Louis Cha, the beloved writer known as Jin Yong, passes away at age of 94

According to the Wen Wei Po, Louis Cha, journalist, historian, educator, and the writer most well-known as Jin Yong, passed away at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital on the afternoon of October 30, 2018. Cha was born in Haining, Zhejiang, on February 6, 1924 .

With each of his fourteen novels inspiring dozens of adaptations, Cha is the most popular wuxia writer of all times, if not the most popular modern Chinese writer.  If you have a favorite actor who acted before this decade, there’s a 90% chance they have played a Jin Yong character.  Just this year, there are at least four adaptations in the works (The Return of the Condor Heroes drama and filmDragon Saber and Heavenly Sword, and Semi-Gods and Demi-Devils) . Continue reading

Translation Tuesday: Cry Me A Sad River Pt. 2


In just a hour, her father told her, “don’t come to look for me again.”
Her mother told her, ” After you die, don’t come looking for me.”
Yi Yao patted her stomach and asked, “are you stupid? why did you come looking for me?”

Part 2 of translations of selected parts of Cry Me a Sad River 悲伤逆流成河 by Guo Jingming. Part 1 here.  Both translations were done like five years ago, so don’t judge, but feel free to comment on errors.


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Top U.S. sci-fi awards recognize The Three Body Problem

Eliminate human tyranny! The world belongs to Trisolaris!

Eliminate human tyranny! The world belongs to Trisolaris!

After the mess of the Hugo that lead to big names like George RR Martin calling foul,  The Three Body Problem became the first Chinese novel to be successfully nominated for best novel for both of Sci-fi’s biggest awards, the Hugo and the Nebula. The novel by Liu Cixin, translated into English by the equally brilliant Ken Liu, is currently in the process of being made into a film. Other than leads Zhang Jingchun and Feng Shaofeng, Tang Yan and Du Chun are also rumored to join the cast.

Congrats to Liu Cixin! Also, duo Nebula and Hugo winner Ken Liu just published his first full-length novel, The Grace of Kings (it’s in English!),  an epic of its own set in a Han-dynasty alternate universe.  I highly recommend you to check it out.

Internet novelists begin to take control of their own drama

I'd watch this.

Chen Xiao in uniform? I’m sold.

Remember back in the days when novels were first being made into TV series? Now, these writers are skipping the novel part and going straight to TV.   With the famous Tonghua (Bu Bu Jing Xin, Cloud Song, Desert Melody) setting the way and now producing her third series  (Perfect Couple, Cage of Love, and an upcoming one), others are joining suit.  A number of upcoming series will be penned by their original authors, including Hai Yan for Nirvana in Fire and Gu Man for Wallace Chung and Tang Yan’s modern series 何以笙箫默.

Others have gone straight to script-writing, producing new works just for the screen.  Most noted for her books involving female secret agents time-travelling and pwning the ancient world,  Xiaoxiang Dong’er is writing a script for Yu Zheng featuring once again special force members, this time set in the Republican era. If anything, the thought of announced lead Chen Xiao in uniform is enough for us to be excited about.

Infamous novelist Vivibear is also working with Yu Zheng on a Palace spinoff.  Despite her notoriety for plagiarism, I’m kind of hoping that Yu Zheng will pick up her book on Lanling Wang because it explains the beauty of the Prince of Orchid Hills by saying she’s actually a girl crossdressing as a boy.

Finally, historical romance writer XiaoChun, who gets nightmares about scriptwriters ruining her books,  revealed she’s also working on a script. Although she’s only written two books, she’s known for her deep knowledge of her subjects and cramming a lot of history into her stories, which is why she’s one of my favorites.

While there’s been a good track record for novelists to advice rather than write their own scripts (the other Hai Yan, Yan Geling, Tonghua, etc.), it’s to be seen how these direct transition from internet novel to script will work. Will these new scriptwriters find success among their predecessors like Qiong Yao and Guo Jingming? What do you think?


Translation Tuesday: Tiny Times 2.0 Chapter 1


Our life was beyond the most ridiculous soap operas or the hallucinations of the insane. Our life was more exciting than any Hollywood action movie. Blood, splashing around. Bullets, shooting continuously. Our spirits, exploding in the air.

Tiny Times 2.0 is the second in the Tiny Times series by Guo Jingming and depicts the lives of four best friends as they face drastic changes that come with entering the real world. Will their friendship last?

The incredibly popular Tiny Times series has been compared to Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada, while also facing criticism for for being superficial and promoting materialism.
I was first attracted to this book because of the cast in the movie version. How can one not watch it when there are so many pretty faces like Kai Ko, Amber Kuo and Guo Biting? Not forgetting the funny Xie Yilin.

