Subtitle: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation from a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Well, this was a complete joy. In addition to having several stories that were individually lovely to read, it was extremely thoughtfully composed in terms of which story preceded which other story and where the essays on translation were seeded through the volume. It’s so satisfying to find an anthology that’s so well-balanced and -assembled.
Usually I consider an anthology a rousing success if I can call out two stories as particular favorites. In this anthology there were four–and with the way it’s assembled, their translators were listed so accessibly beside the authors that it’s easy to credit them here. The anthology started off in beautiful style with “The Stars We Raised,” by Xiu Xinyu, translation by Judy Yi Zhou. Its poignancy set a tone that kept me eager to find out what the other stories would do.
Xia Jia has long been one of my favorite Chinese authors in translation, but I’m not sure she qualifies with her quite short story “What Does the Fox Say” in this volume, because she experimented with writing it in English–in my opinion entirely successfully.
Later in the anthology, “A Brief History of Beinakan Disasters as Told in a Sinitic Language” by Nian Yu, translation by Ru-Ping Chen, and “The Painting” by Chen Qian, translation by Emily Xueni Jin, were stories of types that don’t usually appeal to me but in this case managed to transcend my subgenre preferences, which is high praise indeed. The other stories were interesting and charmingly done as well, but these were my favorites. I also really appreciated the inclusion of the essays about genre, gender, and translation, as I felt they added a lot to this particular volume. Very well done, will be looking for a physical copy as soon as I can get one.