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Chinese city commissions sci-fi tales based on mysterious ancient civilization


11:06, November 22, 2011

CHENGDU, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The southwest Chinese city of Chengdu has commissioned science fiction writers to create stories reflecting its ancient civilization, hoping their works can bolster the image of the capital of Sichuan Province.

A senior executive with a local sci-fi magazine said on Monday that the municipal government of Chengdu asked a group of authors to write science fiction tales about Jinsha, an archaeological site of a mysterious civilization dating back to the time of the Egyptian pharaohs.

The local government hoped that the stories could arouse interest in the civilization, as the local government has long mulled over making the civilization a world-recognized symbol for Chengdu, said Yao Haijun, deputy editor-in-chief with the popular Science Fiction World magazine.

Yao believed Chengdu was the first city to use science fiction to brand its culture, although many other Chinese cities have also planned to spread their cultures through literature.

Wang Jinkang, a well-known sci-fi writer in China, has been asked to write a novel set in the mysterious site, Yao said, adding that the government also invited other writers to compose short stories.

Ye Lang, deputy director with the city's publicity department, said the initiative was part of Chengdu's move to boost cultural prosperity.

"The government puts much more expectations on science fiction than on other art forms," Ye said. "We now have many works looking back into history, but few casting their sights on the future. In a country like China, there must be some people caring about the future."

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