Chinese Science Fiction in the Anthropocene
Keywords:Liu Cixin, science fiction, China, Anthropocene, environmental crisis
A green future has become a central promise of the Chinese state and the environment is playing an increasingly important role in China’s bid to promote itself as a political alternative to the West. However, Chinese state environmentalism and its promotion of “ecological civilization” (shengtai wenming ? ??? ) have so far proven more aligned with political interests rather than environmental goals. At the same time, low -orbit industrialization as a response to the climate change or the resurgent fantasy of p opulation control as a necessity from the standpoint of biology in environmentalist discourse are increasingly entangled with anxieties and speculations about Chinese visions of the future. Using Liu Cixin’s short story The Sun of China ( Zhongguo taiyang ???? , 2001) and the 2019 blockbuster science fiction movie The Wandering Earth ( Liulang diqiu ???? ) by Frant Gwo as its point of departure, this paper discusses how current narratives of the Anthropocene are reflected and negotiated in Chinese science fiction. While both works demonstrate the symbolic and economic importance of science and technology to China’s growth and self-image, they also reveal that we cannot separate questions of the planetary from the historical contexts, in which they emerge.
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