Tag Archives: Jin He Zai

The silent, wealthy screenwriter

Ning Caishen (宁财神), the writer behind the hit TV comedy My Own Swordsman (武林外传), posted the following update to his Sina microblog:


After a while in the business, you meet more and more people, and even if you’re not working with them, they’re the sort that you see around all the time. Watching a stinker, I’m embarrassed to say anything, but it’s so painful to hold it in that I have to bitch about it to my friends privately ~ and all the time I dream of the day when a distant relative will suddenly leave me a giant inheritance, and I’ll retire immediately and write a movie review every day, 30,000 characters of pure rant that doesn’t let a single detail off the hook, because who cares if I piss everyone off!

Jin He Zai (今何在), who like Ning got his start in net-lit, replied:


Now do you see why I don’t want to get into the screenwriting biz? Writing a script means you’ve got to worry about all those levels of examination. To pass the censors, pretty much everything gets cut out, and passage doesn’t necessarily mean it will get screened. If you look at what does make it, is that the script you first wrote? And you’ve got your name up there so you get attacked along with it.

Twelve Hours Later: About this blog

Welcome to Twelve Hours Later!

Here you’ll find news, book reviews, and commentary related to Chinese science fiction, fantasy, and other areas of mainstream and genre literature.

Back in 2004, after taking a course on science fiction theory from Wu Yan at Beijing Normal University, I started up a LiveJournal blog where I posted bits and pieces about Chinese SF. That effort (known as ‘zhwj’) lasted for about a year, and then died when I found other outlets for my writing. Two years later, there’s still not much else out there in English about Chinese genre fiction, so I’ve decided to revive my old project.

Although it would be nice to accommodate all kinds of Chinese genre fiction here at THL, that goal’s probably a bit too ambitious. It’s likely that the majority of the posts will be about Chinese science fiction and fantasy (though I’ve got to confess to liking the occasional romance novel). There’ll probably be short capsule reviews of lots of other stuff, too. Guest contributions are always welcome.

About the name: “twelve hours later” was inspired by “Chinese-Style Youth,” Jin He Zai’s tale of a Chinese Clark Kent who grows up during the late fifties, through the Great Leap Forward and the subsequent Cultural Revolution, but who fails to fit in with the collectivism of the time. Here’s the prologue to that short story:

No one would have imagined that the fate of the globe would be transformed because of twelve hours.

As the planet Krypton was facing annihilation, he placed his son into a spaceship and sent him into the heavens.

That small craft floated through space, crossing nebula after nebula, where the storms of light and matter that had drifted through the universe for tens of thousands of years propelled the child to his ultimate destination, the town of Smallville, Kansas, USA, North America, the Earth, the Solar System.

If everything had proceeded without deviation, if the stars’ gravity had acted precisely as planned, then he would have become an American hero, a legendary Superman.

But the calculations did not account for a piece of inter-stellar dust, less than one-thirty-thousandth of a cubic centimeter in volume, that scratched across the surface of the spaceship, slowing it by one-six-millionth of a percent.

As a result, he arrived on Earth twelve hours late.

There are a lot of fun and exciting things going on with fiction here in China, where clocks are twelve hours off those in New York and Washington, DC (in the summer, at least). I look forward to sharing them with you.

“Chinese-Style Youth” 《中国式青春》 by Jin Hezai (今何在) was first published in the October 2006 issue of Novoland Fantasy and is available online here.