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Thread: Wuxia Short Fiction

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Default Wuxia Short Fiction

    There are a lot of translations on this site, with a lot of hard work put into each one. Already most of Jin Yong's oeuvre has been translated, along with quite a few Gu Long works, and others. But there has been a lot of wuxia written since the big three, and not all of it long novels and series.

    In an effort to further promote wuxia in English, and because I want read works by other writers that haven't gotten any attention among English-speaking communities, I've started translating short stories from various issues of wuxia magazines. There are a lot of stories out there, and the short story form is unique in the kinds of stories presented and in the ways in which the stories are told. The wuxia short story form hasn't really been explored in English translation so far, except for Jin Yong's Jade Maiden, but hopefully this thread will change that, as well as inspire others to begin their own short story or novella translations.

    The first one I'm posting is called "Dancing Snow" (Wuxue, 舞雪) by Chen Jiye. It's from a 2003 issue of 今古傳奇 武俠版, a Chinese wuxia magazine. Notices of new story postings will occur as replies to this thread.

    This first post will be used as an index of short story links. If you have one, you can leave it in a reply to this thread and I will add it to the index. Happy reading everyone!

    Wuxia Short Fiction Index

    Chen Jiye
    Dancing Snow (舞雪)

    Huo Xiang
    Witness (目擊)

    Chen Zhiyu
    The Qiao Family Bridge Hand (錦橋手)

    Lang Xiaojing
    Liu Luo Xiang (六羅香)

    Gao Sui
    Plain Wooden Spear (素木槍)

    Ta Xue
    A Lone Wisp of Smoke Rising (大漠孤煙直)

    Qu Yehe
    Master Guan (關大先生)

    Wu Yongsheng
    Day In and Day Out (逐月)

    Cang Yue
    Troubled Times, Worldly Desires (亂世塵心) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

    Yang Pan
    A Soldier's Story (小兵物語)

    Wen Rui'an
    Cheat (詐)
    Brother, Lend Me Your Head (老歌,借頭一用) NEW
    Last edited by whiteskwirl; 03-07-12 at 08:14 AM.
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Hey everybody,

    I've added another story to the index: Witness by Huo Xiang, from a 10/2006 issue (#119) of 今古傳奇 武俠版.

    Enjoy!
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Thank you very much! This is really interesting.

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    You're quite welcome WesY2K!

    I've updated the index with another story: "The Qiao Family Bridge Hand" by Chen Zhiyu, from a January 2004 issue (#43) of 今古傳奇 武俠版.

    There will be another story posted next week sometime after New Years. Happy New Year everyone!
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Thanks whiteskwirl. I haven't read the translation yet but once I get some free time, I will definitely go through them.
    I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code.

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    I've updated the index with another wuxia story, "Liu Luo Xiang" by Lang Xiaojing, from a November 2006 issue (#121) of 今古傳奇 武俠版.

    I'm going to try to post a story a week. Hopefully I can meet the deadline each time.

    Enjoy!
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Senior Member kohchun's Avatar
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    Thank you for the translations. They're actually very good reads

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohchun View Post
    Thank you for the translations. They're actually very good reads
    Glad you like them. I've enjoyed them so far as well. I've been picking stories at random, basically, and based on length; fortunately the ones I've chosen so far have turned out to be pretty good.
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Senior Member Han Solo's Avatar
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    Thank you for your effort in posting these links.

    Han Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
    Thank you for your effort in posting these links.

    Han Solo
    It's my pleasure. I'm just glad there are people interested in reading these stories. I'll have another one up in about 12 hours (from time of posting this).
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    I've updated the index with a new story: Plain Wooden Spear (素木槍) by Gao Sui.
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Thank you very much! I really like the stories you have chosen, even if you chose at random :-)

    Do you think there will also be some modern day wuxia stories? I'm always fascinated how wuxia translates in modern times.

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesY2K View Post
    Thank you very much! I really like the stories you have chosen, even if you chose at random :-)

    Do you think there will also be some modern day wuxia stories? I'm always fascinated how wuxia translates in modern times.
    It's possible. So far I've been selecting stories based on length, going with the shorter stories first. If I happen to select a modern day story I'll certainly translate it.
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Senior Member yeongwee's Avatar
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    Where do you find your source material? Or are they all over the place?

