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London Chinese Sci-fi Group


We are a monthly meet-up that read, share and discuss Chinese language sci-fi and speculative fiction in translation - from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and the diaspora
🚀 Based in London (UCL) and online 🛸

Here is a summary of our last session, news about our next one, and links to our growing Chinese SF bibliography! 

Remember to follow our social media and WeChat accounts linked in this newsletter.
With this October, we mark a year and a half of reading, sharing and discussing together! In the past 6 months, we've also been joined every month by the writers of our chosen short SF stories to expand our discussions.
Thanks to all our readers, whether you're regular or you join for your favourite titles, and also to the authors and translators for sharing your work and time with us!


Upcoming: October session

'Color the World' /《涂色世界》
by  Congyun 'Mu Ming' Gu / 慕明
 and translated by Sarah Huang
Video call with the author Mu Ming and the London Chinese Science Fiction Group
Sunday 25th October - London: 14:00 = Beijing 22:00 (as the UK returns to standard GMT), lasting about 1hr30
Online: Zoom - reply to this email with "Count me in for LCSFG's next meeting!" and we'll send you a video call link and password a day before the session.


"We don't call this color pink. It's ​Rose Ashes​ from the Thorn Birds Filter Collection. ​Rose Ashes,​ ​the perfect combination of tenderness and cruelty.​ ​ Likewise, your skirt isn't blue. With the Filter Collection, it's called ​Royal Midnight,​ ​the color of melancholy​.”



"Think about it. RA technology has become entrenched in every aspect of our lives. From cinema screens to mobile apps, from commercial slogans to internet media, everywhere people are bending over themselves to match their language to what they see through the filters... It won't be long before—actually it's already started. People can't communicate, can't think, without RA. But...but what about the people who don't have it?"

- from Color the World by Congyun “Mu Ming” Gu, translated by Sarah Huang. 

How often have you disagreed with someone on whether a certain colour leans more towards green or blue? The way we individually perceive different colours is not only down to the biology of our eyes and the physics of light and distance. It is also dependent on our shared verbal and visual languages, that have been standardised through vocabularies of our sensory experiences. For example, whilst there are known discrepancies in translation across different international languages, colours are often the first words we learn of a new language. These standard dictionaries each culturally reinstate colour-seen to colour-name as unquestioned norms. 

However, experimental uses of verbal and visual languages through art and literature expand our horizons of how colours can be differently perceived and felt, but also leave some more confused. What exactly does the ​"wine-dark​" sea in Homer's 'The Odyssey' look like? In Mu Ming's 'Color the World', these creative explorations of senses and labels are seen as socially primitive, as is wearing framed glasses, and everyone around Amy - except her parents, especially her artist mum - live by the irreversible Retinal Adjustment technologies. 

'Color the World' is a short speculative story that confronts the socialised discriminations in an ableist society, through the perspective of a young Asian American girl who just wants to be 'normal'. As Amy grows up to work in the supposedly liberating RA technologies sector, she realises the inequality and dangers of a one-vision fits all aspiration. She begins to unpack her resentment towards her anti-RA mother, and at the same time, embraces the spectrum of able-bodiedness (in this story, colour blindness and tetrachromacy) that inherently defines the generosity of her and her family's unique sensory experiences, and love for a life filled with them. 

Here are some themes that may guide your reading for our discussion:
  • different able-bodiedness, disability
  • individual sensory perceptions - myopia, colour blindness, tetrachromacy  
  • verbal and visual languages

'Color the World' has been selected for an English collection, Vital: The Future of Healthcare. As part of its current Kickstarter, a Closeout Reading campaign will see the author, Mu Ming, reading the story online. The event will take place on October 22nd, 8pm London time. You can free register here and read more about the Closeout Reading event here.
For our LCSFG event, 'Color the World' /《涂色世界》by Congyun 'Mu Ming' Gu / 慕明 can be delivered to your inbox as soon as possible in its English translation by Sarah Huang and/or in its Chinese original by us, with permission from the author, as they are not available online. Do email us (reply to this newsletter)! 

