Nation set to become the brightest sci-fi star

By Miriam Zhang | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-10 10:28
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Chen Qiufan attends Melon X, a sci-fi convention held in Hong Kong in March. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A nation in change

Hollywood is now fully aware of the marketability of Chinese sci-fi stories.

A producer for Depp's company contacted Chen after reading his work in an anthology earlier this year. Chen said the negotiations went smoothly, and he will now meet with a production team to discuss how the film will be made.

Since 2010, his work has appeared in several US publications, including Clarkesworld Magazine and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

His novel Waste Tide has been published in six countries, including the US, while the British Film Institute has been instrumental in helping a British company attempt to make a movie of the book. Chen has just finished reading the script for the film adaptation. "It looks very good," he said.

The book portrays individuals and their different groups of friends on Silicon Isle, a toxic cesspool that is a major center for recycling electronic waste. The inspiration for Silicon Isle was Guiyu, an area in Chen's hometown of Shantou, a coastal city in Guangdong province.

Guiyu, on the southeast coast, used to be one of the world's largest sites for recycling electronic junk. About a decade ago, its factories processed more than 1.55 million metric tons of electronic garbage from around the world every year.

The near-future dystopian vision in Chen's book quickly caught the attention of Western readers, and Publishers Weekly said the novel was "extremely relevant" to contemporary life, in which morals and ethics are unable to keep pace with the throwaway culture, income disparity and technological advances.

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