Carolyn Lau curates a special issue on Science Fiction in Hong Kong penned by some of the territory’s most outstanding school-age literary talents.

Editor’s Note

During a period of long incarceration in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Antonio Gramsci wrote, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Taking the Roman legal term that refers to the routine interlude of the transmission of power, Gramsci expands the meaning of interregnum to describe how extraordinary circumstances, and the new conditions created, reveal the untenable qualities of the present. And in this time-lag of the old and the new that has yet to come into being is a plaguing sense of stasis. As we live in and with an ongoing global health crisis and the at times brutal restructurings that have ensued, is it sensible or even viable to talk about the future?

This special issue, “Science Fiction in Hong Kong,” is the first youth issue of the Hong Kong Review of Books. It aims to serve as a platform for nurturing local writers of criticism in English. It is borne out of an untimely practice of the science fiction (SF) spirit of extrapolation. To ask “what if…?” is to suggest that there could be the otherwise. In this context, young and aspiring readers and writers have been invited to share their thoughts on the relevance of SF in Hong Kong today.

As the reader will note, this ranges from musings on pandemic SF and human nature via Rousseau (Alex Chung), remarks on a visit to an independent English bookstore that houses the one and only vintage SF collection in Hong Kong (Kathleen Wong), a review of a pioneering SF anthology initiated by a local artist who will represent Hong Kong in the upcoming Venice Biennale (Janice Lam), and a sweeping survey of a SF animation made in Hong Kong that traverses the past and the future (Kanon Chu). The intellectual virtuosity and tenacity of our contributors, coupled with the expansive visions of Hong Kong artists and writers discussed is an exemplar of Gramsci’s motto: “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”

—C. L.

The Contributors

Kathleen Wong is a secondary school student from Hong Kong. She studies English Literature in school and is very passionate about books and writing. 

Kanon Chu is an avid movie-goer with an interest in film appreciation, philosophy, and literary theory. Currently a S.6 student in Hong Kong, he is an editor for his school’s publication – Torch.

Janice Lam is a school student in Hong Kong. She enjoys reading fictional stories and playing the piano in her free time.

Alex Chung is a student and free-spirited libertarian who enjoys writing down all of his random thoughts, introspections, and observations about the world. He is often found lost in the immortal verses of Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson.

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