Given its early connection to western science fiction, it is not entirely surprising that contemporary Chinese science fiction (csf) frequently references the "west" in general and Greek mythology in particular. The three works that I analyze in this paper are Xia Jia's "Psychology Game," Gu Shi's "Chimera," and Egoyan Zheng's The Dream Devourer. These three texts utilize Greek mythology in different ways, to different degrees, and with different purposes, and yet they all use Greek mythology to visually disrupt their respective texts. Xia Jia ends "Psychology Game" with a direct Greek-language quotation. Throughout "Chimera," Gu Shi quotes Chinese translations of Greek texts. Finally, in The Dream Devourer, Egoyan Zheng's references to Greek myth are more playful and extensive. Although Zheng names certain significant characters in his novel after figures in Greek mythology, the connections to those figures are rarely explicit and are often twisted or inverted. By analyzing these three texts together we can more clearly see the overarching connection that Greek mythology has to contemporary csf. Although multilingual references are not new to Chinese literature, the Greek references commonly found in csf are likely foreign not only to their Chinese-language audience, but to their Anglophone audience as well. As such, there is a very distinct visual divide between the Chinese-language references and the Greek or Roman script in these texts. Though each script remains clearly discernable, they are connected by the interweaving of the languages and by the text itself, the final result being a literary "cyborg" that unites supposedly binary aspects of "East" and "West." As Donna Haraway claims in her "Cyborg Manifesto," the cyborg represents the rejection of rigid binaries and two-word definitions. She claims, "We are cyborgs. The cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics. The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality" (50). By combining Greek, Roman, and Chinese scripts these authors simultaneously represent and complicate the dichotomy of "East" and "West," acknowledging how these supposedly distinct cultures have blended.
College and Department
Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Moore, Emily Olive, "Translating Greek Mythology in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8764.
Chinese science fiction, Taiwan, Greek mythology, translation theory