cover image That We May Live: Speculative Chinese Fiction

That We May Live: Speculative Chinese Fiction

Dorothy Tse et al. Two Lines, $16.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-949641-00-4

This remarkable anthology of Chinese speculative fiction offers seven tales of societal responsibility and individual freedom. In “A Counterfeit Life” by Chen Si’an, translated by Canaan Morse, a man becomes the leader of a subtle labor revolution. Two stories by Enoch Tam, both translated by Jeremy Tiang, dive deep into evocative settings: in “The Mushroom Houses Proliferated in District M” a town plants giant mushrooms for shelter, while “Auntie Han’s Modern Life” revolves around a shopkeeper in a strange, changing district. Gender and self-determination lie at the core of both “Sour Meat” by Dorothy Tse, translated by Natascha Bruce, and “Flourishing Beasts” by Yan Ge, translated by Jeremy Tiang. In Zhu Hui’s “Lip Service,” translated by Michael Day, a charismatic aging news anchor plots to keep her job, and in “The Elephant,” by Chan Chi Wa, translated by Audrey Heijns, the mysterious disappearance of an elephant throws a town into chaos, leading to a thorough exploration of authority and trust. By turns cryptic and revealing, phantasmagorical and straightforward, these tales balance reality and fantasy on the edge of a knife. This provocative sampler of Chinese fiction is both challenging and rewarding. (Mar.)