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Italian fan of Chinese sci-fi sees new age of cooperation

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-08 09:11
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Luisa Maria Bosia, an Italian fan of Chinese science fiction, says that sci-fi is tightly linked to science and technology, "since it stems from their development and the possible outcomes they can have on society".

She talked about the 12th China-Italy Innovation Forum, which ran from Nov 28 to 29 in Beijing's Shougang Park, an event that sought to strengthen national research and innovation systems by promoting academic, scientific and technological exchange between China and Italy.

Bosia, who has been learning Chinese since high school and who studied in China for a number of years, hopes for more cooperation between Italy and China in the near future. "Collaboration is always a better option than individual research, since different minds bring new and unique perspectives that might improve the overall result," she says.

On her bookshelf, she has several cherished translations of Chinese sci-fi novels, which have impressed the 23-year-old with their imagination and cultural charm.

Bosia first stumbled across Chinese sci-fi in the spring of 2016. "I bought the entire trilogy of The Three-Body Problem, together with a few other sci-fi novels in English," she says.

She got stuck into them as part of her in-depth study of the Chinese language and culture. "Their psychological and humanistic approaches to the concept of the future are impressive."

The novels encouraged the young fan to participate in a dual degree program offered by the Capital Normal University in China, and her graduation paper focused on the Chinese sci-fi boom in the Italian market.

"Through analysis, I can say without doubt that Chinese sci-fi has become a worldwide phenomenon, as we can see from the increasing number of international awards it wins, and from the interest shown by international platforms like Netflix in making TV adaptations of Chinese sci-fi stories," Bosia says.

During her studies in China, the sci-fi enthusiast even designed a questionnaire to survey 100 Italians of all ages and backgrounds to trace the reasons behind Chinese sci-fi's success in Italy.

She found that Italian publishers have been sporadically publishing Chinese science fiction from the 1980s onward, and that, currently, a growing number of Italian publishers are covering the genre, with Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, a leading company in the field, opting to publish The Three-Body Problem.

In addition, the independent international sci-fi publishing project Future Fiction, founded by Italians Francesco Verso and Francesco Mantovani, has published in excess of 160 e-books and 60 printed books from more than 30 countries and translated books from over a dozen languages. Their bilingual anthology of Chinese sci-fi, Nebula, serves as a vivid illustration of the boom in Italy, as it became a hit with readers and more than 1,200 copies sold at the time, Bosia says.

She attributes worldwide recognition and praise for Chinese sci-fi to China's development in recent years.

"Chinese culture has lately gained more traction than before and China's opening up has played a bigger part in the increase of its soft power," she says, adding that regarding sci-fi specifically, technological advancements present a series of ethical and sociological implications that Chinese sci-fi authors are very keen to ponder in their stories.

"I see sci-fi becoming a bond between the people of our two countries," she says. "Future Fiction is looking for talented sci-fi writers in China and other countries, to continue to build bridges between different cultures and create a platform for new ideas for the future."

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