It was originally published in ​Science Fiction World​ 《科幻世界》in October 2019, and reprinted by《2019中国最佳科幻作品》姚海军编,The Best Chinese SF of 2019, edited by Yao Haijun. it has also been translated into Italian for Stori dal domani 6, the annual Future Fiction anthology edited by Francesco Verso.

Please read ahead for this month's online video call session, but if you don't get a chance to do so, you are still warmly welcome to join in. Share your thoughts and questions, engage with others, and chat with us and Mu Ming about the story in this upcoming session!

Congyun (a.k.a Mu Ming) Gu is a Chinese speculative fiction writer and a programmer, currently living in New York, US. She has published short stories and novellas in Chinese since 2016. Her stories have won multiple awards since 2017, and she won the Best New Writer Award at the 2019 Chinese Xingyun (Nebula) Awards. Some of her stories have been translated into English and Italian. Her website can be found here.


Previously: September (early October) session

*For our September meeting, we organised it a week later to fit our schedules, so it happened in early October instead of our regular end of the month*

'The Lighthouse Girl' / 《灯塔少女》
by Bao Shu / 宝树
 and translated by Andy Dudak
Video call with the author Bao Shu and the London Chinese Science Fiction Group
Sunday 3rd October
"The lighthouse jellyfish could return to infancy from maturity, and it could do so indefinitely, cycling between the two states, living forever.
I realized I was not a clone.
I was Chen Susu, and Karla, and Jessica."

Thank you again to author Bao Shu for joining our last session, and taking time with our readers' questions and thoughts!
In 'The Lighthouse Girl', Jessica is a young child applauded for her talents across languages and music, impressing many at her school, and not least her widowed father. However, as she grows older she realises that she actually can't remember her earliest years, and that her matured talents might be somehow related to the inexplicable, fragmented memories. This confusion raises greater concerns when she learns of two other girls in old pictures who look exactly like her.

Some themes we thought about:
  • cloning and non-human biology
  • family bonds after grief
  • how to critique and reject literary tropes of patriarchal heroism, alongside portrayals and insinuations of female oppression or abuse 
CW: insinuations of gendered domestic violence 

Please read ahead for this month's online video call session, but if you don't get a chance to do so, you are still warmly welcome to join in. Share your thoughts and questions, engage with others, and chat with us and Bao Shu about the story in this upcoming session!
'The Lighthouse Girl' / 《灯塔少女》by Bao Shu / 宝树 can be found in its English translation by Andy Dudak in Issue 136, 2018 of Clarkesworld Magazine. Originally published in Chinese in Zui Mook, vol 2, April 2017.

Bao Shu is a Chinese SF writer living in Xi'an. He began his writing career since 2010, and has published two collections and four novels since, including Three body Problem X: the Redemption of Time and Ruins of Time. His shorter works are often published by magazines like Science Fiction World, ZUI Fiction, Knowledge is Power, and People's Literature. He has won several major awards for Chinese SF. Several of his works are now available in English, published by F&SF and Clarkesworld.


Upcoming: the LCSFG Website!

These weeks have been a little busy, and part of the work behind the scenes has been in preparing for the launch of the LCSFG website (Angela is coding it right now) ! 

Having these pages would advantageously mean that we can have more detailed bilingual posts about our activities at our own home than social media allows. This would also situate our growing library of stories we've read together, in a user-friendly space for exploration and reflection.

We'll keep you updated by this newsletter and social media, and we're looking forward to sharing it with you soon! 


We are gathering our primary titles together with collectively suggested ones on an online database here

If you mentioned a reference like a book, article, film or podcast during our session, please navigate the tabs at the bottom of the link page to add your suggestion to the relevant month's reading.

You may add to this at any time to enhance our engagement with the stories' themes and the wider literary and cultural analyses. 

Alternatively, if you cannot make our meetings, you are also welcome to add your recommendations and catch up with the reading offered. 

We hope for this to be a useful and informative documentation of our activity, as well as a resource for everyone involved! 



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London Chinese Sci-fi Group · 1 · A Street · London, London SE14 6DN · United Kingdom

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