Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

When I first began research for this project as a PhD student at UCLA, I was under the impression that I would be able to cover the entire twentieth century and that the paucity of available materials would mean that the decisions about what to include and what to exclude had already been made for me. As I neared completion of the dissertation, my adviser confessed to me that when I had originally proposed the project, he had thought it was not feasible at all. I am eternally grateful to him for having the patience and wisdom...

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INTRODUCTION Colonial Modernity and Chinese Science Fiction

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pp. 1-26

This interdisciplinary cultural study of early twentieth-century Chinese popular science writing and science fiction (hereafter SF)1 and its relationship to the colonial project and industrial modernity traces the development of the genre in China from its early history in the late Qing dynasty through the decade after the New Culture Movement (roughly 1904–1934). The emergence of Chinese SF was a product of the transnational traffic of ideas, cultural trends, and material culture that was engendered by the presence of colonial powers in China’s economic and political...

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1 GENRE TROUBLE: Defining Science Fiction

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pp. 27-45

The following chapter presents a summary of recent trends in the field of SF studies and offers some initial observations on their germaneness to early Chinese SF. These observations are developed more thoroughly in the close readings and historical accounts that follow in chapters 2 through 6. I do not intend to force Chinese SF at the turn of the twentieth century into a universalizing theoretical framework, nor am I making an Orientalist argument positing the exceptionality of “SF with Chinese...

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2 LU XUN, SCIENCE, FICTION: Science Fiction and the Canon

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pp. 46-59

Lu Xun’s preface to A Call to Arms relates his apoplexy upon viewing the image of a Chinese man being executed in Japanese-occupied Manchuria and the apathetic countenances of the surrounding crowd, and how this moment in a lecture hall in Sendai in 1905 led him to abandon the study of medicine and turn toward the “spiritual cure” of literature. This moment is ripe material for scholars of Chinese literature and film in search of a single traumatic rupture to represent the inception of modern Chinese literature.1 His father’s succumbing to tuberculosis had led Lu Xun...

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3 WU JIANREN AND LATE QING SF: Jia Baoyu Goes to Shanghai

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pp. 60-92

Wu Jianren’s 1905 “sequel” to the Chinese classic Story of the Stone (Hong lou meng / Shitou ji), The New Story of the Stone (Xin shitou ji) is missing one of the key identifying characteristics of SF—the genre label itself on the story as it originally appeared; instead it bore the imprimatur “social fiction” (shehui xiaoshuo).1 In terms of the literary field, New Stone overlaps with a number of other narrative modes. The author’s introduction acknowledges that it is one sequel among many aimed at commercial profit. Stylistically, Wu adopts the form of chapter fiction, but also incorporates...

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4 SF FOR THE NATION: Tales of the Moon Colony and the Emergence of Chinese Science Fiction

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pp. 93-107

Published serially in the fiction monthly Xiuxiang xiaoshuo between 1904 and 1905, Huangjiang Diaosou’s (b. ?) Tales of the Moon Colony (Yueqiu zhimindi xiaoshuo) is the first native Chinese work labeled as science fiction. Through a close reading of this uncompleted novel, this chapter examines the anxieties associated with utopianism, nationalism, and Occidentalism that revealed themselves in early Chinese SF.1 While the text depicts a world in which Asian scientists and explorers successfully vie with their European counterparts for hegemony over their common...

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5 MAKING ROOM FOR SCIENCE: Mr. Braggadocio

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pp. 108-124

“New Tales of Mr. Braggadocio” (“Xin Faluo xiansheng tan”), Xu Nianci’s1 “sequel” to Iwaya Sazanami’s2 “Hora Sensei,” was published in 1904 in Forest of Fiction (Xiaoshuo lin) and features two different moments of Fanonian double consciousness in its opening pages. A prefatory remark in the voice of the author’s pseudonym, Juewo (“The Awakened One”), refers to the work as little more than “gossip heard through the bean trellis” (doupeng xianhua) and a “ludicrous attempt at imitation” (Xu Nianci 2011, 1; “New Tales of Mr. Braggadocio,” 15). This pseudonymous...

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6 LAO SHE’S CITY OF CATS: A Social-Science Fiction?

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pp. 125-145

Cat Country, the dystopian Martian travelogue of Lao She (1898–1966),1 was originally printed serially in the magazine Xiandai (Les Contemporains), between August 1932 and April 1933. The novel represents a brief resuscitation of SF after two decades of near total silence in the genre—the exception that proves the rule in a rapidly shifting cultural field. By the time Lao She penned Cat Country, vernacular writing had for the most part won out over classical registers as the ideal vehicle for reform-oriented fiction. In chapter 7, I attempt to demonstrate that the apparent absence...

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7 WHITHER SF / WITHER SF: An Alternate History of Chinese SF

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pp. 146-180

As the field of Chinese SF studies evolves, the ebb and flow of SF in China continues to be a central question. As early as 1905, essays on the genre attempted to identify premodern adventure and fantasy novels like Journey to the West (Xiyou ji) and Flowers in the Mirror (Jing huayuan) as examples of early Chinese SF, and a number of contemporary studies (Takeda and Hayashi 2001; Zhang Zhi 2009; Wu Xianya) make similar claims, including a number of works that might best be described as fantasy in their taxonomy (Wu Yan 2011). Shortly after appearing on the literary scene in the early...

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Conclusion

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pp. 181-186

Reflecting on the potential lessons that Chinese SF has to offer the expanding field of “global science fiction,” Veronica Hollinger has noted the parallels between central themes of Lu Xun’s work and key themes of a number of recent works of Chinese SF by Liu Cixin and Han Song (Hollinger, forthcoming). In Liu Cixin’s short story “The Village School-teacher” (“Xiangcun jiaoshi,” 2001), the teacher at a benighted and impoverished rural school lies on his deathbed in the one- room schoolhouse where he teaches, suffering from...

Notes

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pp. 187-210

Glossary of Chinese Terms

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pp. 211-216

Bibliography

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pp. 217-242

Index

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pp. 243-261

About the Author

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p. 262