Twelve Hours Later: About this blog

Welcome to Twelve Hours Later!

Here you’ll find news, book reviews, and commentary related to Chinese science fiction, fantasy, and other areas of mainstream and genre literature.

Back in 2004, after taking a course on science fiction theory from Wu Yan at Beijing Normal University, I started up a LiveJournal blog where I posted bits and pieces about Chinese SF. That effort (known as ‘zhwj’) lasted for about a year, and then died when I found other outlets for my writing. Two years later, there’s still not much else out there in English about Chinese genre fiction, so I’ve decided to revive my old project.

Although it would be nice to accommodate all kinds of Chinese genre fiction here at THL, that goal’s probably a bit too ambitious. It’s likely that the majority of the posts will be about Chinese science fiction and fantasy (though I’ve got to confess to liking the occasional romance novel). There’ll probably be short capsule reviews of lots of other stuff, too. Guest contributions are always welcome.

About the name: “twelve hours later” was inspired by “Chinese-Style Youth,” Jin He Zai’s tale of a Chinese Clark Kent who grows up during the late fifties, through the Great Leap Forward and the subsequent Cultural Revolution, but who fails to fit in with the collectivism of the time. Here’s the prologue to that short story:

No one would have imagined that the fate of the globe would be transformed because of twelve hours.

As the planet Krypton was facing annihilation, he placed his son into a spaceship and sent him into the heavens.

That small craft floated through space, crossing nebula after nebula, where the storms of light and matter that had drifted through the universe for tens of thousands of years propelled the child to his ultimate destination, the town of Smallville, Kansas, USA, North America, the Earth, the Solar System.

If everything had proceeded without deviation, if the stars’ gravity had acted precisely as planned, then he would have become an American hero, a legendary Superman.

But the calculations did not account for a piece of inter-stellar dust, less than one-thirty-thousandth of a cubic centimeter in volume, that scratched across the surface of the spaceship, slowing it by one-six-millionth of a percent.

As a result, he arrived on Earth twelve hours late.

There are a lot of fun and exciting things going on with fiction here in China, where clocks are twelve hours off those in New York and Washington, DC (in the summer, at least). I look forward to sharing them with you.


“Chinese-Style Youth” 《中国式青春》 by Jin Hezai (今何在) was first published in the October 2006 issue of Novoland Fantasy and is available online here.

7 Comments

  1. A.R.Yngve says:

    Glad to see you are blogging about Chinese SF & F again!
    :)

  2. Guillermo Bleichmar says:

    Hi Joel,
    My name is Guillermo Bleichmar, I recently graduated from the PhD program in Comparative Literature at Harvard and I’m researching a non-academic article on visions of the future in Asia, Africa and Latin America. As you mention above, there isn’t much in English about Chinese science fiction. I was wondering if you’d have time for a brief conversation on the subject, either by email or by phone. Thanks in advance,
    Guillermo

  3. I declare myself your first slavishly devoted reader. Bring it on.

  4. die zeit says:

    hi,joe,happened to get in your blog.it’s a good place ,thongh the chinese sf is somewhat poor.
    i am a classmate of you in chinese modern literary major in bnu.

  5. Gene van Troyer says:

    Hi, Joel,
    Glad to see this blog up. I’ve been visiting off an on for the last couple of months, but activity seems to be slow in starting. Have you tried inviting a few people to submit some material to get things going for you? Just a thought.
    I have some interest in the area. I recently edited a collection of Japanese SF/F stories, SPECULATIVE JAPAN, published by Kurodahan Press in Japan, and I had the good fortune to meet Prof. Wu Yan at Nippon 2007 — only briefly, I’m afraid — but we’ve struck up a correspondence and are collaborating to get some Chinese SF stories into English for a collection of Asian SF/F that will also feature stories from Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand.
    Print SF looks to be booming in China. It’s a pity there isn’t more discussion about it on sites like this.

  6. yterri says:

    i really wanna read the english version of chinese style youth… that’s a tragic affecting story. I tried to translate it before but always be frustrated by my poor english.

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