Odious and Peculiar

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Forging the Sampo

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Sunday, March 26, 2006
Real, Ultimate Power. The computer screen lends itself more easily to reading short articles than novels. But when those novels aren't available elsewhere, well, you take what you can get.

What you can get in this case is an excellent translation of the fantasy novel Twelve Kingdoms, by Fuyumi Ono, done for the pleasure of it by Eugene Woodbury. From his introduction:
Translation, as opposed to reading, really does focus the mind on what the author actually means, as opposed to simply propelling you along the narrative track. So the real credit goes to Fuyumi Ono for writing some of the most fascinating and creative novels in the high fantasy genre--in any language--and that only get more interesting and morally complex and you go along.
I agree with both the focusing ability of translation and his assessment of the novels. A mythic China about the time of the Three Kingdoms is the setting. Our heroine is transported there from modern Japan and must find her way home. Speaking as someone who spent most of his childhood inspecting wardrobes, walking into clocks, sticking his head into buckets of water like Lucas-Kasha, and generally searching for passage to Elfland, it's a trope that has lost none of its charm.

I would also be remiss if I did not share with you the time-wasting black hole of Ultimate Power that is Wuxiapedia. Those of you hungry for action like this:
Now the horse had collapsed and Yan Nantian was still in mid-air, now seven, eight swords came towards him like shooting stars. All the swords came from different sides, from left to right ensnaring him.

Yan Nantian was totally entangled by his attackers’ web of swords, however he still has power in him even in mid-air, he raised his arms and his body ascended another 2 metres or so. The swords passed him under his feet, a loud CLAAANNNGG could be heard. The seven, eight swords could not be retracted in time so they collided with each other, as soon as they hit they immediately fell back and scattered around. Seven, eight persons each stood at a corner quite far apart from each other. In the fog, you could not see their faces clearly but at least four of them were Taoist priests.

Yan Nantian descended and landed on top of the carriage and as soon as he had landed he immediately launched an attack on a Taoist priest wearing a blue robe. He generated his full internal power to his palms and did not hold back now, these people attacked without any reason and used the most lethal methods needless to say he was merciless too.

The beard and robe of the Taoist priest swayed by the powerful palm energy released from Yan Nantian, he could hardly stand straight and in a flux he raised his sword and counter-attacked.
...and who isn't? can read translations there. That excerpt is from Gu Long's Legendary Siblings. I've been hooked on wuxia ever since I read Outlaws of the Water Margin instead of writing a paper on conic sections.

I think they made a movie of LEGENDARY SIBLINGS with Andy Lau...It was kind of tough to follow, though...^^
Is this the one you're thinking of? It certainly sounds similar, right down to the main character (Fishy/Xiao Yu'er).

Something for me to track down and watch! Thanks for leading me to it. Are you a wuxia fan, then?
Yeah, that's the one!
I love wuxia movies, but I haven't read any of the books yet. (Just lazy, unfortunately...)
Have you seen All Men are Brothers--Blood of the Leopard? It's delightful.^^
That's the first time I've ever seen the term "lazy" used to decry not reading wuxia. :)

I have not seen All Men are Brothers. I have to confess that my movie-going experience is rather limited. My personal favorite is Deadly China Hero/Wong Fei-hung chi tit gai dau neung gung (whew!). It's always a pleasure to watch Jet Li work, and although the plot is as incomprehensible as the Red Queen's nonsense, it does feature a giant, fire-breathing centipede. And Man Cheung is adorable.
Hee hee, it IS cool...and you get to see Jet Li dressed as a chicken...
Nice Odious, you've got us popping up on Google for "Chinese 3rotic wuxia f@nf1ction".
Ah! My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

In my defense, the "Chinese" and
"wuxia" come from one post, the "3rotic" from a second, and the "fanf1ction" from a third. This is the sort of synergy that makes the internet such a wonderful playground.

I guess I shouldn't post about the Amazon for a while, though. Or discuss the sapphic stanza....
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