urban-demolition weaponry, to be distributed to the populace; both internet firewall technology and anti-firewall-technology as China's two greatest inventions since the compass; correlations drawn between The Matrix and Lu Xun; multiple references to Liu Xiaobo's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize.
I have never heard any Chinese writers speak as incisively or as passionately about the Chinese condition as did these few sci-fi writers tonight. Perhaps the burden of "speaking for the country" has proved too weighty for those designated as China's "serious" authors; at any rate these sci-fi writers, charged with nothing more than entertaining themselves and their readers, came out with all the intelligence and ferocity that we've been missing these many years… If this is how it's going to be done, then bring it on!