The first volume of the book Chinese Science Fiction: An Oral History, edited by Mr. Yang Feng, the founder of the sci-fi start-up Baguangfen Culture, was recently published. The book is a collection of interviews with leading Chinese sci-fi authors, which presents the five decades of difficult but glorious history of Chinese sci-fi, as well as the passion and resilience of Chinese sci-fi authors.
Chinese Science Fiction: An Oral History, published by Chengdu Times of Chengdu Media Group
In an interview, Yang Feng introduces that the book consists of three volumes, all of which are expected to be published before the World Science Fiction Convention in Chengdu in 2023 (WorldCon 2023), "This work is our tribute to this year's WorldCon."
In the first volume, Yang Xiao, Tan Kai, Liu Shahe, Wang Jinkang, Wu Yan, Liu Cixin, and Yao Haijun, among others, tells the bumpy road of Chinese sci-fi has gone through. For example, how did Yang Xiao, then president of the Science Fiction World, turn the magazine from the brink of collapse into the world's largest science fiction magazine during the downturn of China's sci-fi? How did sci-fi author Wang Jinkang save the field at a time when Chinese science fiction was in decline? When five American and Russian astronauts visited China, what memorable souvenirs did Tan Kai prepare for them?
In addition, the book also documents the interesting behind-the-scene stories of Chinese sci-fi authors - it is hard to imagine that intellectuals such as Liu Shahe wrote science fiction novels; and that Wu Yan, who is now prominent in the field of science fiction education, was also a sci-fic writer. How did Yao Haijun, whom Liu Cixin called "China's John W. Campbell," rise from a forestry worker to the one who discovers the Three Bodies Problem? What will Liu Cixin, who has produced landmark work in sci-fi, writes about next?
This is actually not the first time that Yang Feng’s team has written an oral history of Chinese sci-fi based on author interviews. In 2016, Baguangfen Culture was founded in Chengdu, and the team began their first book project, “Dream Chasers: An Oral History for Science Fiction in Sichuan," in which they interviewed ten renowned science fiction authors based in Chengdu of Sichuan Province. Six years later, three senior authors interviewed (Zhou Mengpu, Liu Shahe, and Wang Xiaoda) have already passed away. Yang Feng’s team therefore conducted another swift "rescue" interview to present a valuable and vivid picture of the history of Chinese sci-fi to fans around the world.
According to Yang Feng, in the next two volumes, authors such as Han Song, Wang Mailin, Du Jian, Xiao Jianheng, Wei Yahua, and Meng Qingshu will be interviewed. With at least seven people in each volume, the series will conclude with interviews of 21 Chinese sci-fi authors "Currently, about three-quarters of the interviews has already been conducted, but we have not yet reached some science fiction writers living abroad yet." Yang Feng said that in addition to the text, Chinese Science Fiction: An Oral History is expected to have links to videos of the interviews in the future, demonstrating a more vivid development process of Chinese sci-fi.