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Chinese Science Fiction in the Anthropocene


Imbach, Jessica (2021). Chinese Science Fiction in the Anthropocene. Ecozon@, 12(1):121-137.

Abstract

A green future has become a central promise of the Chinese state and the environment is playing an increasingly important role in China’s bid to promote itself as a political alternative to the West. However, Chinese state environmentalism and its promotion of “ecological civilization” (shengtai wenming ? ??? ) have so far proven more aligned with political interests rather than environmental goals. At the same time, low -orbit industrialization as a response to the climate change or the resurgent fantasy of p opulation control as a necessity from the standpoint of biology in environmentalist discourse are increasingly entangled with anxieties and speculations about Chinese visions of the future. Using Liu Cixin’s short story The Sun of China ( Zhongguo taiyang ???? , 2001) and the 2019 blockbuster science fiction movie The Wandering Earth ( Liulang diqiu ???? ) by Frant Gwo as its point of departure, this paper discusses how current narratives of the Anthropocene are reflected and negotiated in Chinese science fiction. While both works demonstrate the symbolic and economic importance of science and technology to China’s growth and self-image, they also reveal that we cannot separate questions of the planetary from the historical contexts, in which they emerge.

Abstract

A green future has become a central promise of the Chinese state and the environment is playing an increasingly important role in China’s bid to promote itself as a political alternative to the West. However, Chinese state environmentalism and its promotion of “ecological civilization” (shengtai wenming ? ??? ) have so far proven more aligned with political interests rather than environmental goals. At the same time, low -orbit industrialization as a response to the climate change or the resurgent fantasy of p opulation control as a necessity from the standpoint of biology in environmentalist discourse are increasingly entangled with anxieties and speculations about Chinese visions of the future. Using Liu Cixin’s short story The Sun of China ( Zhongguo taiyang ???? , 2001) and the 2019 blockbuster science fiction movie The Wandering Earth ( Liulang diqiu ???? ) by Frant Gwo as its point of departure, this paper discusses how current narratives of the Anthropocene are reflected and negotiated in Chinese science fiction. While both works demonstrate the symbolic and economic importance of science and technology to China’s growth and self-image, they also reveal that we cannot separate questions of the planetary from the historical contexts, in which they emerge.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Language:English
Date:2021
Deposited On:05 May 2021 12:21
Last Modified:27 Jan 2022 06:52
Publisher:European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and the Environment (E A S C L E)
ISSN:2171-9594
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.37536/ECOZONA.2021.12.1.3527
Official URL:https://ecozona.eu/article/view/3527/4892
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)