What are Chinese fantasy novels (wuxia, xianxia, xuanhuan)?



hello everybody i am recording this very first video right after I did the introductory video but in the future I think I'm gonna be doing them every couple days I'll try to keep up and put them out as fast as possible the first question we're going to talk about is what exactly are Chinese fantasy novels to begin with there's a little bit of confusion about that that started a few years ago when the scene first started and first became popular explained in a second I'm using Chinese fantasy novels to refer to a bunch of different types of novels within the blanket of Chinese web novels now as you can imagine Chinese web novels are novels which are published online there are a few really popular websites in China the authors published stories pretty much of every single dawn row that you can imagine everything from the fantasy genres to sports to modern day time travel a lot of the websites have a special side of the website set aside for female audiences so you're gonna have things more romance oriented and less action oriented so those are two different types of novels web novels and then actual literature are very different one of the big differences but with web novels is the quality generally speaking generally speaking the writing quality is not the same as you're gonna get when you go buy a book at a bookstore even in China they the books are not edited the authors pump out a lot of content usually multiple chapters per day also they tend to go for a really long time usually years so a lot of times the novels end up being thousands of chapters long or at least a thousand or maybe more than a thousand or thousands of chapters long they're really just pulp fiction and they're designed mostly toward younger readers i school and college age kids tend to gravitate toward them more then once they graduate and start working and you know getting into their lives they tend to drop away from reading those books as often okay so what are the Chinese fantasy novels that are part of the Chinese web novel scene well I'm thinking of three main genres that I would refer to as fantasy that are part of that category now incidentally all of these types of novels can exist in regular printed literature as well but nowadays the place you're gonna find the most is online so the first of those three is Lucia Lucia is a lot more common and it has a history that goes way back and to printed form for many decades Lucia odd basically is martial arts fiction the heroes are people who exist in sort of an underworld of martial arts communities that tends to be in ancient China and usually they use the Chi in their body to perform superhuman martial arts feats there are tends to be flying usually it's not Superman flying it's more like maybe spider-man fly and except without the webs that use the Chi in their body to leap and to move very quickly and they can do martial arts feats you know shooting things out of their hands or having their swords fly through the air or things like that the martial arts in which that tends to be a lot more realistic than some of the other fantasy genres a lot of times Lucia is the kind of stuff where it almost seems like it could happen usually it takes place like I said in ancient China so sometimes it connects with real historical events or characters there are a few really popular with novelists who published their novels and not on the web before the web and made the drama really really popular a lot of movies and television shows in China are based off of these novels so that's one of the ones that I would categorize as being kind of a Chinese fantasy story the next is a lot more fantasy oriented and that's called ciencia so in Asia that means martial and the Shah means hero or it could be interpreted in different ways but basically Lucia is martial or martial arts heroes since yeah the style character is the same but the sin means immortal and that's not the meaning of immortal is not that you can't die or that you can't be killed or that you live forever although generally speaking that is part of the deal but the cien refers to mythological being or creature or person from Chinese stories and these are essentially like gods or some sort of divine being that live in the heavens or in some other realm that's not the realm where mortal people live and hence immortal usually there's a contrast between the mortals or just normal people and the immortals who are more like gods so in the CNC onra the characters tend to practice some sort of cultivation and I'm gonna get into cultivation in a different video for now let's just say they practice they cultivate the Chi in their body to eventually ascend to immortality a lot of times these stories tend to be really really long the characters tend to start out as immortal and then by the time they reach the highest levels they're essentially gods so in Lucia they can you know do some superhuman things but in a sense a goes beyond superhuman into like a god like or mythological the characters you know as they build up their power they can destroy trees they can then destroy mountains and then they can destroy cities and then they can destroy continents and then they can destroy planets and then they can destroy solar systems it just gets really really cosmic in nature there's a lot of mythological aspects to it the magic that they tend to practice is usually some some type of so-called Taoist magic the stories tend to draw heavily upon Taoism the philosophy and the religion from ancient China there are it also draws heavily upon Buddhism and upon Hinduism and some other Eastern things kind of a mishmash of this mythology and stories from the past so that's Sancia the next one is Johan Johan is basically like a fusion of Western fantasy with Lucia or Co it's kind of draws on Asian stuff it has a lot of Western stuff in it and it can really run the gamut between being on more toward one side or another and there's another fourth genre that I didn't really want to get into much and that's essentially just more western style fantasy which is also a really popular but I wouldn't had a garage that as a Chinese daughter because they're basically kind of just copying the Western genres so those are the three main genre zuv Chinese fantasy mushiya Sansa and so on now just to be clear pretty much all Chinese people know what who she is it's a really important part of Chinese culture and it has been quite a while since john searle our newer terms although the sins hostile stories within mortals and divine beings and things like Dada mythology those kind of stories actually go way back into Chinese history but the use of sense as a term to define a fictional genre is relatively new and it's the same little pond so a lot of Chinese people especially if they're older than maybe their 20s hey maybe have never even heard of it as an example my mother-in-law she's pretty traditional Chinese person she actually likes to read and likes to watch TV but when I first told her that I was transiting Sancia novels she was like what and a lot of people are like that I even see the terms kind of mismatched even in China like in news articles and things the author who I translate are gone I've seen him classified as a show on novelist although his main novels are all really just pure Sancia novels so I don't think it's really important for fans to necessarily be able to classify every single story whether it's on or whether it's hints in saw the real hardcore fans probably Kim however it's definitely a mistake to use mushiya or to use sense yeah as a blanket term for all of Chinese fantasy novels it would be like walking into Barnes Noble and going over to the science fiction and fantasy section and saying wow these sword and sorcery novels are all great I mean even in the fantasy fiction category in English literature sword and sorcery is just one of many different kinds of genres and it's the same with Chinese fantasy so Chinese web novels have all kinds of different genres one subsection is the fantasy section and within that are gonna be a few different categories please don't use one of the names of those categories that we shall RCN showers don't want to describe all of them it's just not right and one of the reasons why that came to be a popular thing to do was way back in the day when the novels first started to explode and popularity nobody really understood what the novels were and one of the most popular translation sites where I put my translations lúcia world is named Lucia world the truth is there's there are almost no Lucia stories on Michelle world most of them are since our snow on stories or other genres but because that website was called lúcia world a lot of people started just throwing around the term Zoosh a sentence and just using them for everything when in fact that's not really the case well this is the first video I did and it looks like I've already gone way past the time limit that I had anticipated but I hope this answers some questions about the different genres if you have any more questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and if you have any questions that are on a different subject that you would like me to address please leave them in the comments or send me a message and I'll take that into consideration thanks very much I hope

