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A Response to an “Alien Invasion”: The Rise of Chinese Science Fiction

Abstract : The intellectual life of the late Qing dynasty was closely connected to political history. Born in a setting of humiliation and fear provoked by Western domination over the Chinese territory and its political power during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, science fiction turned out to be a major ideological and political tool for Chinese authors. First introduced through numerous translations of Western and Japanese works, science fiction was adopted and adapted by Chinese authors, who turned the genre into the incarnation of the intelligentsia’s ideals. These ideals involve history, hopes for a brighter future, and a rejection of millennia-old traditions. Science has been viewed as the only way for China to regain its dignity and to enable its people, who were hammered by the Darwinian theories of evolution, to avoid the outright extinction of their “race”. The science fiction of the late Qing dynasty intends to point out the worries of Chinese people, as well as the existing illnesses of the Chinese population during that period. This paper aims to undertake a historical study that will enable us to understand how and why science fiction was introduced in China at this period of time, and the role that was given to this genre upon its arrival in order to have a better understanding of its proper place in Chinese society at the end of the Qing dynasty. This work briefly presents the historical context in which this literary genre has been introduced, as well as the various influences exerted upon Chinese authors. It therefore studies some of the most influential works published between 1860 and 1911, observing both literary and theoretical works.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02459131
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 23, 2020 - 2:10:46 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:59:30 PM

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Loïc Aloisio. A Response to an “Alien Invasion”: The Rise of Chinese Science Fiction. Ming-Qing Studies, Paolo Santangelo, 2019, pp.11-28. ⟨hal-02459131⟩

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