Friday, June 14, 2013


《天意》, or Will of Heaven, is a 2004 mainland Chinese novel by Qian Lifang. It is best classified as a work of historical science fiction, set during the Qin and early Han dynasties with speculative fiction elements, and does an excellent job with both. The historical figures have strong, sympathetic characterizations-- one single line of dialogue from Qin Shihuang, only a side character in this book, changed my mental view of him more than the two-volume novel with him as a deuteragonist that I later read. The speculative fiction elements work historical events and ancient mythology beautifully into an ingenious greater picture. And, well, there's always the appeal of legendary ancient generals with rocket launchers.

Which is why I'm going to try to translate this book into English. I've rarely seen translations of either Chinese sci-fi or of Chinese historical fiction set in ancient times, and Will of Heaven, aside from all its other merits, holds a special place in my heart as the first novel in Chinese I managed to finish without parental insistence, so I feel especially strongly about sharing it with more people. I have no formal knowledge of translation, and there are gaps in my historical knowledge of this era, so I would appreciate reader input to help me improve my work. I'd also welcome anyone willing to help translate and/or proofread, since I'm currently doing almost everything by myself.

I've now contacted the author and publishing company and have secured their permission to post my translation online.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment