47th Century Visions
May 30, 2007 11:44 PM   Subscribe

Jess Nevins, obsessive cataloguer of Victorian science fantasy, early-twentieth-century pulp, and forties-era superheroes (all links Geocities) and annotator of certain reference-dense comics, weighs in with an opinionated overview of Han Empire science fiction. (Note: Enjrolasworld hosts several more comic series annotations, including the Sandman annotations previously discussed here.)
posted by ormondsacker (10 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. Nevins' Fantastic Victoriana is the finest reference guide of 19th century (for lack of a better word) fantastic literature out there. The book is a pleasure to read - a veritable treasure trove of obscure and bizarre characters from writers both notable and obscure.

Thank you for this!
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:09 AM on May 31, 2007

Han Empire? What are you talking about? These are from the Qing dynasty. I'd be pretty surprised if they were talking about "British" anything in 200 BC - 220 AD
posted by delmoi at 6:27 AM on May 31, 2007

Oops, these are not even from the qing dynasty, but rather the 1950s. and 1950s. Making the "Han Empire" bit even sillier. I have no idea why this guy decided to use Sun Yat-Sun's calendar system.
posted by delmoi at 6:36 AM on May 31, 2007

Er, I meant 1950s and 1960s. And actually it looks like he's using the 2637 BCE epoch (since he talks about books written in the 4700s) which means the first books he's talking about are those from 1900s.

posted by delmoi at 6:41 AM on May 31, 2007

Definitely intended to be distinct from the Han Dynasty, sorry for the confusion, delmoi. In retrospect, probably should have called it Middle Kingdom Science Fiction.
posted by ormondsacker at 7:52 AM on May 31, 2007

Er, this is a work of fiction, folks. Most (All?) of the real books he's mentioning (Call of Cthulu, the Stars My Destination, Neuromancer, etc.) were written by Westerners. The piece labels itself an "alternate history" which is a type of science fiction.

Also, re: the use of the word "Han", he's pretending to be a Chinese critic commenting on these works, so he's probably using "Han" as a synonym for "Chinese [culture]" which is common enough amongst Mandarin speakers. Han is the dominant ethnic group in modern China as well as the historical name of a couple of imperial dynasties.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:24 AM on May 31, 2007

This is great! I was just telling a friend of mine about Nevins' annotations to LXG and was wondering what he's been up to of late. I can't wait to dig into these.
posted by aladfar at 9:53 AM on May 31, 2007

Er, this is a work of fiction, folks.

I particularly enjoyed Fanqi Mieville’s Mengzi Street Station, and (from the comments) Kao's Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient Albion That Never Was.
posted by ormondsacker at 11:49 AM on May 31, 2007

I have nothing to add to this except that Jess came to my wedding. I had lost track of him, so yay for the internet!
posted by Biblio at 2:10 PM on May 31, 2007

Can't wait to hit into this. If the piece is labeles as an "alternate history" or sci-fi then it sounds intriguing enough with the fantasy and a hint of wonder and magic.
posted by believe at 10:54 PM on June 23, 2007

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