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TIAN Xiaoli | Fantasy is More Believable: Justice and solidarity in Chinese online fiction

Release Date: 2017/8/17 8:31:46

 TIAN Xiaoli | Fantasy is More Believable: Justice and solidarity in Chinese online fiction

 

The popularity of the online literature in China has been phenomenal, with high fantasy fiction, a genre telling stories happen in supernatural worlds, dominating the landscape.

 

On the morning of August 15, TIAN Xiaoli from the University of Hongkong, gave a talk on her research on China’s prosperous online literature, the dominance of fantasy, and its relevance with the readers.

 

TIAN Xiaoli | Fantasy is More Believable: Justice and solidarity in Chinese online fiction

 

Dr. TIAN first introduced the origin and background of her research as part of the Civil Sphere in East Asia Projects. She examined a number of the major popular online literature works and shared her observation. According to Tian, the type popular among male readers like Zhu Xian(The Attack of Heaven)is often about a normal guy hero achieving victories and standing on top of the world. While the type enjoyed by female readers are usually somewhat Mary Sue. Tian compared the online fiction heroes with the conventional ones, and found the former usually doesn’t harbor grand goals like making the society better and has little moral restrictions. While the difference between online and traditional romance is the former saw moral values as obstacles. Cynicism is prevalent in online literature, with survival and revenge as the popular themes. She carried out interviews on both writers and readers of these genres of literature, which show that readers of such works often identify themselves or their desires with these characters, trying to realize their unrealized dreams through the construction of fictional figures. The fantasy worlds largely reflect the cruel realities that they are unsatisfied with. The very fact that people favor fantasy fiction reflects their disappointment with reality and their desire for an ideal society. But the online Chinese fantasy worlds are still a hierarchical society rather than an egalitarian society, which implies that though online fiction is a means of resistance, it is very limited and does not stray beyond the established framework. Last but not least, Dr. Tian mentioned the complexities of the issue, which is, civil spirit cannot be taken for granted, and congregation of people online does not necessarily lead to the emergence of civil spirit.

 

TIAN Xiaoli | Fantasy is More Believable: Justice and solidarity in Chinese online fiction

 

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