This month we're delighted to feature a story from the recently published collection of Chinese science fiction and fantasy, The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang (Tordotcom, 2022).
In The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, you can dine at a restaurant at the end of the universe, cultivate to immortality in the high mountains, watch roses perform Shakespeare, or arrive at the island of the gods on the backs of giant fish to ensure that the world can bloom.
Written, edited, and translated by a female and nonbinary team... Time travel to a winter's day on the West Lake, explore the very boundaries of death itself, and meet old gods and new heroes in this stunning new collection.
The collection, with work by leading authors, translators and critics, includes seventeen stories and five essays, which cover topics including translation, gender, and internet novels.
"I want to emphasize the importance of translators for this book. From the very beginning, we decided to cherish the translations as well as the creation of the original stories and essays. We tried to match each story with a suitable translator, whether the translator had more experience or was an emerging one...Their names appear together with the authors and their craft is fully acknowledged. We are excited about this vibrant team: some of them have translated a number of speculative fiction pieces before, like Cara Healey, Carmen Yiling Yan, Elizabeth Hanlon, Rebecca F. Kuang, and Emily Xueni Jin; some of them have abundant experience in translating other genres, like Judy Yi Zhou, Mel “etvolare” Lee, and Gigi Chang; some of them are writers themselves and are interested in speculative fiction translation, like Ru-Ping Chen, Yilin Wang, and Judith Huang."
-Regina Kanyu Wang, Clarkesworld
The story we feature is 'New Year Painting, Ink and Color on Rice Paper, Zhaoqiao Village' (年画), by Chen Qian 陈茜, translated by Emily Xueni Jin 金雪妮. You can read it in Chinese here, and in Emily's English translation here. This story shows the breadth of genre in the collection - it's very much a ghost story, and sits happily amongst other stories featuring elements of science fiction, fantasy, and martial arts.
"The other most important criterion [for selecting the stories] was the Asian background. We gave up some wonderful stories that were clearly influenced by Hollywood films, and instead we chose more stories that retell myths and legends in order to show our long history and diverse cultures."
-Yu Chen, Clarkesworld
Author Chen Qian started her science fiction and fantasy writing career in 2006. She is a member of the Chinese Science Writers Association, the Science Literary and Art Committee, and also the Shanghai Youth Literary and Arts Association. Her short stories can be found in Science Fiction King, Science Fiction World, Odyssey of China Fantasy, Zui Fiction, and more. Her works have been selected as Chinese SF Year's Best, and adapted into comics and broadcast drama. She has published a short story collection, The Prisoner of Memory; a YA novel, Deep Sea Bus; and a YA short story collection, Sea Sausage Bus. She has won a Silver Award for Best Novella and a Golden Award for Best New Writer at the Xingyun Awards, the Chinese SF Coordinate Award, and a Golden Award for best Short Story at the Children's Science Fiction Nebula Awards.
Emily Xueni Jin is a science fiction and fantasy translator, translating both from Chinese to English and the other way around. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2017, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literature at Yale University. As one of the core members of the Clarkesworld-Storycom collaborative project on publishing English translations of Chinese science fiction, she has worked with various prominent Chinese SFF writers. Her most recent Chinese to English translations can be found in publications such as Vector and Field Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature.