Here a couple of days ago and gone today. That’s Magazines – Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai were a lifesaver when I first arrived in China, telling me things I actually wanted to know, and not full of the sleazy polyester business-suit expat nobs I avoid in Australia and sure didn’t want to waste time finding myself in the same bar as in Guangzhou.
So now the link to the That’s Magazines website goes to the sleazy expat bar scene across Asia, or something, Asia Expat. All the former three fairly independent and content-specific versions for each city now advertise in excessively bad design tacky hotels and mug-shots of the kind of people you don’t go to Bai Yi Tan to drink with.
That’s Magazines came to the rescue, and their new website will be up soon, even though my gutter-mouthed mind with a propensity for smut in unlikely places immediately translated their new web address into something Beavis and Butthead would appreciate.
A Public Service Announcement: If you haven’t noticed by now, our website isn’t what it used to be. In fact, it isn’t there at all. The whys and wherefores and exactly-hows aren’t worth getting into. Suffice it to say that the situation is a little bit like old Beijing neighborhoods: You know it’s going to get chai’d, you think you know when, and if it happens three weeks too early and in the middle of the night, well, all you can do is grab an armful of your belongings and head for the hills. www.thatsbj.com will be up and running as soon as possible, with the same magazine content, up-to-date events listings, and comprehensive classifieds service you’re used to.
I got a cheery email from Vice Magazine today, and their new issue is out, Hate. A scream of Mexican nazi-orama, Malaysian skinheads, and a Black Sabbath-quoting demolition company. But the cover, why does it look so like a friend of mine?
zhwj 中国幻想文学基地 is the one-stop shop for anything to do with Science-Fiction (科幻 kehuan) and Fantasy (奇幻 qihuan) coming out of China. Yesterday there was a translation of Southern Metropolis Daily writer Tian Zhiling’s article on the impact of western Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature and film on Chinese culture, in an interview with Wang Ruiqin, editor of the Chinese translation of Harry Potter, and Li Zhaohui, editor of Eragon.
Because the novels introduced by domestic publishers cannot keep up, or because their translations are poor, many true fans may choose to read the original English editions. The Lord of the Rings and The Dark Elf Trilogy, for example, are considered best read in the original. Currently fantasy lovers meet chiefly online, on the many fantasy websites on the mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, to discuss what they have found in fantasy novels, compare composition techniques, and publish their own original fantasy works.
Currently, however, original fantasy is still in the initial stage. Several editors of foreign fantasy works introduced into China agreed on the situation: they have all received a large number of original fantasy submissions, but the vast majority are lacking in both creativity and literary quality. One editor even bluntly stated that Chinese literary tradition lacked the facility to cultivate fantasy writers. It appears that original fantasy has quite a long road left ahead of it.
Having just ripped through all of Iain M. Bank’sCulture books, and run out of stuff to read, I’ve been wnadering around one of the best genre blogs I’ve come across. zhwj is a blog devoted to Chinese Sci-Fi and Fantasy, with plenty of reviews, links and news on this world. Zhwj recently wrote an article for Danwei about sci-fi art in China.
In addition to the Chinese magazines that print science fiction and fantasy stories, there are quite a few Mainland periodicals devoted to fantasy artwork. These range from translations of popular Japanese animated series (Neon Genesis Evangelion is fairly popular, and the boy detective Conan has just had a simplified character version released) to the lush cover paintings that flow from the brushes of the leading European and American artists.
With many images along the lines of this archive of Boris Vallejo’s art at the Chinese Underground SF fansite, the art brings to mind the old science fiction saying: “The golden age of SF is 14.”
One of the leading graphic magazines is Fantasy: Illustrated Fantasy & Sci-Fi For Fans (originally named SF Fan, pictured above), which sells over 30,000 copies of each issue, according to Tianjin SF writer Zheng Jun.
Since 2003 each issue has come in two parts, a main section devoted primarily to European and American artwork, and a supplement that contains a short story, several non-fiction articles, comics, and tips for artists.
Stories from most other SF magazines are quickly scanned in and posted on various fan message boards, but perhaps because of the graphics-heavy content, Fantasy magazine releases the major artwork from the issues themselves online in jpg and pdf formats, after two months.