Leading voices in the Chinese science fiction realm are championing the integration of traditional culture into futuristic narratives. They believe that this unique blend of ancient values and forward-thinking perspectives will not only set Chinese sci-fi apart but also elevate its position on the global stage.
Han Song, a celebrated Chinese science fiction writer with multiple Galaxy and Nebula Awards to his name, passionately voiced this viewpoint at the World Science Fiction Convention. For Han, the richness and depth of Chinese sci-fi come from the harmonious marriage of age-old traditions with the pulse of modern civilization. “Chinese science fiction flourishes when we thread our age-old traditions into the fabric of futuristic tales,” he noted.
He further elaborated that while many popular Chinese science fiction stories do indeed tackle challenges faced by the nation, they also resonate with global audiences due to their universality. The overarching themes often align with worldwide concerns, thereby making them relatable to a broader audience.
Han firmly believes that for Chinese science fiction to be acknowledged and revered internationally, it needs to bring forth innovative “Chinese solutions” to global quandaries. “Presenting the world with distinctive Chinese perspectives on issues, from environmental challenges to space exploration, can lead to fresh insights and perhaps unexpected solutions,” Han expressed.
Han belongs to an elite group of Chinese authors, including luminaries like Liu Cixin, renowned for his groundbreaking “Three-Body Problem,” Wang Jinkang, a lifetime achievement awardee of the Nebula, and He Xi, a multiple-time Galaxy Award recipient. These authors have not only made a mark domestically but have also gained international acclaim. Han also noted the rising wave of younger Chinese sci-fi writers who come from diverse backgrounds, from academia to governance. This, he believes, is expanding the scope and depth of Chinese science fiction like never before.
Echoing Han’s sentiments, He Xi foresees the new generation of sci-fi enthusiasts in China playing a pivotal role in propelling the country’s scientific advancements. “As the youth immerse themselves in the burgeoning science fiction culture and nurture a genuine passion for science and technology, they’re poised to achieve milestones that outshine those of their predecessors,” He remarked.
Adding an international perspective, acclaimed Canadian sci-fi writer Robert Sawyer, a laureate of esteemed Hugo and Nebula awards, advised aspiring Chinese authors to tread their own path instead of mimicking Western narratives. “Craft your tales, deeply rooted in China’s millennia-old history and culture,” he suggested during a session at the WorldCon.
Sawyer continued, “Given the vast and rich cultural backdrop and the sheer number of voices waiting to be heard, the influence of Chinese stories has the potential to resonate profoundly with global audiences.”
In sum, the consensus among both national and international authors is clear: As Chinese sci-fi draws from its profound cultural wellspring and addresses global issues, it stands poised to captivate and inspire readers worldwide.