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After 1989: The New Wave of Chinese Science Fiction

Mingwei Song
p. 7-13


This paper examines the new wave of Chinese science fiction as both a subversion and variation of the genre’s utopianism of the earlier age. Wang Jinkang’s Ant Life (2007), Liu Cixin’s China 2185 (1989), the Three-Body Trilogy (2006-2010), and the short story “The Micro-Era” (1999) are the main texts this paper studies. Their reflections on utopianism speak to the post-1989 changing intellectual culture and political economy. This paper argues that the new wave of Chinese science fiction contains a self-conscious effort to energise the utopian/dystopian variations rather than a simple denial of utopianism or a total embrace of dystopian disillusionment, and this is particularly represented in Liu Cixin’s novels. The paper also provides some preliminary thoughts on the vision of a post-human future depicted in Liu Cixin’s science fiction.

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Electronic reference

Mingwei Song, « After 1989: The New Wave of Chinese Science Fiction », China Perspectives [Online], 2015/1 | 2015, Online since 01 January 2017, connection on 27 May 2017. URL :

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About the author

Mingwei Song

Mingwei Song is an Associate Professor of Modern Chinese LiteratureDepartment of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Wellesley College (

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