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Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Science…

Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction (original: 2021; edição: 2021)

de Xueting Christine Ni (Autor)

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734363,632 (3.56)9
Presents a collection of the best Chinese science fiction stories from thirteen writers, translated into English for the first time.
Título:Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction
Autores:Xueting Christine Ni (Autor)
Informação:Solaris (2021), Edition: 1st, 608 pages
Coleções:Lista de desejos

Informações da Obra

Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction de Xueting Christine Ni (Editor) (2021)


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Exibindo 4 de 4
Not a must read, but a should read for SF fans. There a a few stories in the collection that are good, but either hampered by translation or not resonating with my cultural conditioning, nothing that I found outstandingly memorable. And many are quite pedestrian by US SF standards. Again, I think it takes a genius translator to transform Chinese into English and capture or create a style that carries the stories as high as they can go, and these translations fell more in the serviceable to lovely range. ( )
  quondame | Aug 22, 2022 |
Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction, is a new collection of short stories from Chinese scifi authors, presenting new futures and worlds. All the stories have been curated and translated in English by Xueting Christine Ni. Every time I noticed connections to Chinese history and culture, these made the stories richer for me, but I don’t think a reader would need to have a background in Chinese lit to read and enjoy this collection.

I really enjoyed Gu Shi’s story The Last Save, about a future technology that allows saving and rebooting our lives to go back and redo mistakes. This premise is so intriguing, asking what if we could undo a past choice and live a new life? When we look back on our lives with this ability to save and restart, we’d all be able to choose a different major and end up in a different career, to live in a different city, or maybe realize our hometown was the right place, to break up with that loser three years earlier. We could save before a major life choice, like accepting a new job or starting a new relationship, and have an easy respawn out if it didn’t work out. And the way it affects our characters and their lives is fascinating.

A Que’s story, Flower of the Other Shore adds a twist on the ol’ zombie tropes. I know, I know, after decades of zombie stories, I didn’t think there was any water left in that well either, but A Que found some. Perhaps by leaning into the Hollywood tropes and then subverting them in the apocalypse? This is a gristly story and a surprisingly moving one, with moments of humor, too.

Each short story in Sinopticon ends with a note about the author’s background and context on the story. I mostly found this very interesting, since when I find an author I like, I often go on a mission to find the rest of their works. At times, these notes felt a bit heavyhanded, especially after some of the great stories. The story worked, so it’s not necessary to explain it to readers again. My Mandarin taps out at ordering food, so I was very interested in all the notes on translation and language choices, both in the footnotes in the text and in the end notes after the stories.

The standout for me in Sinopticon was The Great Migration, by Ma Boyong, a story of travelers trying to get home to Earth during the limited period when the orbits line up for a shorter trip, creating a new mass exodus for a new lunar celebrations. This story recalls distinctly Chinese aspects of the desperate crush and shady business around getting tickets home for CNY, but anyone who’s ever waited at an airport will recognize elements. Should I use a bit of my precious carry-on space for a snack? Or pay $18 for a mediocre airport sandwich? How much of my time off will I spend waiting for my connection? Am I ever going to make it home? The world here felt wildly hostile, but also very believable.

Those are just a few of the stories that I particularly enjoyed, there are other great ones too. With any collection, not every story can be my favorite. I love the wild worlds that good science fiction suggests, but I also need to care about my characters. So the stories in Sinopticon that fell a bit flat for me usually had interesting worlds or situations, but without engaging characters in them.

Overall, this was a fascinating look at possible future worlds, through a Chinese lens.
  TheFictionAddiction | May 8, 2022 |
The Publisher Says: A stunning collection of the best in Chinese Science Fiction, from Award-Winning legends to up-and-coming talent, all translated here into English for the first time.

This celebration of Chinese Science Fiction — thirteen stories, all translated for the first time into English — represents a unique exploration of the nation’s speculative fiction from the late 20th Century onwards, curated and translated by critically acclaimed writer and essayist Xueting Christine Ni.

From the renowned Jiang Bo’s ‘Starship: Library' to Regina Kanyu Wang’s ‘The Tide of Moon City, and Anna Wu’s ‘Meisje met de Parel', this is a collection for all fans of great fiction.

Award winners, bestsellers, screenwriters, playwrights, philosophers, university lecturers and computer programmers, these thirteen writers represent the breadth of Chinese SF, from new to old: Gu Shi, Han Song, Hao Jingfang, Nian Yu, Wang Jinkang, Zhao Haihong, Tang Fei, Ma Boyong, Anna Wu, A Que, Bao Shu, Regina Kanyu Wang and Jiang Bo.


My Review
: China's gargantuan economy, and its borning confidence in its increasing influence translating to wider power, is on display in its "kehuan" (science fiction) writers' concerns. This collection, admirably balanced between unpublished-in-the-West and still-gaining-followers-here writers, does what I suppose we all need: Introduces us to the Chinese view of the world, and its future, without the burden of Geopolitical Maneuvering landing on it.

One thing the editor says in her introduction struck me forcibly: Chinese fiction doesn't tend to have happy endings. Well, having read this collection, I can attest to the truth of that. I've said many times and in many places that adulthood is the time of life when there are no unmixed emotions. By that measure, Chinese kehuan/science fiction is very adult. I can think of no story, or character in a story, here that has unmixed or unmitigated happiness or success in present life or anticipation of future life. It simply is not part of the cultural furniture, it would seem; if you're particularly sensitive to this, as in you really, really need hopeful, positive futures, you're in the wrong space.

The payoff to this is that the stories feel...probable. Unlike Western SF, with its doom/gloom/dystopia or happy-bunnies-everywhere dichotomy, these mixed-up emotional cores feel like the real world to me...even when they're speculating wildly. I find it relatable to have a range of emotions that's confined to the, um, downbeat end but not focused on absolute chaos and dissolution of structures. Reality tends towards messy muddling through. So do most of these stories.

Please see the story-by-story notes and ratings at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. ( )
1 vote richardderus | Nov 10, 2021 |
Sinopticon 2021 is a fascinating new look into a rich and vibrant world of speculative fiction that remains largely unfamiliar to Anglophone readers. I hadn't read a great deal of Chinese SF before this collection, but I'll be actively seeking it out from now on.

The 13 stories in this collection engage both with tropes and notes familiar to readers of Western SF and with ideas perhaps more specific to Chinese culture, literature, and society. The result is a set of stories that both feel familiar enough to immediately engage an Anglophone SF reader and fresh enough to not be completely predictable.

As in any short story collection, particularly one featuring work by multiple authors, some of these stories grabbed me more than others. Two particular highlights for me were "Flowers of the Other Shore"--a poignant and ultimately hopeful love story set against the backdrop of zombie apocalypse--and "Starship: Library", a wonderfully touching meditation on artificial intelligence, purpose, life, death, and the eternal value of books, reading, and learning. None of the stories were uninteresting, though, and thanks to all of them being translated by the same person--Xueting Christine Ni--the collection feels satisfyingly cohesive.

In all, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading Sinopticon 2021, and I'll be looking out for more translated work by these and other Chinese SF authors. I would highly recommend this book to any fan of short science fiction.

I received a free e-ARC of this collection via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  inquisitrix | Aug 10, 2021 |
Exibindo 4 de 4
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Ni, Xueting ChristineEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bao, ShuContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gu ShiContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
HaiHong, ZhaoContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Han, SongContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hao JingfangContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Jiang, BoContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Kanyu Wang, ReginaContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Ma BoyongContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Nian, YuContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Que, AContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Tang, FeiContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Wang, JinkangContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Wu, AnnaContribuinteautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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