Nation set to become the brightest sci-fi star

By Miriam Zhang | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-10 10:28
Chen Qiufan's novel Waste Tide has been published in six countries. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Boosting imagination

At a science fiction convention in Hong Kong in March, industry insiders gathered to share their insights and discuss the future of Asian sci-fi. Their principal concern was to maintain the flow of original, imaginative stories.

Scarlett Li, who has held executive positions at Star TV and Channel V, two of China's leading audiovisual players, said original stories are in demand as never before, because of the expansion of the media.

Albert Tam, a sci-fi writer in the city, participated in writing the screenplay for Warriors of Future, an upcoming sci-fi action film produced by Hong Kong movie star Louis Koo. In Tam's experience, ideas are more important than budgets.

Chen Qiufan echoed that opinion, noting that the real problem is that young writers are not willing to spend time and energy to make great stories.

"We do not lack money now. What we need is talented people who are willing to devote themselves," he said.

When he was a child, Chen believed in magical things: that people could fly or that alien life existed, and that helped to boost his imagination and make him a better writer.

Asked how imagination can be sparked, he replied, "Faith", and cited the ability to maintain suspension of disbelief, because a willingness to set aside skepticism is what fuels good sci-fi works.

Writers must accept that everything is possible; something he believes is the first step in writing fiction.

"I know some people who can write good screenplays, but just can't write science fiction because they can't believe in, or imagine, something that doesn't exist," he said.

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