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In boundless universe springs hopes eternal

By Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-06 13:03
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On the social media service Weibo, Science Fiction New Year Gala as a topic has been viewed 40 million times more than last year.[Photo provided to China Daily]

This year 13 writers from four continents used their stories to represent their understanding of spring and Spring Festival combining their own cultures and experience.

The Nigerian writer Innocent Chizaram Ilo associated Chinese Spring Festival with Iri Ji, or the New Yam Festival, an important festival for Igbo people. Iri Ji, falling sometime in August, is celebrated to mark the end of the harvest season. On Iri Ji, Igbo people thank the goddess of the Earth Ani for a bountiful harvest and employ her to make the fields flourish again, Ilo says.

It is a time full of joy when people celebrate the festival by eating food consisting of yam, and with dancing and music. As a result, Ilo set his story of finding happiness during Iri Ji, connecting the Spring Festival with happiness and family.

The hero in the story is a boy named Izu who goes through a very difficult time after his father dies in an accident and his mother struggles to pay the rent. Feeling depressed, he steals the few savings his mother has to buy both of them a happiness that is fleeting. At the end of the story, with his mother's help, the boy rediscovers happiness on Iri Ji.

"The idea of happiness is interesting," Ilo says. "What it means to people, how people attain it, what people give up to attain it. …There is no one-track path to finding happiness. As Izu's mother points out, what we want to make us happy may have always been inside us. We just have to seek it."

In the story Somewhere It's About to Be Spring by the Australian writer Samantha Murray, after human passengers on a spaceship die in an accident, the debilitated craft continues to drift in space.

At first the spaceship, equipped with advanced artificial intelligence, is partially sentient, but gradually all the robots, including the major computing system Lacuna, are transformed into new creatures after being infiltrated with a dusty life form from a wandering rogue planet. Subsequently they learn to love.

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