    Thanks for the translations btw, they've been awesome! =)
    Man is glue. You are man. How then can you step away from glue?

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeongwee View Post
    Where do you find your source material? Or are they all over the place?

    Thanks for the translations btw, they've been awesome! =)
    They're all from the wuxia magazine 今古傳奇 武俠版. I found text file versions on the internet.
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    I added another wuxia story to the index above: A Lone Wisp of Smoke Rising (大漠孤煙直) by Ta Xue.

    I plan to have another story out next Monday to celebrate Chinese New Year.

    Enjoy!

    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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    If you want to celebrate Chinese New Year, you better make it a story with "Dragon" in the title

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    Wow, Whiteskwirl, I really appreciate what you're trying to do with Chinese literature, and the short fiction seems particularly well translated. Not really related, but...meta incoherent WOT ahead, but hopefully you get my points.

    I know you had the other thread where you wanted people to post their original wu xia fiction in english, but I wonder about how easily such a genre as wu xia translates into a more "international" context? In the sense that a lot of elements of wu xia take from "chinese culture", as well as the difficulties of the translating languages without losing their poetic sense or sounding strange in english, especially when it comes to names (we all know what happened with that english translation of Jin Yong's novel).

    On a side note, maybe it's my own lack of finesse, and that i'm not particularly good reading mandarin and most of the literature translations for classics seem to use waldes glides, but I've tried reading Water Margin but I couldn't really get into in. I get its significance, but for the most part the novel feels really formulaic? So I get that I'm probably missing something.

    And hee, since you do translations of Wu Xia, consider it a request, but I'd love to read a well translated version of Liang Yu Sheng's JHSNX or White haired demon- since he is the only Wu Xia author that I know of that doesn't create either mary-sues or misogynistic portrayals of women. Though I wonder if this has anything to do with the lack of "current" adaptations for both books. Or any other wu xia short fiction that features well written female characters?

    *I know Wuxiapedia has the half completed version of white haired demon, but JY's novels get various fans translations.

    * Or at least, I think white haired demon has had a few adaptations, but I can't stand watching older Wu Xia shows cause of their dubbing and fashion, but from what I've read they tend to cast her in a light thats highlights her sort of sweet sadness in a kind of way that makes her more sympathetic to the male gaze? (Considering the fact that there are a lot of sexism that goes unaddressed in Wu Xia, even as a girl who enjoys it, lol)
    Last edited by ice_mountain23; 01-20-12 at 10:19 AM.

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    @ice_mountain23:
    Do you mean THIS completed translation?
    http://www.spcnet.tv/forums/showthre...l=1#post928181

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ice_mountain23 View Post
    Wow, Whiteskwirl, I really appreciate what you're trying to do with Chinese literature, and the short fiction seems particularly well translated. Not really related, but...meta incoherent WOT ahead, but hopefully you get my points.

    I know you had the other thread where you wanted people to post their original wu xia fiction in english, but I wonder about how easily such a genre as wu xia translates into a more "international" context? In the sense that a lot of elements of wu xia take from "chinese culture", as well as the difficulties of the translating languages without losing their poetic sense or sounding strange in english, especially when it comes to names (we all know what happened with that english translation of Jin Yong's novel).

    On a side note, maybe it's my own lack of finesse, and that i'm not particularly good reading mandarin and most of the literature translations for classics seem to use waldes glides, but I've tried reading Water Margin but I couldn't really get into in. I get its significance, but for the most part the novel feels really formulaic? So I get that I'm probably missing something.

    And hee, since you do translations of Wu Xia, consider it a request, but I'd love to read a well translated version of Liang Yu Sheng's JHSNX or White haired demon- since he is the only Wu Xia author that I know of that doesn't create either mary-sues or misogynistic portrayals of women. Though I wonder if this has anything to do with the lack of "current" adaptations for both books. Or any other wu xia short fiction that features well written female characters?

    *I know Wuxiapedia has the half completed version of white haired demon, but JY's novels get various fans translations.

