Abstract

The 2017 Nobel Prize Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro has written across several different fields in his seven novels and a short story collection published so far, but he has persistently maintained that he “is not interested in realism.” His Never Let Me Go (2005), a sci-fi novel about the life of a group of young clones, can be considered the least realist; yet, what impresses the readers most is its unique verisimilitude to reality in its calm, composed, yet all the more chilling narration. So the question we may ask is, where does the verisimilitude to reality come from in a sci-fi novel, which we normally consider to be the opposite of realist novels? What is the entangled relationship between literary realism and science fiction? In what ways can this kind of realism be universal and allegorical in science fiction writing? This article will discuss the above questions from the perspective of “sci-fi realism,” a critical concept developed recently by some Chinese sci-fi writers/critics. It intends to reveal the relationship between the development of sci-fi writing in the increasingly rapid advancement of science and technology in the world and the allegorical nature of dystopian sci-fi realism as an effective social critique in its recent development. It will further discuss the possibility of China in initiating her original critical theories that are applicable in the study of world literature.

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