On February 19, the Chinese welcomed the first day of the New Year. So, first I’d love to deliver the warmest greetings to you all. Wish you a best Year of Ram/Sheep/Goat!
As you may know, during the Spring Festival, almost all Chinese return to their hometown and celebrate a 7-day vacation with their family, whom they haven’t seen for the past year. This means, Chinese fans are separated in every corner of the country, making it impossible for face-to-face gatherings as usual. However, we have the internet and common interest, which connects everyone together.
Sharing the Joy of Nebula Nomination
The first big news in the Chinese New Year is that i The Three-Body Problem has been nominated for the Nebula Awards. As the only translated work among the nominees of Best Novel this year, The Three-Body Problem honors both the author Liu Cixin and the translator Ken Liu. All the Chinese SF people are excited about the news as well as proud of Da Liu and Xiao Liu.
The Three-Body Problem is the first book of the trilogy, which won huge popularity among science fiction fans in China. Many mundane people, even celebrities jumped into the world of Three-Body, causing a Three-Body phenomenon. ETO – Earth Three-body Organization in the trilogy – came into reality as a loose fandom. There are so-called ETO branches in different cities in China, whose members sometimes organize gatherings. Many people put Three-Body before their ID on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Fans of the Three-Body trilogy also create fan music, cosplay characters in the trilogy, and even make animations of Three-Body using the computer game Minecraft. There is no limit to fans’ creation. Commercial investment is also attracted by the great potential of the trilogy. Yoozoo, the movie company of a close relationship with Youzu Interactive, a Chinese game company, invested in the Three-Body movie project. A Three-Body forum, www.3body.com, was established by Yoozoo, inviting fans to discuss the book and other sf subjects online.
Curious about why the Three-Body is so popular in China? Read the English version of The Three-Body Problem and find out by yourself.
Reading Latest Good Stories
The World Chinese Science Fiction Association is proud of its honored member Liu Cixin. But we are not so self-centered. The official website of the association, www.wcsfa.com is also working hard to introduce foreign sf news and stories into China. Chinese translations of The Magician and Laplace’s Demon by Tom Crosshill was published on the website just a few days after the announcement of their Nebula nomination. This is a New Year gift to the Chinese fans. What could be better than the latest Nebula nominated story available in the mother tongue?
In China, the New Year does not end until after the 15th of the first lunar month, which is March 5th in the western calendar this year. Though most people will have already started working by then, the fans have something to expect after work. The latest SFComet competition will release its entries before the New Year ends. Five short stories under the same theme will be published on the competition platform.
SFComet is an international short story competition, held every month. It is fan organized and fan sponsored. 5 writers from both the domestic and international markets are invited to write a story with limited length within 10 days. Award-winning writers such as Nancy Kress, Ken Liu and Mike Resnick have participated in the previous competition. All works written in English will be translated into Chinese and published together with the Chinese ones, with the authors’ names concealed. Chinese readers then vote for their favorite to decide the winner. There are plans for the Chinese entries to be translated into English for the international readers as well in the near future. If you are interested in the competition, which is a good chance to meet Chinese readers, find more information here: www.sfcomet.com
I also participated in the February match as an author, together with 4 other distinguished authors from all over the world. I am looking forward to reading all the stories just as much as the other fans!
Attending Online Activities
Shanghai becomes quite empty during the Chinese New Year. Our monthly gathering turned out to be impossible because everyone had gone back to their hometown. However, we had other solutions.
SF AppleCore organized two online events during the Spring Festival vacation.
On the 5th day of the Chinese New Year (February 23rd), we held an AppleCore Spring Festival Gala. All the performers and audience are AppleCore members. Singing, reading, musical instrument performances and games. We enjoyed an entertaining night via software enabling multiple participants to hear each other simultaneously.
More than 50 participants showed up.
On the 6th (February 24th), a special online activity of the AppleCore Reading Group was held. This enabled fans living in other cities, who had never had an opportunity to attend AppleCore events before, to “meet” us for the first time! Unlike the usual off-line activity of the reading group, in which more emphasis is laid on discussion, the online activity is designed to be a “reading” night. All the performers read aloud. Since it is the Year of the Sheep, the theme of the activity is AppleCore Dreams of Electric Sheep. Sheep, festivals, spring and rain were chosen as topics. Scripts from Blade Runner, paragraphs from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by PKD, Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy by Xia Jia, The Man Who Watched the Sea by Yasumi Kobayashi, There Will Come Soft Rains and The Long Rain by Ray Bradbury as well as several other stories were read by the performers. Xia Jia recorded the last paragraphs of the New Year’s Eve in her works for the online event and also showed up later. Another Chinese sf writer, Chen Qiufan, also sent his New Year greetings and the recording of paragraphs from his novel Waste Tide to the activity. We’re guessing that having a good voice is an essential for a science fiction writer in China