News

US Version of Chinese Novel Edited for Gender Bias

Liu Cixin/Photo by Anne Petersen, via Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: An inquest into the originality of “The Shape of Water,” and whispers of a “Clue” remake. It’s your Daily Blunt!

American readers of Liu Cixin’s The Dark Forest will be enjoying a slightly different experience than those in the author’s native country of China. Cixin has come forward to explain that TOR Books made over 1,000 edits to his novel, in some cases correcting language that reinforces gender discrimination. The author is comfortable chalking it up to “cultural differences,” and his fans seem divided — some feel the edits are “forcing an interpretation” of Cixin’s work, while others agreed the women in The Dark Forest were “unfavorably portrayed.”

If you think matters like these are trivial, remember that they can count for quite a lot in the eyes of young people. Writing for LitHub, Philip Metres explores Hollywood’s time-honored problem with resorting to crude, violent stereotypes in their depictions of people from the Middle East. Citing numerous books on the subject of Orientalism, this article includes childhood remembrances of “Indiana Jones” and “Back to the Future” that will have you wondering why nobody ever asked: “What were Libyans doing in Hill Valley California, and why did they have plutonium?”

While internetters have noted many similarities between Oscar frontrunner “The Shape of Water” and a short film from 2015 called “The Space Between us,” the Netherlands Film Academy has issued an official statement on the matter, declaring the two films “have separate timelines of development and are not in any conceivable way interlinked or related.” They point out that, in the wake of all this speculation, Guillermo Del Toro cordially engaged the filmmakers in a personal conversation about their various (and no doubt, overlapping) sources of creative inspiration. This is great news for sci-fi fans — it means you can enjoy both films with impunity.

The 1985 movie “Clue” already achieved the impossible, in terms of entertainingly adapting a board game for the big screen. Until now, attempts to remake the film have all fallen through, but Ryan Reynolds is reuniting with his “Deadpool” writers to deliver an updated version as part of his production company’s new three-year  deal with Fox. Will lightning strike twice? Will fans of the original play along? Will Mr. Boddy ever manage to survive a dinner party? Answers to these questions and more, coming soon.