A sci-fi history of over a century

By Xing Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-08 07:45

In the novel, Jia first visits Shanghai, and sees many of scientific marvels of the time, such as steamers, trains and electric lights.

"There's a scene in the novel where Shanghai hosts the World Expo, and it really came true 100 years later," he says.

From that course paper, Isaacson went on to study science fiction works written by China's early modern intellectuals, and then to read sci-fi works by acclaimed modern writers Lu Xun and Lao She.

What he noticed in those early Chinese science fiction works were concerns about imperialism and resistance to it.

"A lot of sci-fi unconsciously promoted imperialism, but I think early Chinese sci-fi authors were aware of this, and wanted to use sci-fi as an anti-imperialist tool," he says.

An associate professor at North Carolina State University, Isaacson was recently in Beijing as a participant in the Visiting Program for Young Sinologists hosted by the Ministry of Culture and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"I am hoping to find more information on Chinese sci-fi," says Isaacson, noting the growth of the genre in recent years with Chinese authors winning international awards and more works being translated into foreign languages.

Before earning his PhD at UCLA in 2011, Isaacson earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in East Asian studies at the University of Arizona.

He recalls that at that time many people said he could make big money as a Chinese speaker and do business in China.

"Who doesn't want to make fortune? That's why I started to learn Chinese," he says. "But I have long given up my millionaire's dream."

Besides teaching Chinese and researching, Isaacson also translates Chinese science fiction. Currently, he's translating works by Han Song, a sci-fi writer in China.

Talking about his work, he says: "Confucius once said: 'They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.' And I am the one who delights in it."

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349