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! We regret that even though there are many amazing stories, we have to make difficult choices. To us, all who have submitted are heroes of the jiānghú.

In fiction, we feature three stories, each expanding upon long-beloved tropes in wuxia and xianxia. L Chan’s “The Ocean Remembers the Wave” brings wuxia into space, where a celestial poet-warrior in search of his beloved traverses the galaxy, following a trail of bones. “One for Sorrow, Two for Mirth” by Tina S. Zhu takes us to the golden hills of Northern California during the time of the Wild West, telling the tale of a kung-fu master for hire whose latest job brings her face-to-face with her past and the brother she long ago abandoned, and whose steps are chased by living shadows. Finally, Megan Chee offers a lighthearted, humorous take on xianxia with “The God of Minor Troubles,” where an immortal oversleeps, is late to the meeting of the celestials, and is dubbed God of Minor Troubles for his transgression.

In poetry, we present three poems by poets of the diaspora, all of which build on a long tradition of wuxia and xianxia poetry. Written with a lyricism that may remind readers of Shījīng and Classical Chinese romantic poetry, Laura Ma’s “Cradling Fish” takes us on a journey through the jiānghú, in search of a 知音 - a kindred spirit. Next, Tania Chen’s “To a Dear Immortal in a Foreign Land” follows travellers who were forced to leave their sect to escape the troubles of the past and must learn to survive in a distant, unfamiliar world. Similarly, Judy I. Lin’s “a poet of the diaspora reflects upon the codes of jiānghú” spans across generations and space on the page to explore the parallels between the journey of immigration and the values that the warriors of jiānghú live by.

Finally, in nonfiction, we have writers examining Jin Yong’s seminal work The Smiling, Proud Wanderer and reimagining wuxia for modern times. Johnny Liu’s essay focuses on the “antagonist” who should have been a protagonist, Dongfang Bubai, and looks at how society (as reflected in the characters) treats trans people and marginalised groups. Tan Shao Han uses wuxia as a way of confronting historical atrocities such as the Japanese Occupation in Singapore, weaving the values of the xia ke into his tabletop role-playing game, Da Xia. How do protagonists react in a time of moral ambiguities where survival during a hostile military occupation and genocide is of upmost importance? How do they navigate perilous seas in the Syonan Jiānghú? Is compromise against the values of xia?

Shao Han, once more, pens his thoughts on S.L. Huang’s The Water Outlaws, a reimagining and “genderspun” retelling of Water Margin by Shi Nai’an. The novel examines the norms of gender and sexuality, and how the characters (a warrior, a poet, and a monk) cope with the expectations imposed by a patriarchal society. Very much like the Syonan Jiānghú of Da Xia, the protagonist has to navigate, negotiate and adapt to the demands of the male-dominated world of politics and war.

Joyce Chng is Chinese and lives in Singapore. Qar writes urban fantasy, YA, and things in between, and wonders about the significance of female knights. Also wrangles kids and cats. Qar’s website can be found at http://awolfstale.wordpress.com. (Also likes wolves.)
Yilin Wang (she/they) is a writer, poet, Chinese-English translator, and editor. Her work has been nominated for a National Magazine Award in Poetry, and appeared in Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, POETRY, Guernica, CBC Books, and elsewhere. She is the editor and translator of The Lantern and the Night Moths (Invisible Publishing, 2024). www.yilinwang.com / @yilinwriter    
Mia Tsai (she/her) is a Taiwanese American author and editor. Her debut novel, Bitter Medicine, a xianxia-inspired adult contemporary fantasy, released from Tachyon Publications in March of 2023. When not wrangling words, she manages the slush pile at GigaNotoSaurus and thinks up bad puns in Mandarin and English.
Current Issue
25 Sep 2023

People who live in glass houses are surrounded by dirt birds
After a century, the first colony / of bluebirds flew out of my mouth.
Over and over the virulent water / beat my flame down to ash
In this episode of  Critical Friends , the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Aisha and Dan talk to critic and poet Catherine Rockwood about how reviewing and criticism feed into creative practice. Also, pirates.
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
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