Imagine yourself as a sword fighter, a vigilante hero and upholder of justice. Imagine you are a xia in the world of jianghu—whether a solitary traveller on a mission, an outlaw on the run, or a member of a powerful sect or dying clan. Or imagine you are a Daoist cultivator, soaring across the sky atop swords and clouds, with a story that stretches across realms and even lifetimes.
Welcome to the Wuxia & Xianxia Special, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
Many of us have become fans of wuxia and xianxia fiction ever since we first encountered eminent wuxia and xianxia authors like Jin Yong, Gu Long, and Huan Zhu Lou Zhu. Others among us fell in love with these genres through films from the Shaw Brothers Studio, Pili puppet shows, drama adaptations, RPGs, manhua, and other kinds of popular media.
Over the past decade, there has also been a new and revived interest in the xianxia genre with the rise of web novels, and more recently, through the lens of danmei, as shown by the popularity of dramas like The Untamed.
For this special issue, we are interested in:
- Traditional and new approaches to wuxia and xianxia fiction
- Stories full of action, conflict, drama, and intrigue
- Rich, diverse, colourful, and nuanced worldbuilding, whether featuring the jianghu, a xianxia world, the imperial court, or other kinds of setting
- Unique approaches to classic wuxia themes like honour, free love, good versus evil, and individual choice versus fate
- Re-imaginings of what these genres look like in the 21st century
- Works that experiment with, subvert, and reinvent genre tropes, including in combination with other Sinophone literary traditions such as danmei, chuanyue (time travel), gong’an fiction (court case), and beyond
The editors for the Wuxia/Xianxia Special invite you to submit fiction, poetry, translations, and nonfiction.
We welcome writers who are new and experienced. The submissions call is open to BIPOC and racialised writers ONLY, and we especially welcome writers of the Sino/Chinese diaspora who grew up with Hong Kong and Taiwanese serials, with web novels or folktales in translation. We ask writers to be mindful of cultural appropriation. Yellowface is not allowed.
Ms. Mia Tsai (she/her) and Ms. Yilin Wang (she/they) for Fiction (2,000 – 7,000 words; please query if longer); Poetry (of any length or complexity); Translations of fiction and poetry from Chinese into English.
Mx. Joyce Chng (she/they) for Non-Fiction (2,000 – 3,000 words).
Mia is looking for fresh takes on wuxia and xianxia, with new or blended settings that can be historical or contemporary–or set elsewhere. If you have xianxia with a science fiction twist or a science fantasy wuxia, please do submit.
Yilin is interested in stories that take innovative and genre-bending approaches to wuxia and xianxia, especially stories that feature danmei elements, time travelling, and fresh unconventional worldbuilding.
Yilin is looking for poems that feature elements or themes from wuxia/xianxia literature and from the myths and folklore that have influenced these genres. She encourages submissions that play with form, language, and genre, including works that pay homage to the long tradition of xia poetry written in Classical Chinese.
Yilin welcomes unpublished translations of wuxia/xianxia fiction and poetry that have been first published in Chinese. She is especially interested in translations of both overlooked classical works that inspired the formation of the wuxia/xianxia genres (such as xia folktales and Tang dynasty “frontier poetry”) and in representative or innovative works by established or emerging wuxia/xianxia writers.
When you submit, please also include a letter from the rights holder confirming the availability of English translation rights.
Joyce wants new perspectives on wuxia and xianxia. Essays on intersectionality, the interplay of different cultures and diasporic interpretations are most welcome.
Instructions for Submitting
The submission window for the Wuxia/Xianxia Special Issue will run from 2nd January to 1st March.
Submit to https://strangehorizons.moksha.io/publication/strange-horizons/21/submit. We accept only RTF, DOCX or DOC files in standard manuscript format. Times New Roman, font size 12.
In the SUBMISSION TITLE in Moksha, please write [WUXIA SUB] before the title/name of your work. You are strongly encouraged to include the name of the editor who you are submitting work to. An example would look like this:
[WUXIA/Fiction: __(title of story)__ - editor’s name]
Please address the appropriate editor in your cover letter. You can address us by given name, but if you use honorifics, please use the proper ones.
If you would like to include content warnings for your submission, please list them in your cover letter.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification on any questions and concerns you may have, except for whether or not you will be rejected. We’ll probably just tell you to submit it anyway. Do not self-reject. Likewise, use the email for queries only. DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR WORK THERE.
Please note: we do not allow simultaneous submissions or reprints for this issue. We also do not allow multiple submissions. (Three poems per submission is allowed). To clarify: We only allow each writer to submit in one category.
Writers with outstanding Strange Horizons submissions can still submit here.
We look forward to reading your works.