The Wandering Earth gives us a once in a lifetime chance to observe a new superpower get behind the director's seat for the first time and inject their culture's values and world view through science fiction. Eric Lee and Mazy Yap join me to revisit The Wandering Earth, the Mainland China's first modern science fiction epic and explore the Remembrance of Earth's Past book trilogy written by Liu Cixin, whose short story is the foundation for The Wandering Earth.
After reacting to China's first foray into this genre, we discuss what Cixin prioritizes: science or characterization?(16:05) Then, we list our favorite absurd plot holes of the movie (19:06) and discuss how Ken Liu, the English translator of the book, helped avoid some of these issues. (22:08) We then as ourselves: what does this mean for a potential 3 Body Problem series or movie? (24:11)
At (27:06) we get into our big theme: how sci-fi allows you to potray the world hierarchy through your own POV and what The Wandering Earth might have to say about the Chinese government's perspective. We contrast this with how the Chinese government is portrayed in Hollyood movies like Arrival (shoutout to Ted Chiang!) and The Martian.
We then transition to discussing Liu Cixin's background and novels (33:59) and compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the books and movie. (39:51) We toss around topics like collectivism, wall facers (my favorite sci fi concept), long term planning, and the evolutionary limits of an individualistic society.
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