The Membranes (häftad)
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Short-listed for NSW Premier's Translation Prize, State Library of New South Wales 2023
Columbia University Press
Ari Larissa Heinrich
216 x 140 x 18 mm
227 g
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The Membranes (häftad)

The Membranes

A Novel

Häftad,  Kinesiska, 2021-06-01
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It is the late twenty-first century, and Momo is the most celebrated dermal care technician in all of T City. Humanity has migrated to domes at the bottom of the sea to escape devastating climate change. The world is dominated by powerful media conglomerates and runs on exploited cyborg labor. Momo prefers to keep to herself, and anyway shes too busy for other relationships: her clients include some of the citys best-known media personalities. But after meeting her estranged mother, she begins to explore her true identity, a journey that leads to questioning the bounds of gender, memory, self, and reality. First published in Taiwan in 1995, The Membranes is a classic of queer speculative fiction in Chinese. Chi Ta-wei weaves dystopian tropesheirloom animals, radiation-proof combat drones, sinister surveillance technologiesinto a sensitive portrait of one young womans quest for self-understanding. Predicting everything from fitness tracking to social media saturation, this visionary and sublime novel stands out for its queer and trans themes. The Membranes reveals the diversity and originality of contemporary speculative fiction in Chinese, exploring gender and sexuality, technological domination, and regimes of capital, all while applying an unflinching self-reflexivity to the readers own role. Ari Larissa Heinrichs translation brings Chis hybrid punk sensibility to all readers interested in books that test the limits of where speculative fiction can go.
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Named a Reviewer's Choice Best Book of 2021 * * A Books of the Year 2021 selection * The White Review * Chosen as a Best Translated Book of 2021 * Words Without Borders * Books are all time-capsules, of course, but Chis novel offers an exquisite dual experiencebecause while The Membranes is a modern classic, it hasnt lost an ounce of its provocative significance. As a gently incisive puzzle-box it works to pry at the readers own emotions about the nature of stories and how were made of them; as a novel of queer attachment, it explores how we attempt to connect to one another through endless membranesand often fail to do so. * * Theres something very timely about [The Membranes'] play with gender fluidity and the social construction of identity. Theres also something timeless about Chis future, because of how it bends and defies time itself. The novel is about how identity is a story we tell ourselves through time or back through time. And that story, for Chi, is queer . . . English readers who finish it now, 25 years after it was first published, may regret finding it so late, and missing out on all the stories and selves we could have been, even as it seems like its been here the whole time. * Los Angeles Times * This rather astonishing science fiction novel is a powerful story about consciousness and connection with other people. It cuts right to the heart of our current moment by way of metaphor, but in a manner that is entirely Chis, and thus a new thing for English-language readers. What a surprising and exciting addition to science fiction and world literature. -- Kim Stanley Robinson, author of <i>Red Mars</i> What a breath of retro-fresh air! This wicked-smart cyberpunk throwback from the early days of networked digital culture presciently foregrounds issues of gender, embodiment, identity, and technology that have become all the more relevant over the quarter-century since its original publication. -- Susan Stryker, executive editor of <i>TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly</i> Readers will notice prescient echoes of modern life in Chis depictions of all-absorbing media consumption and loneliness in the midst of hyper-connection . . . [T]his captivating novel is rich and rewarding. * Publishers Weekly * A fascinating new book. * MIT Technology Review * A mind-blowing book . . . I have NEVER read anything like it. * Literary Infatuation * The Membranes speaks as much to hard-core sci-fi fans seeking an exhilarating read as to regular readers who desire a moment of introspection. -- Stella Jiayue Zhu * Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing Book Review Network * The Membranes is a welcome addition to the small but growing ranks of international science fiction available in English translation, and is an excellent early example of climate fiction. * Booklist * A plunging submersible disguised as a novelfilled with incisive, inventive peculiarities. * Du Mois Archival Institute, 2021 Reading List Selection * It is almost unfathomable that, in 1995, Chi could have imagined a world so full of the terrors that technological rises inevitably bring, but he does and mostly to devastating effect. Chis project is large, as is his vision . . . it imagines the future like the best of our dystopian meditations. * South China Morning Post Magazine * Mind-blowing . . . This 1995 Taiwanese sci-fi with casual queer characters is a short read, but it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Way after finishing the story, the questions it posed still linger, surely to haunt me for a long time to come. * Hsinjus Lit Log * Chi is an excellent novelist and Momos story, with the unanswered questions, her mental state and the climate change issues and consequences, all help make this a first-class novel. * The Modern Novel * One of the most profound LGBTQ books of our time. * Books & Bao * An exploration of the contact zones between human a

Övrig information

Chi Ta-wei is a renowned writer and scholar from Taiwan. Chis scholarly work focuses on LGBT studies, disability studies, and Sinophone literary history, while his award-winning creative writing ranges from science fiction to queer short stories. He is an associate professor of Taiwanese literature at the National Chengchi University. Ari Larissa Heinrich is a professor of Chinese literature and media at the Australian National University. They are the author of Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body (2018) and other books, and the translator of Qiu Miaojins novel Last Words from Montmartre (2014).


The Membranes Promiscuous Literacy: Taipei Punk and the Queer Future of The Membranes, by Ari Larissa Heinrich Acknowledgments