September 10, 2019

18.1: Waste Tide pre-read: Chinese Language, Literary History, and Science Fiction

It's finally happening! We're diving fully into one of Matt's areas of expertise, Chinese Literature. This month we're reading Waste Tide (, the first novel by Chinese science fiction author Chen Qiufan (known as Stanley Chan in English), translated by Ken Liu. 

The book is new to both of us, so in addition to the usual bookfacts, this episode starts with a short introduction to the sociolinguistics of the Chinese language. From there we learn about the history of modern Chinese literature w/ a focus on how speculative fiction has been received over the last century, from the earliest Chinese translations of Jules Verne to the modern resurgence of SF & Fantasy movies coming out of China, and how that relates to other literary & political movements. 

Some of the works we discuss include:

* Invisible Planets, edited & translated by Ken Liu

* Chen Qiufan's stories at Clarkesworld (includes audio versions)

* Clarkesworld Podcast

* "Flower of Shazui" (set in the same world as Waste Tide

* The Paper Menagerie & Other Stories by Ken Liu

* The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

(Links in the shownotes at if they don't show up in your podcatcher)


As always, we'd love to hear from you! Chat with us on twitter at @spectologypod, send us an email at, or submit the episode to r/printSF on reddit. We'll reply, and shout you out in the next podcast when we talk about your comment.

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Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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