An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese SF

Dear List Members,

We are happy to announce the publication of The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese Science Fiction by Columbia University Press. Theodore Huters and I spent years working on this project, together with a group of excellent translators and scholars. The CUP webpage for the book is here:

The anthology features some of the most important works by science fiction writers Liu Cixin, Han Song, Chen Qiufan, Egoyan Zheng, Chi Hui, Xia Jia, as well as by writers experimenting with science fiction motifs and elements, such as Lo Yi-chin, and Dung Kai-cheung.

We are most grateful to our contributors, translators, editors, and so many people who have helped us work on this project. Thank you!

Mingwei Song <> and Theodore Huters

New English translation of Three Kingdoms

Source: China Daily (8/17/18)
Chinese classic gets new English translation
By BO LEUNG | China Daily

Martin Palmer has translated the Chinese classic, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A new translation of the celebrated historical epic, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, has been completed.

The novel, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is based on real-life historical figures and events. The story dramatizes the lives of feudal lords and their retainers toward the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).

Martin Palmer, whose work includes the English adaptations of The Book of Chuang Tzu and The Most Venerable Book, was tasked with translating the Chinese classic. Continue reading

Hao Ran’s “At Dusk”

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Richard King’s translation of “At Dusk” (傍晚, 1959), by Hao Ran 浩然, as part of our online publication series. The translation appears below and online at:


Kirk Denton, editor

At Dusk

By Hao Ran 浩然 [1]

Translated by Richard King

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August 2018)

Hao Ran, circa 1960. Source: 

As the sun set over the Western Hills, evening clouds tinted the vivid green of the vegetable allotment with their peach-hued light. The little courtyard was filled with enchanting colors.

The girl came up, walking along the dike between the fields. Her bright eyes carefully scanned the vegetable patch as she took a short-handled hoe from the low wattle fence and squatted down to scuffle the soil around the autumn cucumber shoots.

Her home was just by the fence, and there were people chattering in the courtyard. She didn’t need to listen to know what they were talking about. Amused, she pursed her lip in a wry smile. Unfortunately, she was inattentive in her work, her mind swirling back and forth like turbulent waters. Images flashed before her eyes like the shapes in a kaleidoscope. Her hand slipped, and the hoe broke off a sturdy cucumber shoot. Upset and annoyed, she flung down the hoe and slumped down on a clump of grass by the dike. Continue reading

A Hero Born review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of David Hull’s review of A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor I (MacLehose 2018), by Jin Yong, translated by Anna Holmwood. The review appears below and online at My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor I

By Jin Yong

Translated by Anna Holmwood

Reviewed by David Hull
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2018)

Jin Yong. A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes I Tr. Anna Holmwood. London: MacLehose Press, 2018. 416pp £14.99 ISBN 9780857053008.

Anna Holmwood’s new translation of Jin Yong’s novel A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes I (射雕英雄傳) is a significant and well-crafted addition to the Chinese canon in English. This is a long overdue translation of a key work of martial arts fiction, a novel that has broad cultural importance in China at least partly because it has been adapted multiple times for film and television.

Jin Yong, the pen name of Louis Cha, is universally known in the Chinese language world, and the influence of his books is difficult to overestimate. This book’s publisher seems to favor referring to him as the Chinese Tolkien, and perhaps that comes close to the mark. When people think of a fantasy setting, they usually imagine something not too far removed from Lord of the Rings or its derivations. And yet Jin Yong is even more ubiquitous in the Chinese-speaking world than Tolkien in the English world. There is probably more than a bit of truth to the old joke that most Chinese students learn history not from textbooks, but from Jin Yong novels. I would add that, for many readers, his novels contribute to constructing broad conceptions of Chinese identity. Continue reading

The Book of Swindles review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Yinghui Wu’s review of The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (Columbia UP, 2017), by Zhang Yingyu, translated by Christoper Rea and Bruce Rusk. The review appears below and at My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

The Book of Swindles
Selections from a Late Ming Collection

By Zhang Yingyu

Translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk

Reviewed by Yinghui Wu
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2018)

Zhang Yingyu, The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection Trs. Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. xxxvi, 226 pp. $25. ISBN 978-0-231-17863-1 (paperback); $75, ISBN 9780231178624 (hardcover)

