Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

China's William Gibson is a sci-fi writer wrestling with problems from pollution to patriarchy

Chen Qiufan [陈楸帆], born in nearby Shantou city, learned about Guiyu’s environmental nightmare from a friend working in the electronics recycling industry. In his debut novel The Waste Tide (2013) [荒潮], 36-year-old Chen turns Guiyu into “Silicon Isle,” a homophone of the village’s name in Chinese. In the cyberpunkish wasteland, migrant workers dismantle prosthetic limbs, eyes, and even heads dumped by rich people, who can upgrade their body parts much like we upgrade our iPhones.


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