Science Fiction in China

Science fiction serves as a kind of mirror for how a society sees itself in the future. So what future do Chinese sci-fi writers envision in the far-off yet-to-come? And what role does China play in that future? Do contemporary Chinese writers see a harmonious utopia? Or are they more concerned with the prospects of dystopian collapse? These are the questions raised in this week’s edition of Sinica, which takes a closer look at the state of sci-fi in China.

1979 cover of <em>Science Fiction World</em>, then named <em>Science Literature</em>.

Joining Kaiser this week is longtime Sinica stalwart Gady Epstein, who also happens to be the Beijing bureau chief for Forbes magazine. With them we have two genuine experts on Chinese science fiction. Our first guest is Stanley Chen (Chen Qiufan), Google employee and one of the leading new generation of Chinese science fiction writers. Joel Martinsen, one of the most informed Americans on the Chinese science fiction scene, is also in our studio to talk about what sets Chinese sci-fi apart from its Western counterpart.