In the 1950s, America's burgeoning space program goosed the science fiction writers and fans who'd already been enthusiastic and optimistic about space, sparking a frenzy of onward-and-upward-looking fiction. China's 2013 moonshot and taikonaut programs have had a similar effect on Chinese culture. Jeffrey Wasserstrom's "year in Chinese science fiction" is an eye-opening and exciting look at the way that Space Race 2.0 is creating science fictional narratives in China, and the English-language opportunities to peer in at it (like Tor Books's forthcoming translation of Liu Cixin’s bestselling "Three-Body Trilogy"):
In 2012, Renditions, the world’s leading periodical devoted to translations from Chinese into English, brought out a fascinating special double-issue that divided its attention between early sci-fi from the final years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and contemporary stories in the genre.
This spring, Pathlight, a Beijing-based periodical specializing in literary translation, devoted most of an issue to new works of Chinese SF.
Over the summer, Tor Books announced that it would be bringing out an English language edition of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Trilogy, a wildly popular series that has sold over 400,000 copies in Chinese.
Early this fall, Penguin reissued Cat Country, making use of a 1970 translation by William Lyell and including as well an excellent new introduction by Ian Johnson.
2013 was also the year that Science Fiction Studies, the leading American scholarly journal in the field, issued its first special issue on China; it includes articles by academics based in different parts of the world as well pieces by Liu Cixin and two other contemporary Chinese science fiction writers, Han Song and Yan Wu.
The Year in Chinese Science—And Science Fiction
[Jeffrey Wasserstrom/Daily Beast]
The first time Merle Rasmussen played Dungeons & Dragons, he thought it was a Halloween game.
“It was October 1975, and I was an 18-year-old freshman at Iowa State University. My roommate got this game filled with skeletons and undead monsters. I had no idea.” The role-playing bug had bitten him, but fantasy wasn’t his genre. So that same year, he started writing a game set in a modern world, the spy game that would become Top Secret.
Janelle Shane trained a recurrent neural network with a data-set of more than 2000 ancient proverbs and asked it to think up its own: “A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day.”
Jeff writes, “7 years after ‘grassroots mapping’ the BP spill when journalists were denied access, the open source community Public Lab is back with an even more accessible Do-It-Yourself way to take aerial photos: the Mini Balloon and Kite Mapping Kits.”
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]