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Zhao, Xiran Jay

Entry updated 29 January 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1997-    ) Chinese-born author, in Canada from about the age of ten; they are of sf interest for the Iron Widow sequence beginning with the Young Adult Iron Widow (2021), where visual topoi from Anime enliven with deliberately garish exuberance an otherwise downbeat narrative. In a long fight against Mecha bent on Invasion of the homeland Huaxia, adolescent girls are induced to pair sexually with young men (see Sex), creating in this fashion consortia capable of piloting Airships to defend their home. The young protagonist of the tale discovers in herself a Psi Power which keeps her alive, and her airship battleworthy, but which seems deadly to males. Iron Widow won a British Science Fiction Association Award for 2021 in the category of book for younger readers.

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor (2022) is a fantasy for younger readers whose young protagonist searches for the meaning of Chinese history in the underworld. Zhao would have appeared on the final Astounding Award ballot in 2023 if that year's Chinese Worldcon Hugo administrators had not arbitrarily disqualified it with no reason given. [JC]

Xiran Jay Zhao

born China: 29 September 1997



Iron Widow

  • Iron Widow (Toronto, Ontario: Penguin Teen Canada, 2021) [Iron Widow: hb/Ashley Mackenzie]
  • Iron Widow 2: Heavenly Tyrant (Toronto, Ontario: Penguin Teen Canada, 2023) [Iron Widow: hb/Ashley Mackenzie]

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