Will Peyton, Liu Cixin’s Diqiu Wangshi Trilogy

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:

Liu Cixin’s Diqiu Wangshi Trilogy

Thursday 9 May, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

This thesis examines Liu Cixin’s Diqiu Wangshi (The Remembrance of Earth’s Past), a Chinese science fiction trilogy whose translation is unprecedentedly popular in the Western world. In his interviews and critical writings, Liu Cixin often explains that he is predominantly influenced by modern and contemporary Anglophone authors, including George Orwell, Arthur C. Clarke, Aldous Huxley and Ray Bradbury, among others. By considering Liu’s trilogy in view of such influences, this thesis breaks down the aesthetic and thematic components of Diqiu Wangshi, these being scientism, humanism, technologism, historicism and utopianism. It also considers the influence of the Chinese author Wang Meng’s youth fiction Qingchun Wansui and how its idealism helps to shape the aesthetic and moral character of Liu’s work. The purpose of this analysis is to account for the originality of Diqiu Wangshi, arguing that its ingenuity is found in its conscious engagement with translated fiction rather than in the literature of Chinese science fiction. The dissertation more generally aims at exploring how contemporary Chinese writers of the post-Mao period are clearly more influenced by western translated fiction and universal thematic concerns than current critical approaches seem to suggest.

Will Peyton is a PhD candidate in SLLL. He has published in The International History Review, The China Story and Science Fiction Studies.

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