Hi everyone! Just a brief update to let you all know that I’ve relaunched my Patreon! If you’re not familiar with the platform, it’s a way for individuals to directly support creators by becoming patrons, inspired by the patronage system in Renaissance Italy. There are three tiers you can join, with a minimum pledge of […]Read More
In linguistics, the “irrealis mood” refers to grammatical rules around describing events that are not known to the speaker to have occurred. The subjunctive, the conditional, the imperative—these are all moods to refer to the unreal.
Modality Irrealis is S. Qiouyi Lu’s column about the craft of writing and translation, mostly as applied to speculative fiction, which imagines the unreal.
Showing 1-10 of 12.
I came across the video below of Uyghur musicians on Twitter and thought I’d translate the Chinese in the caption to share its powerful message: We are Uyghurs, our muqams will endure for millennia;We will not disappear, we will continue dreaming of autonomy;Today we have instruments in our hands, tomorrow the firearms of uprising;As long […]Read More
I woke up to the kind of orange sunlight that signals there are wildfires nearby. There’s one raging over the mountains right now. But somehow, the apocalyptic feel of it is comforting to me. When I was in Ohio for grad school, there was a single day when I experienced the same kind of sunlight, […]Read More
I’ve spoken on many panels about craft, identity, and representation. Inevitably, when the moderator opens the discussion up for questions from the audience, the same kinds of comments come up over and over again: As a White person, is it okay for me to write a book from the point of view of a Chinese […]Read More
I’ve often been asked how to diversify submissions piles as an editor—in fact, the first time I spoke about the topic to the industry was probably “‘Women and Trans/Non-binary people’: The Pitfalls of Haphazard Gender Inclusion” at WisCon 40 in May 2016, which I was delighted to find a transcript of. I’ve been asked the […]Read More
Back in March, Premee Mohamed shared a favorite sonnet by Jorge Luis Borges, but lamented that their rhythm and rhyme schemes usually aren’t preserved in English translations. So, of course, I had to make an attempt myself at a translation that’s strict on meter and rhyme. Whereas the Spanish is anapestic, I used iambic meter […]Read More
“The most humble of bones still flows with the Yangtze”: Chen Nianxi’s speech celebrating THE VERSE OF US
閱讀中文版。阅读中文版。 English translation of speech given at NYU in 2017 follows. Friends: My name is Chen Nianxi. I was born in a small town on the southern side of the Qinling mountains in northwest China. That area continues to be the most impoverished part of China today. My one-and-a-half-year-old son had just begun to babble […]Read More
I’m currently contracted to translate a graphic novel adaptation of Liu Cixin’s short story “The Village Schoolteacher” (《乡村教师》). The story opens with a teacher having the class read Cao Cao’s “Guan Cang Hai” aloud: 东临碣石，以观沧海。水何澹澹，山岛竦峙。树木丛生，百草丰茂。秋风萧瑟，洪波涌起。日月之行，若出其中。星汉灿烂，若出其里。幸甚至哉，歌以咏志。 (Note: The last line is a common set phrase to conclude a Chinese lyrical poem and is not included in […]Read More
I recently finished translating one of Liu Cixin’s short stories, 《微观尽头》, or “End of the Microcosmos.” It’s a very short story, only 2,400 words, about what kind of surprising conclusions we might be able to draw from Large Hadron Collider experiments. Among those witnessing the story’s central experiment are the chief engineer at the research […]Read More
Most of my characters are Chinese-American like me. They usually have a Western name, a Chinese name, and a Chinese surname. I’ve always loved naming characters, and this structure gives me opportunities to explore both branches of my heritage. (I use modified or other methods for non-Chinese characters and characters in secondary worlds.) Historical name […]Read More