    * Or at least, I think white haired demon has had a few adaptations, but I can't stand watching older Wu Xia shows cause of their dubbing and fashion, but from what I've read they tend to cast her in a light thats highlights her sort of sweet sadness in a kind of way that makes her more sympathetic to the male gaze? (Considering the fact that there are a lot of sexism that goes unaddressed in Wu Xia, even as a girl who enjoys it, lol)
    Thanks for your comment. I think there definitely is a barrier to entry regarding wuxia; in order to really enjoy it you need to know some Chinese culture, but it's nothing an interested fan can't learn. When translating, there are always compromised that have to be made, but I think it's rare to miss out on the big picture of the story, unless the translation is really inaccurate. You do miss out on double meanings or connotations that can't be put into English without lengthy explanations that would just bog the story down. So sometimes you just have to continue on without it. When it comes to names, I just transliterate, using pinyin. Translating literally can lead to some silly-sounding names.

    As far as original fiction goes, I think the fact that there are so many fan translations is proof enough that the genre can work in English. Just imagine that these short story translations are my original writings; it's certainly conceivable that I or someone else could have come up with these stories. And there are people writing original wuxia stories in English. They're just not easy to find, in part because the wuxia community is too decentralized, and in part because wuxia in English is a small niche, though a niche that could be much larger.

    I'm launching a new wuxia forum this Monday which I hope will one day rectify some of these problems and provide a central hub for wuxia discussion, but we'll see how it goes. I hope to attract more translators and get more active translations going like there used to be, and I hope to encourage more people to try their hand at writing original wuxia works. The more wuxia available, the better the chances for increasing the number of fans. The more fans, the better the chances for official translations, more movie localizations, etc. Just more exposure for this genre we all here love.

    For my part, aside from the forum, I plan to keep translating, keep active in order to encourage others to do likewise. I'm going to continue translating short stories, but I'm also working on a novelette/novella translation by Cang Yue, one of the more popular contemporary wuxia writers, and probably the most popular female wuxia writer, After that I plan to translate 碎空刀 by Shi Wei Han with a goal of getting that novel published officially, through securing rights to translate it and getting a publisher to publish it. In the meantime, I plan to keep translating short stories and also translate articles, essays, and reviews. I'm 2/3 finished with a translation of Wang Shuo's controversial essay bashing Jin Yong, and after that I want to translate Jin Yong's response. I'm also finishing up a Ming dynasty xia story translation for publishing on the Kindle, and I'm in the editing stages of a complete translation of the 劍侠傳, a Ming dynasty anthology of Tang and Song dynasty xia stories.

    So that's my plan of attack for the moment. I hope others will follow, with reading more stories, translating more stories, and writing stories of their own. There is a translation of Wang Dulu's Crane Startles Kunlun which is quite active, with frequent updates. Everyone should check it out: http://tu-shu-guan.blogspot.com/

    I do know of a few xia stories with interesting female characters. "NIe Yinniang" is the best. It's a Tang dynasty story featuring perhaps the first mention of qinggong in fiction, though that specific word isn't used. The protagonist is an assassin with black magic skills, who uncharacteristically chooses her own husband, a simple mirror polisher.

    There's also "Hongxian", "The Lady in the Chariot", "Cui Shensi", and "The Merchant's Wife", all Tang stories featuring female xia. "Hongxian" has been translated several time, including by me. I also did "Nie Yinniang", though that was the first translation I ever did, so it's pretty rough. The other stories will be in the anthology translation I'm working on. "The Lady in the Chariot" features Chinese fiction's first female head of a gang, and the other two stories feature women who take revenge. You can read "Nie Yinniang" here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&p...3ZTM2&hl=en_US

    Water Margin is formulaic, but its structure is pretty neat. It uses "linkages" to switch from character to character, as the old character meets the new character, and then the story follows the new character. It's also worth noting that Water Margin is ostensibly a collection of biographies, though most of the characters, if not all of them, are fictional (whether Song Jiang really existed can't be proven conclusively). The title is 水浒传, and 传 means biography. So the stories start way earlier than a Western mind might think they should. I don't know, it's one of my favorite books so I'll always find a way to defend it.

    I'll remember your request, though as I just described my translation schedule, it would be some time before I would get to that. My focus is forward; I want to see more of the wuxia that happened during the forty years or so since Jin Yong stopped writing.

    Anyway, I probably said more than you wanted to read. Thanks for your comment though, and glad you're enjoying the stories. Next one comes out Monday.
    WUXIA Magazine - coming 2015

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