44 thoughts on “What are Chinese fantasy novels (wuxia, xianxia, xuanhuan)?

  1. I was thinking of buying your book but all reviews on it have disappeared so i just cant convince myself to but it. Point is i feel that it was the wrong choice to remove the reviews off of novelupdate.

  2. I don’t regularly read wuxia, well I’m not much of a reader to begin with. A few years back I read a fan translated Legend of Condor Heroes. It was amazing and mind you one of the most addicting wuxia novels! I grew up as an 80’s kid and was lucky enough to be exposed to TVB Hong Kong wuxia series. If you get a chance I highly recommend you watch the Condor trilogy TVB made in the 80’s.

  3. 看到这个视频,哈哈哈(ಡωಡ)hiahiahia。我真的不知道该说啥好了。不过真的好高兴咱们中国对外的软输出,文化输出。真好。
    If bloggers are interested in Chinese novels, you can call me.I would be very happy for sharing novels with you.
    wechat:wynxf5678

  4. Ah, thank you so much for this! I just got into these because I was reading so much fanfic and wanted to read more original stories and happened upon a few webcomics based on some of the novels, and then I drove headfirst into the novels.
    Then I was looking for more of them today and happened upon the terms, thankfully your video comes highly recommended for this by Google 🙂

  5. 武侠(wuxia): Chinese western stories, 仙侠(xian xia): drop deities in western world. 玄幻: Chinese Tolkin's world.

  6. good video !thanks for loving Chinese culture. that is what Chinese young people read nowadays. you can feel Chinese culture in those novels. but if you want more, you can read some traditional works. (:з」∠)

  7. 中国的民间还有更能吸引你的东西,小说把传说融入其中,传说有的是编造的,有些是真实的。

  8. Wow so you are wuxia translator? Good job and keep translate those are really hype or good story but not repetitive which will be quite bored easily and hard to read 🙂

  9. 非常不错 对于外国朋友不吃辛苦的翻译中国文学作品给予充分肯定 希望多多翻译中国的一些优秀文学作品 让西方朋友多多了解中国 大家互相了解才能促成更好的发展

  10. I was never too knowledgeable about the genres but picked up enough reading that when irl friends asked me what I was reading, I would compare wuxia and xianxia to dragonball and dragonball z. In dragonball, it was martial arts with a bit of qi but mostly traditional fighting. With dragon ball z, there was cultivation (power levels), blowing up entire planets, et cetera so it was much more fantasy-like.

