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Literary Criticism Science Fiction & Fantasy

Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw

by (author) Hua Li

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2021
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Chinese, Asian Studies
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
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The late 1970s to the mid-1980s, a period commonly referred to as the post-Mao cultural thaw, was a key transitional phase in the evolution of Chinese science fiction. This period served as a bridge between science-popularization science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s and New Wave Chinese science fiction from the 1990s into the twenty-first century. Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw surveys the field of Chinese science fiction and its multimedia practice, analysing and assessing science fiction works by well-known writers such as Ye Yonglie, Zheng Wenguang, Tong Enzheng, and Xiao Jianheng, as well as the often-overlooked tech–science fiction writers of the post-Mao thaw.


Exploring the socio-political and cultural dynamics of science-related Chinese literature during this period, Hua Li combines close readings of original Chinese literary texts with literary analysis informed by scholarship on science fiction as a genre, Chinese literary history, and media studies. Li argues that this science fiction of the post-Mao thaw began its rise as a type of government-backed literature, yet it often stirred up controversy and received pushback as a contentious and boundary-breaking genre. Topically structured and interdisciplinary in scope, Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw will appeal to both scholars and fans of science fiction.

About the author

Hua Li is an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures at Montana State University.

Hua Li's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw should be commended for its innovative approach to China’s literary and cultural history."

<em>Modern Chinese Literature and Culture</em>

"Li provides well-researched historical, comparative literary, and national policy contexts, and she explains tie-ins of fiction, comics, and small- and large-screen media productions."