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Wei Yahua

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1949-    ) Chinese journalist, television pundit and author, who smuggled Soft Sciences and Satire into the Hard SF realm in China, particularly in several "robot/women" tales that allegorize gender issues.

Wo Jueding yu Jiqiren Qizi Lihun ["I Decide to Divorce My Robot Wife"] (January 1981 Beijing Wenxue; fixup 1981) artfully lampoons not only Women in SF, but the reality gap in the Chinese Marriage Law, positing Overpopulation issues that force most men to settle for an Android facsimile instead of a real wife. Wei's nameless scientist hero selects a "traditional Chinese model", the submissive Lili, who follows his orders so closely to the letter that she inadvertently destroys his priceless research papers. As demanded by the strictures of Chinese sf in the period, the story is framed as a didactic exercise in real-world science, which Wei achieved by pretending that he was demonstrating "flaws" in Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics, facetiously claimed to be an established creed of Cybernetics in the bourgeois West.

In the sequel, Wenrou zhi Xiang de Meng ["Dream of a Soft Country"] (May-July 1982 Yanhe; in coll 1999), the hero orders Lili to educate herself. After reading the history of Feminism, she proclaims her husband to be a chauvinist boor, and demands a divorce herself. The bulk of the story is a court-room drama in which the couple debate Lili's "programming", which owes more to the clauses of China's recently revised Marriage Law (1981) than anything in sf. Taken to be a subversive attack on Chinese society, the tales were singled out for criticism in a 1982 backlash against sf, but also secured Wei international attention, as edited, combined and translated by Wu Dingbo as "Conjugal Happiness in the Arms of Morpheus" (September 1984 Amazing).

A commentator at the forefront of the explosive Chinese Economics reforms of the 1990s, Wei has continued to court controversy, not only in sf but in his blunt appraisals of Near Future scenarios for real-world China, framed as nonfiction speculations for the business market. [JonC]

Wei Yahua

born Xi'an, China: 1949

works (selected)

about the author

  • Jonathan Clements. "Flesh and Metal: Marriage and Female Emancipation in the Science Fiction of Wei Yahua" (Autumn 1995 Foundation #65) [pp61-80: mag/]


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