China 2013 and “social science fiction” in China

Xujun Eberlein’s review of the controversial novel The Prosperous Time: China 2013 is must reading for anyone interested in the evolution of science fiction, politically charged or not, in China. And for anyone interested in post-Cultural Revolution literature in general. And for anyone interested at all in China. See her blog post about it as well, and follow the links.

The Discussion: 8 Comments

This was an excellent article by Xujun. I concur–go read it!

August 2, 2010 @ 1:55 pm | Comment


I think the larger points here are that cultural and creative development will always have limits in a tightly controlled society. Things that really push artistic boundaries will always be somewhat subversive.

August 2, 2010 @ 11:46 pm | Comment

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August 3, 2010 @ 9:41 am | Pingback

Let’s hope Xujun comment more on things American.

She could start every sentence with “my american husband admits that a lot of his fellow americans are _________”

August 3, 2010 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

…… nice persons. 😛

August 4, 2010 @ 3:59 am | Comment

….best people on earth 😀

August 4, 2010 @ 6:11 am | Comment

盛世:中国2013 is just an alright book – better than most of the over-hyped “Banned-in-China!” books that have raised their ugly heads in recent years, but not by all that much. I purchased 2 copies in HK six or so months ago – one to read and keep, the other to pass around to my PKU buddies and a few professors – and the verdict has been nearly unanimous: No big deal. However often the boneheaded comparison is made, it’s certainly NOT a Chinese “1984.” (And no, it’s not “Brave New World” either.) Indeed, 盛世:中国2013 is not even that clever or original. As literature, it hardly breaks new ground. If there’s anything noteworthy about the book at all, it’s that nothing like it has been published in Chinese for a long time (not that I’ve read, at least). I’m already not looking forward to the day the English translation appears and the usual list of English-only China-hands rush to review it. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading 盛世:中国2013, but the hype that now surrounds it reminds me once again that we often set the bar pretty low when we talk about China. 盛世:中国2013 is no more a great novel than Han Han is a courageous dissident. We celebrate them both because the pickins are slim. Very slim.

For those who are interested in reading it, here’s a link to a free PDF copy of 盛世:中国2013 (Chinese, of course):

August 5, 2010 @ 2:51 am | Comment

Hey Gan Lu. Thanks for the link.

Why so world weary and embittered? Do you have in mind all the current fiction/literature being produced in China? There are so many magazines, aside from the lowbrow stuff like duzhe and the stuff you get at train stations. I think for those of us more concerned with China from an international perspective, stuff like china 2013, and Han Han’s writings are interesting in the way they show Chinese authors viewing China. But do you take Han Han to represent the current Chinese literary output? My understanding is that he’s more popular for what he represents, which is some sort of middle class “I don’t give a shit” attitude. Is your bleak view really comprehensive? Give me some hope, man.

August 7, 2010 @ 8:10 pm | Comment

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