Steampunk, Zombie Apocalypse, and Homoerotic Romance: Rewriting Revolution Plus Love in Contemporary China
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What if the industrial revolution had first taken place in late imperial China, which had taken the lead in technological innovations but suffered a severe shortage of fossil fuels and clashed with the equally energy-hungry West? What if, fast forward to 2012, global warming had released a fatal virus and unleashed a zombie pandemic threatening to terminate the human civilization and transform the entire planet? These are some of speculative scenarios enacted in contemporary Chinese popular novels. To one’s surprise, these novels are not associated with the relatively more established field of science fiction, but consumed and produced as danmei, that is, homoerotic romance featuring love affairs of male characters primarily but not exclusively for the entertainment of young women.
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