Chinese SF

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I update the comprehensive “China” entry with details of the recent China Film Administration paper on the future of sf movies.

“Politically, this could be seen as the statement of a case for sf as a worthy contributor to modern Chinese society, pre-empting a backlash like that of 1983; practically, it risks adding little to the genre in China except an additional level of management.”

Yanis Varoufakis

“Much of Varoufakis’s work can be seen as an engagement with the work of Karl Marx (1818-1883) as if it were a foundational text in an Economic sub-genre of science fiction: that Marx himself offers a stinging critique of capitalist society, but no actual alternative. ‘I still believe,’ said Varoufakis in his 2019 Taylor lecture at Oxford University, ‘we face a stark choice between (A) science fictions that are being deployed to maintain a clinically deceased dystopia and (B) science fictions that can help a realistic utopia be born.'”

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I write up Yanis Varoufakis, definitely in my top ten Favourite Greeks. Also: nice shirt.

Reader, She Didn’t Marry Him

“Sittenfeld’s Rodham (2020) is an alternate history that takes as its Jonbar Point the refusal of a young Hillary Rodham to marry Bill Clinton. The timeline thereby ensuing came under fire from some critics for retaining the importance of Clinton in the heroine’s life thereafter, although this was part of Sittenfeld’s narrative point – that both of them were destined to be major figures in political history, as were Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, and indeed Donald Trump, whom the novel’s Hillary fatefully attempts to groom as a useful idiot.”
Over at the SF Encyclopedia, I write up Curtis Sittenfeld.

Shinji Kajio

“Much of Kajio’s most memorable work focuses on some aspect of time abyss, the collateral victims of time travel in its various forms, the people they leave behind or the investigators who must piece together their origins.”

Over at the Encyclopedia of SF, I write up the remarkable career of Shinji Kajio, who began by writing about War of the Worlds, and focusses recurringly on the mess people left when they went away.

Hideo Furukawa

“‘Comparing a Japanese writer with Haruki Murakami is the laziest move a reviewer can make,’ noted Iain Maloney in the Japan Times, ‘but with Slow Boat, Hideo Furukawa leaves critics no choice.'”

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I write up Hideo Furukawa, the post-modern author whose Inu-oh has just been announced as the next film project from Masaaki Yuasa.

Beaver Apocalypse

“‘Les Castors du Roi’ [The King’s Beavers] (2011) features Europeans and First-Nations peoples slaughtering beavers, which, in a moment of uplift, are seen pleading for their lives and praying for a divine intercession that never comes. With deliberate provocation, it has been hung in the Montreal Musée des Beaux-arts at the entrance to a gallery of seventeenth-century artwork that celebrates Canada’s early days of trapping and hunting, and the taming of nature.”

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I write up the absurd artwork of Kent Monkman, a year after running into his beaver holocaust in Montreal.


“Despite his deeply-held faith, Father Jacob is a professional cynic, happy to write off supposed miracles as mundane mental illnesses or coincidences, but also ready to discount actual miracles as works of Satanic misdirection. Alternately regarded as too traditional and also as too progressive by his various enemies, his story is riddled with delicious paranoia, particularly in relation to his baleful superior Cardinal Bukovak, who is ambiguously presented as either a gruff, careerist bureaucrat or a Satanic agent, depending on one’s perception.”

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I contribute several new entries, including an account of the career of the Japanese screenwriter and novelist Akinori Endo, as well as articles on Joe Ahearne’s two much-loved TV shows, Ultraviolet and Apparitions.

Shulamith Firestone and others

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I’ve contributed a few small entries on some utopian thinkers, including Liang Qichao, who imagined China in 1962 as a constitutional monarchy, Biheguan Zhuren, who imagined the Chinese occupation of the western United States, and Lu Shi’e, who thought a future paradise should be a place where men don’t have to carry umbrellas, as well as the radical feminist Shulamith Firestone (pictured), who called for women to be freed from the barbarism of biology. Also Dutch sci-fi in a cyberpunk Amsterdam from PJ Pancras. It’s all in a day’s work at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.