The Reading Rooms feature classical Chinese and wuxia (martial arts) literature recommendations to help promote Chinese fiction to a larger audience. *Note, spcnet.tv will no longer host fan translations due to copyright.
A saying goes that where there are Chinese people, there are Jin Yong's novels. Jin Yong is one of the most influential wuxia authors in the genre - his wuxia universe has been adapted into numerous wuxia movies and TV series.Official English Translations of Jin Yong's novels
The Book and the Sword translated by Graham Earnshaw
"The Book and the Sword" is set during the Manchurian reign of Emperor Qian Long. "Book" is about the clashes between the government and an underground secret society, The Red Flower Society, which comprise of Han Chinese rebels led by Chen Jia Luo who all wish to overthrow the Manchurian kingdom. Jin Yong's historical fiction plays on a legend that Qian Long was really a Han... Buy
The Deer and the Cauldron translated by John Minford
Also commonly known as "The Duke of Mt. Deer", this novel marked Jin Yong's last work and also most controversial. The story's main character, Wei Xiao Bo (Trinket in the translation), is the anti-hero of wuxia heroes - he's the son of a prostitute, a gambler, a liar, and has horrible martial arts. He escapes time and again only by lying, scheming, and deceiting his way through - methods often seen as dishonorable and unheroic by wuxia standards. However, his redeeming qualities are his loyalty to his friends and his charm, letting him befriend even the young emperor Kang Xi and marry seven pretty wives. "Deer" follows the adventures of Wei, from his capture into the imperial palace as a fake enunich, to his befriending of Kang Xi in a westling match, to his entry into the secret society Heaven and Earth Society which wants to overthrow his friend's empire, and to the uncovering of the secret behind the "42 Manuscripts".
Volume 3 (End)
Fox Volant of Snowy Mountain translated by Olivia Mok
The translation of "The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain" is the story of Hu Fei, an extraordinary sabre martial artist who is protecting a great treasure. The novel begins with a group of martial artists invited to the summit of Snowy Mountain to help the lord of the manor there fend off the Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain, a supposedly vile person. While waiting, much anticipation and excitement is built up as several characters recount a bit of history of Flying Fox before he makes his entrance near the end of the novel. The truth is revealed and a traitor uncovered at the end after many twists. Jin Yong later wrote a prequel to this novel called "The Other Legend of Flying Fox" which detailed the life of child to twenty-something Hu Fei but no official translation for this is available yet. These two novels are also among Jin Yong's shorter works, only consisting of one volume each. Buy
If Jin Yong is the best known wuxia author, then Gu Long is probably the second most well known. His writing style and stories often blended mystery and intrigue with wuxia.Official English Translations of Gu Long's novels
The Eleventh Son translated by Becky Tai
We are quite proud that Becky Tai first started translating "The Eleventh Son" (Xiao Shiyi Lang) as fan translations at spcnet.tv and then officially published her hard work to make wuxia even more accessible. Please support her translation!
On one of his missions, Xiao Shiyi Lang (the Eleventh Son, known as the Great Bandit) meets Shen, the fairest woman in the martial world. By the will of fate, he rescues Shen several times, which plants the seed of love in both of them. However, Shen is married to a rich young man who is also an outstanding martial artist. As if things were not complicated enough, Xiao has his own secret admirer, Feng, an attractive swordswoman with a quick temper.
Xiao is drawn into a messy fight for a legendary saber, the Deer Carver, and is accused of stealing it. Xiao finds out that the person who has set him up is a mysterious young man with an angel's face and a devil's heart. Before he can pursue any further, Shen's grandmother is murdered, and Xiao is named the killer. It appears that things are spinning out of control... Buy
Three Kingdoms translated by Moss Roberts
"Here begins our tale. The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide."
"Three Kingdoms" is the epic historical war story detailing the fall of the late Han Dynasty and the lives and battles of the feudal lords and heroes during that period. The eventual establishment of the three kingdoms: Shu, Wei, and Wu sets the stage for a tripodal war, with each kingdom vying for domination. War strategy, political intrigue, loyalties, and betrayals are all displayed in their full with memorable characters like Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhuge Liang, Zhou Yu, Zhao Yun, Lu Bu, Cao Cao, Sun Quan, and Sima Yi. Buy
Journey to the West written by Cheng'en Wu, translated by W.J.F. Jenner
"Journey to the West" is the fantastical Buddhist epic story of demons, gods, and humans set in the Tang Dynasty. It is about the quest to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures from the West (India) so that its teachings can be spread into China. Sun Wukong, the famous Monkey King, joins his master the Tang Monk and comrades Pig, Friar Sand, and Dragon Prince (Horse) to journey together. Along the way, they pass obstacles, battle demons who want to eat the Tang Monk to achieve immortality, and their own inner demons. Buy
Outlaws of the Marsh by Shi Nai'an and Guanzhong Luo
It's been said that children should not read "Outlaws of the Marsh" for fear of leading them astray with stories of bandits while adults should not read "Three Kingdoms" for fear of teaching them power manipulation. "Outlaws" chronicles the story of 108 bandit heroes of Mount Liangshan who led a peasant uprising during the Song Dynasty. Buy
Bu Bu Jing Xinstarring Cecilia Liu Shi Shi, Kevin Cheng, Nicky Wu, Yuan Hong
The New Adventure Of Chor Lau Heung (DVD, English subs)starring Miu Kiu Wai, Barbara Yung