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Rewriting the Tradition: Destiny and Diaspora in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun

Recently, we’ve been blessed by authors of the Asian diaspora producing and publishing incredible works of SF/F literature, but what many people don’t realize when reading English-language SF/F inspired by Asian history, literature, and culture, is that each book embodies a unique, diasporic reception of that so-called heritage.

Particularly in the Chinese tradition, there are three thousand years of thinkers, philosophers, essayists, poets, novelists, and satirists that contributed to the culture. There are schools of thought that metastasize and spill over into squabbling branches that snipe at each other for subsequent centuries; there are critics and scholars and libraries full of annotations buried in intertextual commentary. Faced with this unwieldy, ponderous inheritance, each author working with the Chinese tradition has to choose—how much of the tradition will they lay claim to, to reimagine and reinvent?

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