Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

Readers set the critics right at Worldcon 75

On day 2 of Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, I finally got to have a word with one of the “insider” attendees, which provided me with more of an eye-opener than the presenter himself had done. As part of a session on Chinese Science Fiction (SF), Eero Suoranta (University of Helsinki, Finland) presented his Ph.D. Study, The Inadequacy of Enlightenment Rationality in Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem. This was just after Prof. Mingwei Song had put forth his compelling arguments about making “the invisible” part of the real world. Continue reading

How Chinese SF writers deal with “the invisible” – Worldcon 75

One of Prof. Song’s slides. He ignores the conventions for Powerpoint presentations but his ideas are very interesting.

Day 2 of Worldcon 75 delivered an Academic Track session that was on par, at least in terms of content, if not presentation, with the latest ideas and findings in Chinese Science Fiction (SF), one of the sub-genres of SF that I find particularly interesting and puzzling. Mingwei Song (Wellesley College, USA) presented on Poetics and the Politics of “the Invisible” –  Science, Science Fiction, and Realism in China, 1890s-1920s. The one idea that he conveyed clearly is that in China, SF is a “marginalized, hidden genre”, which, despitue its lowly status, has become “a vehicle for conveying messages that are beyond popular interpretations”, particularly about subjects that are contrary to, or not part of, the Chinese government’s prevalent “Chinese Dream” of prosperity, stability and happiness. Continue reading