Seminar explores strengthening Chinese sci-fi · By Zhang Rui | 2022-12-03 11:17
A seminar was held online on Nov. 29 to discuss how to enhance the international competitiveness of China's sci-fi culture and industry.

A seminar was held online on Nov. 29 to discuss how to enhance the international competitiveness of China's sci-fi culture and industry.

A promotional image for the online sci-fi seminar held on Nov. 29, 2022. [Photo courtesy of China Science and Technology Press]

During the seminar, Peng Jianguo, deputy director of the Research Department in the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), spoke about the prospects of Chinese sci-fi. "China now has more developed science and technology, as well as a huge market of 1.4 billion people. Therefore, China has advantages, potential and confidence in developing its sci-fi culture."

Zhu Xiangjun, vice president of the Nuclear Industry Management College, said that sci-fi has the dual tasks of scientific and technological innovation and science popularization. "The development of the sci-fi culture industry is an important vehicle that reflects the hard power and soft power of scientific and technological innovation, and enhances national scientific and technological innovation development ability and cultural influence in the new era."

Speaking about the huge development potential for the cultural industry spawned by Chinese sci-fi, Lin Yuzhi, an official from the China Science Writers Association, said: "China has made many cutting-edge scientific and technological achievements. We need to consider how to integrate these achievements — with which the public may not be familiar — with sci-fi and turn them into interesting stories and help them influence more people."

Li Weiqiang, the executive vice general manager of Poly Culture Group, believes that how China imagines the future and how Chinese people view the relationship between technology and people will greatly affect the direction and pattern of the future world.

"The novel 'The Three-Body Problem' and the films 'The Wandering Earth' and 'Moon Man' are deeply integrated with Chinese culture and Chinese spirit, which perfectly reflects the idea of a community with a shared future for humanity," he said. "They fully demonstrate the Chinese people's visions, worries and historical responsibility for the future, which provides us with valuable experience in sci-fi creation and overseas promotion."

Wang Zhixiang, an official from the China Writers Association, expressed his hopes that more Chinese sci-fi writers can emerge and that all sci-fi writers will actively contribute more original content to help the industry really boom, as China still lacks influential works in the field of sci-fi field compared with the major sci-fi powers in the West.

A new sci-fi novel titled "Welkin Journey" by Zhu Yuqing, a renowned sci-fi writer and media veteran, was also launched at the seminar. In the book, Zhu put forward a "law of mountain superiority," a rethinking of the response to the Dark Forest theory proposed by Liu Cixin in his world-famous "The Three-Body Problem," while both theories reflect uniquely Chinese ideas. Zhu also appeared at the seminar, where he proposed the concept of an "ecological chain of cosmic civilizations," whereby there are many planets with intelligent alien life and civil social organizations with rules and checks and balances.

The book cover of "Welkin Journey" by Zhu Yuqing. [Image courtesy of China Science and Technology Press]

Yuan Pingfang, director of a PhD association under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, praised "Welkin Journey" for its perspective of looking at the world and the Earth from the universe, rather than the normal view of looking at the universe from the Earth, which he called a breakthrough.

Zhao Hui, deputy chief editor of China Science and Technology Press, the publisher of Zhu's book, said that it is rare in the sci-fi book market for a work like "Welkin Journey" to demonstrate a grand and classical style. Meanwhile, director of the publishing house's sci-fiction editorial department Wang Weiying said that the book expands on mainstream sci-fi and integrates another dimension.

"Over time, the people's vision has been broadened and their tastes are improving, which puts higher demands on sci-fi works in terms of producing profound ideas, exquisite art and excellent production," Wang said. "This requires China's sci-fi industry to create high-quality sci-fi works that match the new era."

During the seminar, Chen Yongzhuo, vice president of iReader Technology, also noted that the Chinese sci-fi industry has expanded from novels to movies, TV dramas, video games, theme parks, merchandise and more, and has even become a kind of cultural phenomenon. Zhang Wanxian, chief culture officer of SenseTime, added that AI technologies can help turn sci-fi scenarios into reality and empower sci-fi creators and movie production.

Zhou Xiaohan, vice president of Kuaishou Technology, suggested that sci-fi creation should push boundaries to crossover into different areas, breaking the borders between science, humanity, art and education, and integrate with other industries to create a better ecology and generate greater momentum.

"At present, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, which provides an unprecedented broad stage for the development of art and literature in China," said Zhang Yali, chief editor of China Writers Publishing House. "Therefore, in the sci-fi world that saves the future of mankind, Chinese sci-fi stories and sci-fi heroes cannot be absent."

Read More