Wuxia, Xianxia, and Other Stories

So rather than anime, lately I’ve been spending a lot of my leisure time reading Chinese web novels, Korean, and very occasionally, Japanese light novels. For some strange reason that I’m nonetheless grateful for, there’s an entire cottage industry around people taking donations to translate these posts from the Chinese (or Korean/Japanese) into more-or-less English. Of course, if they’re not Chinese, they’re not Wuxia or Xianxia, two terms which I’d never heard of before I started reading them. Full definitions and a lot more can be found on WuxiaWorld, but the short version is that Wuxia is “low fantasy:” it literally means “Martial Heroes”. Fictional stories about regular humans who can achieve supernatural fighting ability through Chinese martial arts training and internal energy cultivation. Xianxia is “high fantasy:” it literally means “Immortal Heroes”. Fictional stories featuring magic, demons, ghosts, immortals, and a great deal of Chinese folklore/mythology. Xuanhuan is more fairy-tale (though darker); it literally means “Mysterious Fantasy”. A broad genre of fictional stories which remixes Chinese folklore/mythology with foreign elements & settings.

Having ignored the website (except for hurricane blogging) for months now, I’m finally going to write a few reviews of the stories I’ve been reading. Bear in mind that the Chinese stories are extremely formulaic. Some are little more than collections of tropes peculiar to the form. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the hero will be:

  1. Male (well, there are romance and other stories, but we’re talking about the heroic stuff here)x
  2. Considered trash by most of his clan, or the village.
  3. Lucks into fortune that changes his fate.
  4. Part of a world where everyone advances through “cultivation” (meditation, battle, and/or magical alchemy/medicine)
  5. Keeps having incredible coincidences that favor him.
  6. Have a rule-breaking power that makes him able to fight over his level
  7. Be faced by a succession of ever-more powerful opponents
  8. If about to be defeated, always lucks out/survives in some way
  9. Live on planets with a surface area the bigger than the sun
  10. Measured by an exacting system with ranks and names for each level — which will change whenever the author wants it to.
  11. Wanted by all the women (well, that could just be the stories I’ve selected)
  12. Probably reincarnated from our world.

That’s not all. The stories tend to be rather violent, with people fighting to the death at the drop of a hat, even the teenagers (way different from wussy power-of-friendship Japanese heroes!). Some of the worst offending authors must have depopulated their worlds. (Well, actually one did. Several times.) Others merely depopulate the leaders; one just offed about a thousand top experts in the world, but don’t worry, plenty more to be found. Enemies seem to have a limited repertoire: They viciously attack and when tables get turned by the hero, they accuse him of being the aggressor. “Are you seeking death?” “You brat, how dare you!” “I, your father, will teach you not to be so bold!” etc. etc. Logic plays little part, and if the hero actually has to be the evil aggressor, then the author makes sure it’s clear that the targets deserve it. Oh, and the hero’s women are always the hottest babes ever; each one more beautiful than the others. I can’t explain it; I’m rolling my eyes as I read this stuff, and yet read it I do. It’s the textual equivalent of Nartuo, except the quality isn’t as high. And it’s a lot more violent. And sometimes there’s sex.

So, onto specific stories below the fold…
Continue reading

Posted in Random Nonsense | 4 Comments

Hmmm. So maybe I ought to post an article

I mean, it’s only been two three months to the day… I guess I’ll complete the one I started a couple of months ago. Maybe.

Edit: Counting to three is hard. And I’m working on the article.

Posted in Random Nonsense | Leave a comment

Sorry to Worry Everyone

I was busy admiring (or should that be ‘admiraling’?) Bob Marley.

On the Ring map, World of Warships

Posted in Random Nonsense | 5 Comments

Glad I Don’t Live in Beaumont

Courtesy of the Texas Highway Patrol site:

You can't get there from here. No, really.

Posted in Life, etc. | 2 Comments

How to Offend Everybody

I don’t think you’ll see many Texans wearing “We Are Charlie Hebdo” t-shirts in Texas any more.

No more sympathy for these guys. None.

Posted in Life, etc., The Written Word | Leave a comment

And Back to Ships…

I’m sure someone was really ticked off in this battle.

Q: What happens when the enemy goes all in on a pincer move?
A: The one destroyer on the enemy team sneaks in and caps.

Notice the 0 damage?

I did not fire a single shot. It was a total ninja job.

And I got first for it. Ha!

And I mean TOTAL ninja job. I was never even spotted the entire game. I started by hooking across from the NW to the center, dropped smoke in F7 to cover the fleet, and then realized I hadn’t seen anything in the center. I deliberately skirted the edge of the cap zone to give the enemy fleet time to over-commit, then waltzed in, dropped smoke in the center and circled behind it. One BB blind-fired and missed–and kept going the other way(!), while another tried to race back under heavy fire and died.

Nice way to finish my night.

Posted in Gaming | Tagged | 3 Comments

Internet’s Back; We Got Fooled

The reports were false, that bridge is still there. Damn I hate bullshit artists.

Posted in Random Nonsense | Leave a comment