Chen Qiufan

Tagged: Author

(1981-    ) Chinese author, born in the southern province of Guangdong, hence the Cantonese-influenced vowel-shift in his "English" name, Stanley Chan. He graduated with a double honours in Chinese and Film from Beijing University, before finding employment with Google. His fiction often revolves around issues in Perception, such as "Fen" (May 2004 Kehuan Shijie; trans Chen Qiufan as "The Tomb" in The Apex Book of World SF 2, anth 2012, ed Lavie Tidhar) and his novel Shentong ["Vision of the Abyss"] (2006), both of which deal with the application of perceptual filters to revolutionary or even apocalyptic effect (> Conceptual Breakthrough). In an experiment worthy of the Oulipo movement, he won an award in Taiwan for his story "Ningchuan Dongji" ["Record of the Cave of Ningchuan"] (2004 venue unknown), which was written entirely in Classical Chinese, a language as distant from modern Mandarin as Middle English from Modern English (> Linguistics).

Much of Chen's work deftly disguises criticism of Chinese modernity within allegorical forms. "Lijiang de Yu'ermen" (May 2006 Kehuan Shijie trans Ken Liu as "The Fish of Lijiang" August 2011 Clarkesworld) bemoans the commodification and decline of a famous tourist spot in China, extrapolating its contemporary exploitation into a theme-park Near Future where a once-vibrant town is infested with advertising, conmen and yuppies recuperating from soulless day-jobs, all facing a mere illusion of choice. The story introduces a sense, also found in the works of Rao Zhonghua and Han Song, that China's post-Mao work ethic has colonized its citizens' very sense of time, with time dilation and compression services on offer, some voluntary, some not, to improve productivity or extend bigwigs' lifespans (> Time Distortion). "Shu Nian" ["Year of the Rat"] (May 2009 Kehuan Shijie; trans Ken Liu as "The Year of the Rat", July/August 2013 F&SF) drafts college students from over-crowded accommodation to hunt rapidly evolving, genetically-engineered rats, which have escaped from the laboratories where they were bred for foreign export. Buried beneath arguments over Evolution and perspective, particularly regarding who is now a Wainscot Society of whom, is a Satire of China's drive towards modernization, in which supposedly highly-educated students are packed like ants into squalid dormitories, and good for little more than hunting rodents with spears. Although Chen is a relatively young writer, the speed and fluency with which his work has reached English-language venues suggests that he may soon become one of the primary faces of Chinese sf abroad. [JonC]

Chen Qiufan

born Shantou (Swatow), China: 1981

died

works (selected)

  • Shentong ["Vision of the Abyss"] (Chengdu: Sichuan Jishu Chubanshe, 2006) [pb/]
  • Boma: Chen Qiufan Kehuan Xiaoshuo Xuanben ["Censored: Selected SF Stories of Chen Qiufan", vt Thin Code in English on Chinese cover] (Tianjin: Baihua Wenyi Chubanshe, 2012) [coll: pb/]
  • Huang Chao ["Waste Tide"] (Wuhan: Changjiang Wenyi, 2013) [pb/]

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