Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Smog Society, by Chen Qiufan (translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan)

Lightspeed Magazine, August 2015;   4,618 words
Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story  Recommended By:  Locus

A lonely old Chinese man gets involved in the fight against smog--without government approval.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

The emotional impact is powerful. Lao Sun didn't realize how much his wife meant until she was gone, and now he tortures himself with every memory of how he neglected her. Once he realizes that depression causes smog, he makes a heroic effort to be cheerful and bring cheer to the kids.

As with most translated stories, there is an enormous amount of editorializing--explaining things that don't need explaining. Even in dialogue. This cannot be an artifact of translation: the problem had to exist in the original. It doesn't help that the speculative element--that depression causes smog, rather than the other way around--is a little silly.

No comments (may contain spoilers):

Post a Comment (comment policy)