  11. Thanks for the translations man! It's done so well that you almost believe it was written in English to begin with

  12. I found an app that made me understand Chinese martial arts myths. It was incredible. You can understand –http://xianxiadream.com

  13. Well I think basically Chinese web novels are more like written to satisfy readers’ fantasy. In China, mostly the novels can be classified into different kinds of categories.
    For example one common kind is categorized by targeted readers. Which are 男频(written for male readers) and 女频(written for female readers). Both of these two are very popular in China. And the novels in this video are all 男频. Actually as far as I know, there are a lot of 女频 novels as well.
    Another common category is classified by the sexuality of the story. For example bg (female and male), bl (male and male) and gl (female and female).
    Another common category is like what mentioned in this video. Classified by the theme of a novel.

  14. You missed one genre of Chinese fantasy. It's called shenmo (神魔), and it actually involves gods, demons and other mythological creatures. Famous examples of this genre would be Journey to the West (西游记) and Investiture of the Gods (封神榜), although both were written in the Ming Dynasty and hence quite old.

    Xianxia is kind of the genre straddling shenmo and wuxia. Wuxia is just as you described, while xianxia doesn't really have actually god characters, but has people undergoing cultivation with the aim of becoming deities themselves, and who have acquired supernatural powers in the process. Just like wuxia, there is the concept of the jianghu (江湖) in xianxia, and just as wuxia has students in martial arts sects, xianxia has students in immortality cultivation sects where they learn both martial arts and supernatural powers.

  15. 长城电影为什么失败?因为外国人想看的不是这样半土不洋的产物,我们本土的自己的东西其实很吸引人,之所以还不流行是因为外国人还不了解,我们的文化输出做的不够好,很多人一味追求国外的东西,却对自己祖国的文化了解甚少。将来应该是中国改变世界,世界接受中国,网文就像一扇窗口,我们都习以为常的东西对外国人可能就是打开新世界的大门。衷心的希望中西方文化的交流,将我们的东西推广出去。那句官话,要有文化自信!中国的就是世界的!

  16. Thanks for the video ! It is when I started reading translated chinese webnovels that I really became interested in the Chinese culture. In fact, I've decided to go study for one semester in Beijing next year ! Cheers from France

  17. 台湾拍的布袋戏,也是中国传统文化,很有特色,金光布袋戏就属于武侠类,另一家 霹雳布袋戏就属于仙侠类,特效更好,人偶也更精致, 两家的武大动作特效设计比真人版的武侠仙侠更棒,里面的人物对白台词都是古汉语风格,有很多古诗词,每个不同角色出场都有各自的乐曲与诗号,一出场就能根据角色念的诗号与音乐感受到他是一个什么样的人

  18. 玄幻应该属于结合了西方魔幻内容,我们本土应该叫 神话 ,类似西方 奥林匹斯众神,所以 应该有: 武侠,仙侠,神话, 武侠是凡人的江湖,所追求的精神类似美国的蝙蝠侠,超人,蜘蛛侠那样的精神;仙侠是结合中国本土宗教道家文化的产物,比起武侠,仙侠更加牛逼,可以御剑飞行,有接近或类似神仙一样的功体修为,甚至可以活得比较长,以道家养身,修仙为追求;神话,这是每个古老民族都有的,这个最好理解,比如西方的奥林匹斯众神,神话境界属于仙侠的最高修行追求境界,所谓 得道成仙 就是这么回事,但是要经历很多年的苦行修练,不仅是功体的修练,还有宗教哲学,也就是心灵上的修练,要做到类似耶稣那样的觉悟,才有可能得道成仙,也是属于道家文化; 玄幻,我的理解是结合西方魔幻,比如魔戒特效拍的中国电影,这种我觉得不正宗,半土不洋的

  19. Do you know what xuanhuan novels have been turned into Anime (e.g. tales of demons and gods, battles through the heavens, full-time magister, …)?

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