Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ming Pao Daily News article about The Dragon and the Stars: English Translation

Two Chinese Canadian Writers and Overseas Compatriots Together in Chinese Science Fiction Book

By Wendy Yang

Published in Ming Pao Daily News, Toronto edition, February 8, 2010, p. A2

Overseas Chinese writers are numerous, but those writing science fiction are few. Two Chinese Canadian science fiction writers, with overseas Chinese writers in different countries, have created a book of 18 science fiction and fantasy short stories, to be released on May 11. This will be North America's first all-overseas-Chinese anthology of science fiction and fantasy.

The anthology, called The Dragon and the Stars, will be published by well-known American science fiction publisher DAW Books. It contains 18 short stories from Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Singapore. The 18 Chinese authors wrote their stories in English over six months. Five of the authors are from Canada, and they are strong in Canadian sci-fi circles.

Tony Pi was born in Taipei, immigrated to Canada when he was 8 years old, and grew up in Toronto. He earned his Ph.D. in linguistics at Montreal's McGill University and has worked at several universities in Canada. At present, he is administering the graduate program in Cinema Studies at University of Toronto.

For the new book, he wrote the fantasy story "The Character of the Hound". The story centers on a war between the Southern Song and Jin. The ghost of a soldier adopts the word "Dog" as a tattoo on his body and acquires super powers to solve a murder in the army.

Tony Pi likes science fiction, in particular, Japanese manga (comics). "I like to use imagination to explore the present and the past and things that do not exist in the world. I like to create." In 2006, he wrote his first story, "The Stone Cipher", which won second place in the first quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, an international competition that finds cutting-edge science fiction writers. So far he has published 20 short stories, each of about 4,000 words.

Derwin Mak is another Chinese science fiction writer. He was born in Peterborough, Ontario. His father is from Hong Kong, and his mother is Malaysian Chinese. He is a chartered accountant, a member of Royal Canadian Military Institute, and a lecturer at the Institute.

He wrote "The Polar Bear Carries the Mail", about a Chinese company that joins with Inuit in northern Canada to build a spaceport but are opposed by environmentalists.
The main character is a Chinese astronaut, and the story involves feng shui problems.

Derwin Mak began writing science fiction in 2001. His 2005 story "Transubstantiation" won the Prix Aurora Award, Canada's national science fiction award, equivalent to the United States' Hugo Award.

He said the new book is significant in correcting the past image of Chinese people and their culture in science fiction, which has been often negative. "The stories in The Dragon and the Stars all have Chinese themes, and many have ethnic Chinese main characters. Chinese culture is 5,000 years old, there are four great inventions of China, and Chinese history is full of scientific and technological development. This is a rich basis for science fiction and should be reflected in current stories."

There are another three Chinese Canadian science fiction writers: Eric Choi, Melissa J. Yuan-Innes, and Elaine Chen. Eric Choi's first story, "Dedication", was published in 1994, making him the first Chinese Canadian science fiction writer.

Derwin Mak says that overseas Chinese are now writing science fiction because North American tastes are changing. First, North Americans are more accepting of Asian culture, such as Japanese manga (comics) and Chinese martial arts movies. Secondly, North American society has become more diverse and inclusive of ethnic minorities in popular culture and creative fields, resulting in the emergence of Canadian Chinese science fiction writers.

Addendum to the English translation:

Eric Choi is co-editor of The Dragon and the Stars. His story "Dedication" won the Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing (now called the Dell Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing).

The original Chinese text refers to The Dragon and the Stars as a science fiction anthology, but it also contains fantasy stories.

Ming Pao Daily News (Toronto) article about The Dragon and the Stars

Ming Pao Daily News, a major Chinese newspaper, published this article about The Dragon and the Stars in its Toronto edition, February 8, 2010. The reporter Wendy Yang interviewed me and Tony Pi.

English translation is coming.




作 品集名為《The Dragon and the Stars)》(龍與群星)﹐5月1日將由美國著名科幻出版商DAW Books出版。它收錄的18個短篇科幻小說﹐是由加拿大、美國、香港、菲律賓、新加坡等國家的18位華裔作家﹐在過去半年內用英文創作。其中加拿大有5 位﹐他們是加拿大科幻圈中頗具實力的華裔作家。

畢家怡(Tony Pi)出生於台北﹐8歲移民加拿大並在多倫多長大。他在滿地可的麥基爾大學獲得語言學博士學位後﹐在加國一些大學教授語言學。目前在多大電影研究系做行政工作。

他此次為新書創作的奇幻作品為《The Character of the Hound》(犬的特點)。故事以南宋和金國之間的戰爭為背景﹐講述一個鬼魂通過士兵身上的「犬」字圖騰進入其身體﹐使士兵具有超能力﹐解決發生在軍隊內的謀殺案。

畢 家怡從小就喜歡科幻作品﹐尤其喜歡看日本漫畫﹐「我很喜歡用想象來探索現在和過去都不存在的世界﹐我喜歡進行創造。」2006年他創作了第一篇科幻小說 《The Stone Cipher》(寶石密碼)﹐為他贏得了當年第一季度未來作家競賽二等獎﹐這是一項旨在發現新銳科幻作家的國際性賽事。至今他已出版了20篇、每篇大約 4000字的短篇科幻小說。

麥家瑋(Derwin Mak)是另外一位華裔科幻作家。他出生安省彼得堡﹐父是香港移民﹐母是馬來西亞華僑。目前他是加拿大皇家軍事學院的一名註冊會計師﹐也是學院的委員和講師。

他此次創作的科幻小說《The Polar Bear Carries the Mail》(北極熊拿覑信)﹐講述一間中國公司要在加國茵紐特人地區修建一座太空站﹐但因為環境問題﹐遭到當地人反對。主角是一位華裔宇航員﹐故事涉及風水問題。

麥家瑋從2001年開始創作科幻作品﹐其中2005年的作品《變體》獲得「極光獎」(Aurora Award)﹐這是加拿大國家級科幻小說獎﹐相當於美國的雨果獎。

他 說﹐此次新書出版的意義在於﹐糾正以往科幻小說中對華裔形象和文化的負面描寫﹐此次收錄的小說都具有中國元素﹐且不少以華裔為主角。中華5000年文化博 大精深﹐還有四大發明﹐中國是一個充滿科技發展歷史的國家﹐具備相當豐富的科幻創作基礎﹐這些應該在科幻小說中得到展示。

另外3位加國華裔科幻作家是蔡文信﹐以及兩位女作家Melissa J. Yuan-Innes和Elaine Chen。其中蔡文信94年的處女作《奉獻》被看成加國首位華裔科幻作家的誕生。