The Book of Swindles, by Zhang Yingyu 張應俞 (fl. 1612-17), is a collection of fascinating tales that speak to a common concern over time and across cultures—namely, anxiety about deception. A product of the publishing boom in seventeenth-century China, with a preface dated 1617, the book is “said to be the first Chinese story collection focused explicitly on the topic of fraud” (xiii). Ostensibly a manual for self-protection against scams, it belongs to a rich body of publications that promise to help their readers navigate the increasingly complex and perilous world of late Ming China.[1]Yet, this book serves equally well as a manual for swindlers (xiv).The author, also speaking as the commentator on his stories, often marvels at the crooks’ ingenuity while lamenting the moral decline of his age and blaming the victims for their folly or naïveté. The forty-four stories, elegantly translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk, offer a valuable source for specialists of late imperial China, as well as a good read for anyone looking for entertainment. Continue reading

English translations of Yu Xiuhua’s poems (1,2)

I don’t know any formal publication of her works in English, but if you go watch the documentary film called 摇摇晃晃的人间(Still Tomorrow), Yu read some poems by herself and the subtitles are in English.


Wei Yuan <>


The current issue (July 2018) of World Literature Today has my essay on Yu Xiuhua “A Life Lived in Poetry” which contains excepts of her poems in translation. In addition, Ming Di contributed the translations of two poems. You can have a limited viewing of both on

Dian Li <>

Before the Revolution

Source: NY Review of Books (6/7/18)
Before the Revolution
By Louisa Chiang and Perry Link

Little Reunions
by Eileen Chang, translated from the Chinese by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz
New York Review Books, 332 pp., $16.95

Forever Young
a film directed by Li Fangfang


Eileen Chang, Hong Kong, circa 1954

In 2012, as he ascended to the top of the Chinese Communist Party and its government, Xi Jinping began giving speeches about a “Chinese Dream”: China was to become wealthy, powerful, beautiful, and unified. Of these four goals, wealth and power were especially important because, in an official narrative that had been repeated for decades in schools and the media, China for too long had been bullied by Western powers.

The sense of national humiliation that has seeped into popular consciousness in China has, for many, led to a deep ambivalence toward the West: Chinese admire its wealth, modernity, and freedoms, yet we are rivals, not friends. China’s great modern writer Lu Xun (1881–1936) several times observed that his fellow Chinese look either up at the West or down on it—never straight across. The usual results are caricatures that further impede the possibility of getting a clear look. Continue reading

Lu Yao translation

Yu Zhang and Calvin Hui’s interview with Cai Xiang, published recently by MCLC Resource Center, pointed out the lack of translations of Lu Yao’s works into English. I thought I’d mention that my translation of Life《人生》by Lu Yao will be coming out in the spring with AmazonCrossing.


Chloe Estep <>

Contemporary Chinese Short-Short Stories review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Yan Liang’s review of Contemporary Chinese Short-Short Stories: A Parallel Text (Columbia UP, 2017), translated and edited by Aili Mu, with Mike Smith. The review appears below, but is best viewed online at: My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.

Enjoy, Kirk Denton, editor

Contemporary Chinese Short-Short Stories:
A Parallel Text

Translated and edited by Aili Mu with Mike Smith

Reviewed by Yan Liang
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2018)

Contemporary Chinese Short-Short Stories: A Parallel Text. Translated and edited by Aili Mu with Mike Smith. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. pp. 528. ISBN: 9780231181532 (paper); ISBN: 9780231181525 (hard cover); ISBN: 9780231543637 (e-book).

Contemporary Chinese Short-Short Stories (2018) is a parallel-text (Chinese-English) collection of Chinese short-short stories translated and edited by Aili Mu in collaboration with poet and essayist Mike Smith. It is a delightful read for anyone curious about contemporary Chinese society. The English translations of the stories are smooth and graceful, despite Mu’s conscious choice—for the pedagogical sake of Chinese language learners—of translating the text more literally than literarily. With the addition of the parallel Chinese text and the thoughtfully designed teaching materials, including introductory essays, glossaries, reading questions, and author biographies, the book makes an easy-to-use and much-needed textbook for teachers and advanced students of Chinese language and culture. Continue reading

Yi Sha poems


Chinese texts to the poems below are on my blog:


Yi Sha
DREAM 1065

My wife Old G. takes a rope,
ties up a crocodile’s mouth.
Very tight,
then she picks him up
and shoves him
into an iron cage.
In the cage
there are two other
tied-up crocodiles.
She says, “If you want pets,
you have to raise them this way.
Blows before words.
That little dog,
if you had
tied him up first,
he would be
our little dog now.”

May 2017
Translated by MW, June 2018

Yi Sha
DREAM 1066

Every village
in china
has a halfwit.
I spend the night in some village
and per accident kill their halfwit.
I am terrified,
and even more terrified
when they don’t notice
his disappearance at all.

I get off scot-free.

