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!
I want to know more details from the event. Pictures too, please
Joy Ma, October 10, 2010, 12:25a.m.
Chinese speakers can read Han Song's blog post, non-Chinese-speakers can look at the pictures.
I swear I have been digitally magnified to appear larger than I actually am.
Eric Abrahamsen, October 10, 2010, 3:55p.m.
Yes, and do give some suggestions of good scifi-novels as well!
Anna GC, October 12, 2010, 8:19p.m.
If the three writers from that night are anything to judge by, and I'll warrant they are, the thing to read is the Three Body (三体) trilogy by Liu Cixin (刘慈欣). Liu Cixin had actually agreed to attend this talk, but pulled out at the last minute because of work.
All three writers referred to Liu multiple times during the talk; he's clearly what's going on. Han Song had read an advance copy of the third book in the trilogy, which hasn't been published yet, and very casually dropped references to it during his talk, eliciting actual moans from the audience, and once a shout of "抗议啊！". People are really excited about Liu Cixin.
Eric Abrahamsen, October 13, 2010, 4:28p.m.