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Thread: Ying Xiong Zhi (Heroic Chronicles), the BEST contemporary work in wuxia.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Siven's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Ying Xiong Zhi (Heroic Chronicles), the BEST contemporary work in wuxia.

    Heroic Chronicles, or Ying Xiong Zhi in Pingyin, is written by Sun Xiao, a part-time author living in Taiwan. It is his debut work, which is surprising given the book's scope and quality. It is also a work in progress, being published in large parts over a 10-year period, by a publishing house started by the author with the hope of reinvigorating the wuxia genre, which many would say has been in slow decline in recent years. Reportedly the book will conclude in 2006. Already the length is at million plus words. It is arguably one of the most critically acclaimed wuxia novels to come out in recent years.

    I'll attempt to give a rough summary and highly subjective review of the book. The overall quality of Ying Xiong Zhi, even though it is not yet finished, is considered by many to approach closely, if not exceed, that of Jing Yong's better works. It is written like traditional wuxia, but also intermixes historical fiction and romantic drama. The author's style, choice of words, historical and literary knowledge, as well as creativeness are all top rate. In many areas it can be compared favorably against the works of Gu Long, and certainly surpasses that of Huang Yi, whose books though filled with interesting events lack substance. Sun Xiao is especially adept at character portrayal. Like DGSD, there's not just one protagonist, but an ensemble of primary characters, all of which lead essential plots indispensable to the whole. The author pays just as much attention to supporting characters, and even minor, throw-away roles are brought to life unforgettably.

    The book is set in the Ming dynasty. The main plot begins when the top army general is accused of murdering the emperor while both are on a military campaign against a border tribe. His family is put to death by the new emperor, and he is forced into rebellion with army elements loyal to him. Many years later, a secret message etched on sheepskin surfaces that hints the general was innocent, and the former emperor may yet be alive. This is not something those now in power want to be known...

    Main Characters:

    • Lu Yun, a poor literary student with a strong sense of moral righteousness. He seeks to "do what is right" regardless of the sacrifice. A good and honorable man, his growth from nobody to a heroic figure is one of the most gripping plot elements.
    • Wu Ding Yuan, a prudent and capable police detective. His investigation into a massacre connected to the sheepskin and his stubborn pursuit of those responsible would lead him to take on ever heavier burdens of responsibility and power.
    • Qin Zhong Hai, an officer of the imperial army known for his martial prowess and coarse habits. He serves his superiors bravely, but has a rebellious and forthright streak that is unafraid of confrontation, even against those more powerful. He thinks himself an orphan, raised by a shifu who is one of the strongest martial artists in the world, but there may be more dangerous secrets to his lineage.
    • Yang Su Guan, a young and accomplished government official. An enigmatic character, he can appear very unalike to different people. To his friends he's generous, loyal and dependable; to his foes, devious and skillful; to the women that fall for his urbane demeanor and courtly manners, kind, caring and the perfect lover. His heart's desire however, may be something grander and more terrifying than any of them can imagine.


    I've done all I can to try to catch your attention. The book is well worth a read, if it's the last thing you do. You won't be able to put it down once you've gone past a few chapters. For now it's only available in Chinese, but can be found on a lot of websites devoted to wuxia fiction, and creative writing in general. At this link you can download the simplified Chinese version, up to part 19, which is all that has been published (main link). Hardcopy can be found at shops that carry Taiwanese publications.

  2. #2
    Senior Member PJ's Avatar
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    Seems to have a lot of government involvement.

    Any cool martial arts?
    Quote Originally Posted by CC
    So what if 1000 arrows are targetted at our wuxia hero? LHC's missile breaking stance can deflect thousands of projectiles in 1 stance and send them back to the enemy. The more arrows the better!

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    Senior Member Siven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ
    Seems to have a lot of government involvement.

    Any cool martial arts?
    Yes, there's certainly a lot of political overtones. Governmental involvement is often pivotal and direct, unlike in many wuxia stories where the government just let everyone run wild.

    The martial arts in the book, while maybe not as systematic as JY's, are inventive and well thought, and based on the traditional schools and sects featured in most wuxia stories. Some also feature metaphysical and almost fantastic elements. But like all the best wuxia stories it's not all about the martial arts, but how those who have mastered them use them in service of personal ideals.
    林家有女玉啄成
    嫣然巧笑艳冠人
    纤纤起舞随风动
    疑似飞燕又重生

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    Senior Member Du Gu seeking a win's Avatar
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    Default Sample translation, perhaps?

    -


    Thanks for the recommendation. I understand SX produced at the rate of two chapters in a year. Isn't it way too slow (19 chapters in 10 years) for his fans?

    Since for most of us reading Chinese is a very painful process using Babelfish etc. could you perhaps give us a small sample translation of a passage you think most attractive

    It would encourage us immensely and would make us curious to read the original.
    thx in advance.

    NB
    I hear from someone that SX formerly writes directly in the web and after he gains success he publishes his writings.

    -

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    Senior Member Siven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Du Gu seeking a win
    Since for most of us reading Chinese is a very painful process using Babelfish etc. could you perhaps give us a small sample translation of a passage you think most attractive
    Babelfish?! You've got to be kidding... It's ok for short words and phrases, but anything longer would be worse than not reading at all, IMO.

    I'm not really up to the task of providing a translation though, sorry. Even though I am fluent in the languages, they're just too dissimilar to do justice to the full range of cultural nuances and literary traditions involved.

    It's hard being a wuxia fan without knowing Chinese, like being a Greek scholar without knowing Latin.

    The author does write pretty slowly, and the popularity of the book indeed suffers for it. But he claims to have the last three chapters largely written already (for a total of 22), and hopes to finish it in 2006.
    林家有女玉啄成
    嫣然巧笑艳冠人
    纤纤起舞随风动
    疑似飞燕又重生

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    Senior Member Siven's Avatar
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    In the unlikelihood that someone else is following this monumental work, most of volume 21 is available online now.

    If the final 2 volumes will come out this year as the author claims, then I'll die a happy man.
    林家有女玉啄成
    嫣然巧笑艳冠人
    纤纤起舞随风动
    疑似飞燕又重生

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    Senior Member Siven's Avatar
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    It has been confirmed that a TV adaptation of this novel has entered production! Amazing considering that the novel itself won't see conclusion until September.

    However the novel remains the best kept secret among mostly wuxia fans in China and Taiwan. It is very little known outside of those areas.
    林家有女玉啄成
    嫣然巧笑艳冠人
    纤纤起舞随风动
    疑似飞燕又重生

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    Senior Member Extremer88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siven
    It has been confirmed that a TV adaptation of this novel has entered production! Amazing considering that the novel itself won't see conclusion until September.
    Which TV station?
    ..ext88

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    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    i wish i could read chinese...cursed! now i have to wait for someone to translate this novel...will anyone be generous enough to do so?
    if you have the time and enthusiasm, please join in on the new and fabulous wuxia rpg fic /rpg discussion. (<--- click here)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Siven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extremer88
    Which TV station?
    Umm, it just began filming like today...be a while before it can possibly go broadcast.
    林家有女玉啄成
    嫣然巧笑艳冠人
    纤纤起舞随风动
    疑似飞燕又重生

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