Sinopticon 2021: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction, translated and edited by Xueting Christine Ni

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.

*****

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Review:

I’m always excited to see more Chinese literature make its way into Western canon and Sinopticon, a sci-fi short story collection from a whole host of Chinese authors curated by Xueting Christine Ni, makes an excellent addition. What I love about this collection that I’ve yet to encounter in single-author short story anthologies is the sheer breadth of story and topic. Chinese science fiction, or Kēhuàn, has tended to lean more into the hard science as this collection shows, but Ni has found some extremely interesting “softer” stories as well. Perhaps my favorite component of this collection is not actually the stories themselves (which are excellent) but the author bios Ni adds at the end of each short, briefly explaining the author’s background, their plethora of awards and recognitions, as well as the cultural ties of each story and why she picked that particular story in a collection representing Chinese science fiction to the West. For me, the absolute standout in this collection was ‘Flower of the Other Short’, by A Que: a surprisingly humorous post-apocalyptic zombie story about zombie sign language, deep philosophical discussions of art, and Brad Pitt. Other favorites included ‘Starship: Library’ by Jiang Bo, about an intergalactic librarian, her starfleet of books, and the nightmare of every zoning agent, and ‘Qiankun and Alex’ by Hao Jingfang, about an AI and a young boy who learn life lessons from each other. Overall, I rate this book a 4/5


r/Fantasy 2021-22 Bingo Squares:

  • Five Short Stories (hard mode)
  • Set in Asia (hard mode)
  • Published in 2021

Publication Date: 9 November 2021
Publisher: Solaris
Format: eBook, ARC
Pages: 448
Word Count: ~114,000
ISBN: 1781088527 
Buy It Here: Amazon | Google Books | Barnes and Nobles | Goodreads

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