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Guo Xiaolu

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1973-    ) Chinese-born author and filmmaker, in London from 2002, whose early work occasionally touches on sf (see Equipoise). Born after the Cultural Revolution and graduating from the Beijing Film Academy, her prose presents a twenty-first century that both is and isn't the wondrous future promised by the earlier sf of China. Guo's work can hence be parsed as China's answer to the "Gernsback Continuum" espoused by William Gibson: a squalid, mundane reality, at odds with the technological Utopias envisioned by the old guard.

Her first book written directly in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers (2007) experiments with Linguistics in the manner of Daniel Keyes in Flowers for Algernon (April 1959 F&SF; exp 1966), as the halting pidgin of its foreign student narrator slowly transforms into fluent prose. It toys with the language barrier, beginning with the word "alien" and her surprise that unlike its Chinese equivalent, the English term refers ambiguously to both foreigners and offworld visitors (see Aliens). This narration is periodically broken by a bricolage of newspaper cuttings, instruction manuals and other third-party sources, a technique she would re-use in her Near Future novel UFO in Her Eyes (2009), which speculates on the Chinese rural response to UFOs in 2012.

Although not sf, some of Guo's film works also reflect a genre sensibility, particularly the documentary Xianjing zhi Lü ["We Went to Wonderland"] (2008), which frames the journey of her elderly parents to the East End of London as if it were a trip to fairyland. [JonC]

Guo Xiaolu

born Wenling, China: 1973



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