China's most popular science fiction is about a world ruled by China

Illustration for article titled China's most popular science fiction is about a world ruled by China

In the West, you commonly hear science fiction authors claiming that it's impossible to write about the near future — the march of technology and the rise of new advances make predictions a futile endeavour. But Chinese science fiction has no such inhibition, according to a new article in the L.A. Times — and for the most part, Chinese SF authors are boldly predicting a world in which China has become the world's only superpower and the United States has fallen into decadence.


Top image: HTTP2007 on Flickr.

The Times talked to Han Song, author of 2066: Red Star Over America, in which China flourishes while the U.S. falls into financial ruin and civil war. A Chinese delegation comes to the U.S. to try and restore civilization by teaching us to play the Chinese board game Go — but then terrorists strike. (Actually, the terrorists strike the World Trade Center, since this was written before 9/11. A new revised edition came out recently. Says Han:

I went to America to present my ideas, but they thought that the portrayal of China's superpower status was an exaggeration. Americans think that America cannot be destroyed. They laughed at this idea. They didn't believe in me.

There's also The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung, which we've covered on io9 before — and it also shows a resurgent, wealthy China, but at a high cost. As one message board commenter quoted by the Times piece says, "Everybody [in "The Fat Years"] is happy, but this happiness is out of a kind of numbness and indifference, which is more horrible than Fascism." [L.A. Times]



Every time an American scifi writer writes about a future where world has united, the unified planet has invariably done so under transparently American model of government, with American leaders and American heroes. It's not exactly surprising that China follows the same trend.