May 2017
Translated by MW, June 2018

Yi Sha
DREAM 1296

One fellow teacher
and shitty Mao-fan
jumps to his death.
Blood splatters the empty space
between university buildings.
I am shaken,
extremely surprised,
which goes to show
I never thought
their opposition
to the current dynasty
was the real thing.

Tr. MW, June 2018



June 2007, Poetry International Festival Rotterdam.
A Chinese from America who writes in English asks me,
“Who is the best poet in China now?”
“I”, I blurt out.

June 2018
Tr. MW, June 2018


In the face of this world-class stupid censorship system, the best method is to write a lot, to write very broadly and very well, till you are so fat you’re not afraid of them cutting off meat.

June 2018
Translated by MW, June 2018


Unlike you, my Kung-Fu guru is not Lu Xun’s brother Zhou Zuoren.
My Shifu’s surname is Liu.

June 2018
Translated by MW, June 2018


Rather than look at the way you guys preen yourself, let me preen myself too: Editing my new poetry collection, I have way too much material, first choice of everything is no good, I have to choose again, and cut away ruthlessly, otherwise the book gets too thick. So I get very edgy.

June 2018
Translated by MW, June 2018

Wandering Mind and Metaphysical Thoughts

Gao Xingjian 高行健
Wandering Mind and Metaphysical Thoughts 遊神與玄思
The Chinese University Press, 2018
Translated by Gilbert C F Fong 方梓勳

Gao Xingjian does not write many poems, but the ones he has written are real gems; they are snippets of his reflective moods. To those of us who know the man, he is poetry incarnate, with the essential purity and density of a good poem. The present collection, his first and only poetry anthology in English translation, affords insights into Gao’s philosophy of freedom and the independence of spirit, and elucidates his ideas as a novelist, dramatist and painter. Modern art, claims Gao, is at a crisis point, under attack from all sides by onslaughts coming especially from politics and the marketplace, which results in what he calls the “annihilation” of beauty. We see Gao Xingjian as a natural, warm, and insightful thinker capable of grace, beauty, and his own brand of esoteric wisdom, at times almost honest to a fault but not without a touch of humor and wittiness. A riveting and compulsive read. Continue reading

Crime novel goes global

Source: NYT (6/4/18)
How to Catch a Killer in China: Another Chinese Crime Novel Goes Global
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版
By Steve Lee Meyers

Crime, Zhou Haohui says, is a universal theme, which is why detective stories or police thrillers can more easily transcend cultural divides than, say, historical fiction.CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times

YANGZHOU, China — Zhou Haohui, the latest author to catch the wave of Chinese crime fiction crashing on international shores, had an unsatisfying job teaching engineering at a university outside of Beijing in 2007 when he began publishing — online — the novels that would earn him a cultlike following in China.

These books — a trilogy about a police hunt for a vengeful killer — went into print two years later, ultimately selling more than 1.2 million copies. They inspired a serial on the streaming site owned by Tencent, the social media giant, that has, to date, been watched a staggering 2.4 billion times, according to his agent, China Educational Publications Import & Export Corporation. A feature film went into production in April. Continue reading

Feature on HK lit in Words Without Borders

List members may be interested in a feature on fantastic Hong Kong literature that appears in the latest issue of Words Without Borders:

The full issue can be found here:

Jennifer Feeley

Growing interest in Jia Pingwa’s works

Source: China Daily (5/25/18)
Growing interest in Jia’s works
By Mei Jia

Carlos Rojas, translator of Jia Pingwa’s The Lantern Bearer. [Photo provided to China Daily]

There has been a surge in the number of English translations of Jia Pingwa’s works in recent years, says Carlos Rojas, a professor of Chinese cultural studies at Duke University and the translator of Jia’s The Lantern Bearer.

“Jia was the least-translated (into English) contemporary literary master. For years, there was only Turbulence: A Novel, translated by Howard Goldblatt and released in 2003,” says Rojas.

He says he is glad to see that more of Jia’s works have been translated or are in the process of being translated. Continue reading

The Moving Target

The Moving Target: A Workshop on Translation and Chinese Poetry
June 1–2, 2018 | Leiden University
Convened by Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein

From the Book of Songs to 21st-century migrant worker poetry and from Yu Xiuhua in English to Paul Celan in Chinese:

Papers by Joseph Allen, Lucas Klein, Nicholas Morrow Williams, Zhou Min, Tara Coleman, Chris Song, Christopher Lupke, Jenn Marie Nunes, Meng Liansu, Joanna Krenz, Jacob Edmond, Eleanor Goodman, Nick Admussen, Rui Kunze, Maghiel van Crevel, and Wilt Idema. Full program:

Posted by: Maghiel van Crevel <>