China 2013

A controversial novel marks the return of politically charged science fiction in China — and evokes a decidedly mixed vision of the country’s future.


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陳玉慧 不同世界的旅行者





陳玉慧是個很可親的女子,坐在她的身邊,你感覺不到名作家那種耀目的光芒,但她的每個遣詞造句 卻又讓人覺得無比舒坦熨貼,就好像那些字語會不著痕跡地停留在你的記憶中。 ■文、攝:尉 瑋

Jade Y. Chen

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The dystopian novel that’s turning China upside down



By Charlie Jane Anders

It’s 2013, and China’s the only country to have survived an economic meltdown. The Chinese own Starbucks, which now serves longan dragon well lattes. So why can’t anybody remember an entire month? That’s the premise of a new dystopian novel.

There are spoilers ahead, by the way…

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A Popular Chinese Blogger Finds a Place to Speak Openly


HONG KONG — Han Han, considered China’s most popular blogger, faced about 200 members of the news media and 1,800 fans at the recent book fair here.

The first question from the press, about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing, was one that could not have been asked at a similar event across the border.

“I was only seven years old when the incident happened and couldn’t understand it. But when I did understand it, I couldn’t read anything about it,” the 28-year-old said in Mandarin, referring to censorship on the subject. Click here to read more »

The Age of Complacency?

Is this China’s Gilded Age? Or is it the Age of Exploration? Or is it, perhaps, China’s Age of Empire? Your answer to that question says a lot about where you see the country going, and what is driving it to get there.

That is the subject of a much-buzzed-about novel, “In an Age of Prosperity: China 2013”—for now, only in Chinese (“Shengshi: Zhongguo, 2013”). Author Chan Koon-chung conjures a fascinating tale of China just over the horizon, in which the most privileged and educated men and women struggle to balance the benefits and perils of life under high-functioning authoritarianism. The novel—which is slated to be out in English sometime next year under the apt title “The Fat Years”—is set in the future, but the portrait is so well-drawn that the conceit is redundant. When I interviewed the author the other day, he said, “If I put it in the future, I could make up stories to make the points clearer. But then, as it turned out, people still think I’m writing about the present anyway.” Click here to read more »

Questioning the “Chinese Model of Development”

A Critical Reading of Shengshi: Zhongguo 2013

By Zhansui Yu

Fat Years Chinese cover

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