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29 May 2023
Water Margin, whose authorship is traditionally attributed to Shi Nai’an and Luo Guanzhong, is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Among these Four Greats, Water Margin was the only one I was studiously dissuaded from reading as a Confucian schoolchild during the 1980s, for the same reasons it became so popular in the Sinosphere: its shockingly violent action, anti-authoritarian themes, and colourfully vulgar depictions of everyday life in the Song Dynasty. Despite my elders’ disapproval, I managed to read The Water Margin through means more foul than fair, and it has since become one of my favourite stories (even as I become more aware about its casual misogyny and centring of masculine perspectives).
29 May 2023
We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
29 May 2023
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
29 May 2023
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
26 May 2023
The Ten Percent Thief is a work which I think could only ever be told as a sequence of interconnected short stories, rather than as a more traditionally structured novel.
24 May 2023
This volume's main problem is the juxtaposition of what feels like two separate collections
22 May 2023
If bad wine stays bad, isn’t that a good thing?
22 May 2023
So much of contemporary Star Trek is about looking at what happens to Utopia when it comes under strain.
22 May 2023
Esme Symes-Smith’s debut novel is a delightful, sunny adventure.
19 May 2023
Olivie Blake’s Alone With You in the Ether (Tor Books, 2022) is a messy, vulnerable story about two unusual people meeting, falling in love, and figuring out how their love can survive contact with the world—and their own troubled pasts. Regan is an artist volunteering as a docent at the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in a swank apartment with her sexy, wealthy, and patronizing boyfriend, Marc. They go to parties, snort cocaine in restrooms, get home late, have tired, intoxicated sex, and sleep to midday—when Regan rolls out of bed and heads off to her museum shift. On the surface, Regan’s brand of cynical libertine is rather uninteresting.
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