ZHANG XIGUO, A.K.A. CHANG HSI-KUO, CHANG SHI-KUO (1944— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

ZHANG XIGUO, A.K.A. CHANG HSI-KUO, CHANG SHI-KUO (1944— ). Fiction writer. Born in Chongqing, Sichuan, Zhang Xiguo moved to Taiwan in 1949 with his parents. He studied electrical engineering at National Taiwan University, which eventually brought him to the United States in 1966. He has taught engineering and computer science at the University of Illinois, Cornell University, and the University of Pittsburgh, while also turning out a great many novels.

Considered the best science fiction writer writing in Chinese, Zhang has produced a large number of works that make liberal use of his background in science and technology. The crown of his writing career rests on the series called Youzi hun (Soul of the Émigré), which includes Xiangjiao chuan (Banana Boat) and Buxiu zhe (The Incorruptible). The series consists of 12 stories, each of which is an experiment in form. Other works include Kongzi zhi si (The Death of Confucius), Qi wang (The Chess King), and Rang weilai deng yi deng ba (Let the Future Wait). Often mentioned in the company of Hong Kong science fiction writer Ni Kuang, whose stories aim at entertainment by focusing on plot development and the use of high-tech props, Zhang is thought to be much more serious in his attempts to tackle issues of great importance to humanity, even though his characters reside in an imaginary and alien world. Many of his novels can be read as critiques of Chinese history and society.