Some light martial arts fiction

On a friend’s recommendation, I just read, the CUHK Series: Fox Valant of the Snowy Mountain by Jin Yang. It starts with some interesting introductions and commentary by the translator (there was also an implication that these were written because the author needed cash...). I’m not sure if this is his only work that’s translated into English, or if this is the only one available on the Kindle. The first thing I noticed was the style of the language. While I’m sadly monolingual, I do have a reasonable command of the one language that I know--however, I found myself glad to read it on the Kindle, where I could look up definitions of words that have fallen out of common usage (or perhaps reflect a more British dialect of the language). I wonder if this was intentional on the translator’s part? Was the Chinese version colloquial, or does it also use an older tone of language. But after awhile, I became accustomed to it and began to enjoy it.

The other thing that I found was that there are a number of movies and novels which I’ve seen and read that owe a silent homage to this author. If you ever get a chance, Sean Russell’s “Brother Initiate” series has a very similar feeling to it. This particular story also has a familiar feeling with recent movies in which we’re told a story from different perspectives and gradually learn more about reality by viewing it from different angles. Here, it’s interesting that the characters we meet first turn out to be villains and it’s only as we meet other characters that we release that some of their opponents are actually the heros…Psychologically, it’s interesting because by introducing them first, we are initially biased in their favor.

One interesting question raised in the story is about the value and danger of pride. At times in my life, my pride has been useful and helped me to push forward despite opposition. But on other occasions, it has got me in trouble. Have you ever had the feeling of meeting the sky above the sky? To feel that you’re at the top of the game and then to meet someone stronger?

In the book, much is made of scrolls. In fact, one of the characters becomes a much stronger martial artist from reading a fragment of a scroll with the secret teachings of a school. But, is this plausible? I remember when I trained, I would read a number of books with pictures and they were useful, but not compared to videos. And even videos were not enough to capture the feelings behind a number of techniques. I think that a scroll could serve to mark ideas, but you’d really need to have a teacher to truly understand...

All in all, it was a good read. The only regret that I had was the open ending...

Posted by william

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