Tiny Times 2.0
Chapter 1:

It seems that in the final months of 2008, the newspapers and magazines have only two front page covers. The first captures Obama’s distinctive features and the seemingly determined, or perhaps distressed, look in his eyes. It is the first time a black man has become president of the United States. The second is the economic crisis. The impact of this crisis has been like a tsunami. Its unpredictable waves sweep everything in its way, spreading from the financial centre of the world, New York City. The whole world is being overturned and what remains are the muddy bubbles of the white ocean.

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Guo Jingming: I’m the Chinese dream of these Times

Looks familiar? The Christmas scene from the movie is filmed at no other than Guo Jingming's condo.

Looks familiar? The Christmas scene from the movie is filmed at no other than Guo Jingming’s condo.

Author-publisher-director Guo Jingming sits down with Sina‘s Chen Yiyi to discuss his version of the Chinese Dream, what it means to be an idol,  the attacks on him and his works, and  his visions for his foray into film. Translations of selected parts by me. Random gif’s of unknown origin included.

One of Guo Jingming’s alter egos in the film, played by Chen Xuedong.

“I embody a part of their dream.””

Sina: The main audience of 《Tiny Times》 , those born after ’85, these youths, what characterizes them?
Guo Jingming: The biggest focal point is the pursuit of individuality.  Our parents seek similarities in lifestyles, the same type of pants, same haircut, same food in the same cafeteria.  But today, the lifestyles of the youth are of all types: you might like tattoos, and I like nose rings; you like rock, I like classical music.  People are different, everyone’s a unique individual. There isn’t a “generation of people.” I think only under a twisted societal environment would there be the idea of “a generation of people” or “a group of people.”.

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Translation Tuesday: MCH 1.3-1.4, July 25, 2013

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Picture is probably completely unrelated to the story, but ended up matchig one scene quite well. Drawn by Yi Chui Wu Yue.

There is the slight possibility that there will be no translation tuesday next week, and so to compensate, here are two sections for this week. At last, Prince Zhao finally makes a personal appearance! For now I’m borrowing pictures off the internet (Baiduing things like, “gentleman in purple”), but you should feel free to discuss what type of image you have so far of the characters in the comments. What are your thoughts on the story? The characters?  Continue reading

Translation Tuesday: Man Chao Huan, Chapter 1.1: The First Meeting

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“A Court Full of Happiness” – first place winner of the VIP work for the Online Female Newcomer (author) award.

Thank you for all of the novel suggestions. Most likely one of them will be used in next week’s translation, because I did not read the summary or the book before I began to translate this one. Your thoughts would be much appreciated; does it deserve another shot? 

Also known as “Silken Dream of the Big Dipper.” Written by E’Mei, published in 2010, a time traveling piece.

Summary: Career girl Xie Xuanji, trained in speedy calculation, was transported back to ancient times after dying, landing in the body of a beautiful girl, a singer who was given to the Zhao Palace by a wealthy merchant. In a twist of fate, Xuanji saves the life of Prince Zhao’s mother (this ruins any suspense the first translation may have built up) and thus attracted the attention of Prince Zhao. After discovering her independent personality and unique thought process, he is surprised (and delighted), and falls in love…by legend, she is the reincarnation of a heavenly maiden, and whoever “gains” her, can unite the country…and so she attracts the attention of six countries. But although she just wants a peaceful life, she is constantly thrown into these powerful struggles, facing a choice between the man she loves and a position as queen of the six palaces, how will she decide? And who will really be able to lead China and unite the six kingdoms?  Continue reading

Cry me a sad river by Guo Jingming, translated selected sections


Different people live in different worlds. Red ones; blue ones; green ones; white ones; yellow ones; even pink ones.
Why is it that only you live in a black world?

Jessie had requested this, so I’m going through my old files to put this up again. I’ve only translated parts of it, but it should be enough to understand what’s going on, although there’s a lot of subplots and nuances you’ll be missing.  I’ve added the section numbers for easier comparison to the original.  Here are the first few parts.

Two endpoints make a segment.
One endpoint makes a ray.
No endpoints make a line.
Qi Ming and Yi Yao are like two different rays beginning on the same point but going separate directions, so they grew further and further apart. Each day is even more different than the previous one. Their lives were written separately in print and cursive, only to lose their color with the brushing of time until it’s hard to tell the two apart. Continue reading

Mo Yan wins the 2012 Nobel Literature Prize

The author who is perhaps best known for his tale of “Red Sorghum”  that has been cinematically recaptured by director Zhang Yimou, Mo Yan became the first Chinese national to win a Nobel literature prize.  The committee described him as one “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” Congrats to him, although I’m generally not a big fan of the non-science Nobel prizes.

“His win makes him the first Chinese writer to win the Nobel in its 111-year history: although Gao Xingjian won in 2000, and was born in China, he is now a French citizen, and although Pearl Buck took the prize in 1938, for “her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”, she is an American author.”