How colonialism profoundly influenced the emergence of Chinese science fiction
Challenging assumptions about science fiction's Western origins, Nathaniel Isaacson traces the development of the genre in China, from the late Qing Dynasty through the New Culture Movement. Through careful examination of a wide range of visual and print media—including historical accounts of the institutionalization of science, pictorial representations of technological innovations, and a number of novels and short stories—Isaacson makes a case for understanding Chinese science fiction as a product of colonial modernity. By situating the genre's emergence in the transnational traffic of ideas and material culture engendered by the presence of colonial powers in China's economic and political centers, Celestial Empires explores the relationship between science fiction and Orientalist discourse. In doing so it offers an innovative approach to the study of both vernacular writing in twentieth-century China and science fiction in a global context.
Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Introduction: Colonial Modernity and Chinese Science Fiction
Lu Xun, Science, Fiction
Wu Jianren and Late Qing SF
SF for the Nation
Making Room for Science
Lao She's City of Cats
Whither SF/Wither SF
Glossary of Chinese Terms
"[T]he first substantial English-language study of the beginnings of this genre [Science Fiction] in China."~Will Peyton, Science Fiction Studies
"This fascinating study provides important insights into the roots of the Chinese science fiction tradition and its role in the creation of modern China. A major resource for China scholars and for scholars of science fiction studies, post-colonial studies, and the history of science."~Rachel Haywood Ferreira, author of The Emergence of Latin American Science Fiction
"Nathaniel Isaacson's theoretically sophisticated historical study of Chinese science fiction in the late Qing and Republic periods provides a vital, and long-awaited, link in the global history of the genre and its role in transnational modernization."~Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, co-editor of Science Fiction Studies
"Isaacson's book is a landmark in science fiction studies. It presents new interpretations on the emergence of Chinese science fiction in the context of colonial modernities, and reexamines some key cultural concepts such as empire, science, and fiction."~Mingwei Song, associate professor of modern Chinese literature at Wellesley College and author of Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959