The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation from a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators, edited by Yu Chen, Regina Kanyu Wang, et al

From an award-winning team of authors, editors, and translators comes a groundbreaking short story collection that explores the expanse of Chinese science fiction and fantasy.

In The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, you can dine at a restaurant at the end of the universe, cultivate to immortality in the high mountains, watch roses perform Shakespeare, or arrive at the island of the gods on the backs of giant fish to ensure that the world can bloom.

Written, edited, and translated by a female and nonbinary team, these stories have never before been published in English and represent both the richly complicated past and the vivid future of Chinese science fiction and fantasy.

Time travel to a winter’s day on the West Lake, explore the very boundaries of death itself, and meet old gods and new heroes in this stunning new collection.

*****

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

Review:

We’re getting two different collections of translated short story collections within a single year! What a blessed time to be Chinese diaspora. The Way Spring Arrives covers a broad array of topics, from hard sci-fi stories like ‘A Brief History of Beinakan Disasters as Told in a Sinitic Language’, more traditional xianxia style works like ‘The Tale of Wude’s Heavenly Tribulation’, and stories that seamlessly blend the two together.

My personal favorites of this collection both fall under the last category. ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Tai-Chi Mashed Taro’ by Anna Wu, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan crosses the worlds of Douglas Adams with a historical Ming dynasty setting. Initially whimsical, the tone switch to somber reflective piece left me with a surprising feeling of melancholy. The book’s title story, ‘The Way Spring Arrives’ by Wang Nuonuo, translated by Rebecca F Kuang, retells the scientific mechanisms of a seasonal shift from winter to spring, seamlessly integrating the Chinese mythological pantheon.

For me, the highlights of this collection weren’t the stories themselves, but the essays on CN->EN (and vice versa) translation, the history of SFF in China (and the rise of webnovels), considerations of gender in translation, and more, spliced between the short stories. For anyone interested in the history and the impact of webnovels in China, Xueting Christine Ni’s essay ‘Net Novels and the ‘She Era’: How Internet Novels Opened the Door for Female Readers and Writers in China” gives a detailed run-through. Since I do heavily read translated CN webnovels, the art of translation and the different considerations translators factor into their work has been an interest of mine and these essays were extremely thought-provoking. One particular quote that really stuck in my mind follows:

By staying absolutely true to the stereotypes that such gendered adjectives impose, are we as translators also complicit in reinforcing those stereotypes? Can actively ungendering those gendered adjectives be counted as pushing against gender roles, or is that siply butchering the original text and language?

“Is There Such a Thing as Feminine Quietness? A Cognitive Linguistics Perspective” by Emily Xueni Jin

Overall, I rate this book a 4.5/5. The Way Spring Arrives encompasses a dazzling array of Chinese Science Fiction, curated and authored by female and non-binary creators, and includes essays giving insight into the history of Chinese SFF and translation processes.


r/Fantasy 2021-22 Bingo Squares:

  • Set in Asia (hard mode)
  • SFF related nonfic

Publication Date: 8 March 2022
Publisher: Tor.com
Format: ebook, ARC
Pages: 400
Word Count: ~105,000
ISBN: 1250768918 
Buy It Here: Amazon | Google Books | Barnes and Nobles | Goodreads

One thought on “The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation from a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators, edited by Yu Chen, Regina Kanyu Wang, et al

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