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FACTOR DAILY(2019.1.12):
Telling the China Story: The Rise and Riseof Chinese Science Fiction

讲好中国故事: 不断崛起的中国科幻小说



“Science fictionis as rare as unicorn horns, which shows in a way the intellectual poverty ofour times”, wrote Lu Xun, one of China’s most towering and revered literaryfigures, writing about science fiction literature in China in his preface tohis 1903 translation of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon.

"科幻小说像独角兽的角一样稀有,在某种程度上反映了我们这个时代的知识贫乏," 中国最杰出、最受尊敬的文学家之一鲁迅在1903年翻译儒勒 •凡尔纳的《从地球到月球》的序言中写道。(原文为“于科学小说,乃如麟角。智识荒隘,此实一端”)

The beginnings of modern Chinese sciencefiction first took root during the period of the Late Qing Dynasty, not justthrough translations of western science fiction but also with Chinese authorssuch as the scholar and reformist, Liang Qichao’s 1902 futuristic tale,TheFuture of New China, which was set in 1962 and depicted a world in whichShanghai hosts the World’s Fair, and a geopolitically dominant China hasdeveloped a multi-party system and westerners study Chinese in hopes ofimproving their life. The other significant science fiction story that isconsidered by many to be ‘Chinas first true science fiction story’ was Colonyof the Moon by an anonymous author, known only by his pseudonym, HuangjiangDiaosou. The purpose of all these stories of those times was simple, topopularise science and spark imagination and critical thinking.

中国现代科幻小说萌芽于清朝末年,这不仅得益于西方科幻小说的译入,中国本土作家同样功不可没。比如,著名学者、改革家梁启超1902年发表了未来主义小说《新中国未来记》,故事发生在1962年,那时的上海将举办世博会,西方人纷纷学起汉语以期改善他们的生活。另一部影响深远的科幻小说是荒江钓叟所著的《月球殖民地》,许多人认为这是“中国第一篇真正意义上的科幻小说”。当时这些科幻小说的创作目的都很简单,就是为了传播科学、激发想象力、培养批判性思维。



Once again, it wasn’t till years later – inthe late 1970s – that science fiction would flower again in China. a large bodyof SF emerged during this period, most notably Ye Yonglie’s Little Know-It-allTravels the Future, archaeologist and anthropologist Tong Enzheng’s Death Ray on a Coral Island and ZhengWenguang’sFlying to Sagittarius (also translated as Forward Sagittarius).

20世纪70年代末,科幻小说再度在中国复兴。当时涌现了大批科幻小说,其中代表作品有叶永烈的《小灵通漫游未来》,童恩正创作的《珊瑚岛上的死光》,以及郑文光的《飞向人马座》。

It was only to be in the early 1990s whenChinese science fiction would enter an uninterrupted golden age, and leadingthe charge would be writers: Wang Jiankang, Han Song and Liu Cixin, the authorof The Three-Body Problem, the novel that was instrumental in opening thefloodgates of Chinese SF to the English-speaking (and reading) world and thewriter of The Wandering Earth, on which the film billed as China’s breakoutsci-fi blockbuster is based on. A name most often added to this list is that ofHe Xi, the pseudonym of an as-yet-anonymous author, to make it the ‘Big 4’ of Chinese science fiction.

上个世纪90年代,中国的科幻文学步入了一个不间断的黄金时代。王晋康、韩松、以及《三体》和《流浪地球》的作者刘慈欣扛起了科幻文学的大旗。《三体》为英语世界读者打开了中国科幻小说的大门,而根据《流浪地球》改编的电影则被视为中国科幻电影元年到来的标志。此外,何夕的名字也常在其列,他们四人合称中国科幻界的“四大天王”。



As the writer Chen Quifan said in a speechat the eighth Chinese Nebula Awards in November 2017, saying that one of thepurpose of Chinese science fiction was to, “advance the establishment of thepower of the international spread of the culture of socialism with Chinesecharacteristics, in order to tell the China story.”

正如陈楸帆在2017年第八届华语科幻星云奖颁奖典礼上所说,中国科幻小说创作的目的之一便是“推动中国特色社会主义文化在国际上的传播,向世界讲好中国故事。”