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西安美女作家的科幻小说登《自然》(图文)

已有 995 次阅读2015-6-5 09:42 |系统分类:英文分享 | 宽屏 请点击显示宽屏,再点击恢复窄屏 | 动漫全图 如只见部分动漫,请点击显示全图,再点击恢复窄图

美女科幻作家夏笳小说登《自然》 是西安交通大学教师王瑶

关键字: 中国美女科幻作家夏笳美女科幻作家小说登nature夏笳科幻nature王瑶科幻nature王瑶夏笳科幻小说夏笳刘慈欣夏笳刘宇昆科幻文学Let’s Have a Talk自然杂志

说起中国的科幻作家你马上想到刘慈欣,那起码你是个入门级的科幻迷。今天,小编在这里为大家介绍一位美女科幻作家——夏笳。

王瑶(夏笳)

小编,你这是广告,是软文!?真不是!

人家写的小说登上了世界上历史悠久、最有名望的科学杂志之一的《自然》(Nature)!6月4日出版的第522期的《Nature》上,西安交通大学人文学院青年教师王瑶(笔名夏笳)的科幻小说“Let’s Have a Talk”发表于其中的Futures栏目。

nature网页截图

小说描绘了一个充满想象力的场景:一家科技公司制造了一些小海豹模样、具有语言学习能力的智能机器玩具,却不慎将运输货物的集装箱弄丢。当他们找回货物时,却发现小海豹们在密封的集装箱中说着人类听不懂的语言。难道机器人自己能够发明语言吗?如果真是如此,人类又该怎么办?小说最后给了读者一个出人意料的结局。

王瑶本科毕业于北京大学物理学院,硕士进入中国传媒大学攻读电影学,博士阶段进入北京大学中文系。毕业后进入西安交通大学人文社会科学学院任教,在从事日常教学与科研工作之余,也继续创作科幻小说。

在此之前,王瑶已经用“科幻作家夏笳”的身份写了11年科幻小说,是“八零后”青年科幻作家中的代表人物。她的作品多次获得“科幻世界银河奖”和“华语科幻星云奖”等国内重要科幻奖项。从2012年开始,《关妖精的瓶子》、《百鬼夜行街》、《童童的夏天》、《2044年春节旧事》等短篇科幻小说被陆续翻译为英语、波兰语和意大利语,也获得了国外同行们的称赞。“Let’s Have a Talk”是她第一次尝试用英文写小说。

夏笳、刘慈欣和李淼在西安交大的科幻讲座上。

其实这篇小说完全是为了发Nature而写的。”王瑶说。“作为科幻迷,我很早以前就知道Nature上能发表科幻小说,但那时候完全没想过自己去投稿。直到去年,我受一家中文杂志委托,翻译雨果奖、星云奖双奖得主、华裔科幻作家刘宇昆(也是《三体》英文版第一部的译者,观察者网注)的短篇小说《疫病》(The Plague, Nature, May 16, 2013),翻完之后突然灵光一闪,觉得为什么不自己试试看呢?

抱着这个念头,她开始构思和写作,很快,一篇不到1000单词的超短篇小说就完成了。小说完成后,她请刘宇昆帮忙修改润色,然后发给Futures的征稿邮箱。几个月后,她收到编辑的邮件,表示很高兴采用稿件。“当时已经是快凌晨一点,我睡前随手拿起手机刷一下邮箱,看完邮件激动得从床上跳下来,光着脚冲进父母房间大喊:‘我要发Nature啦!’”王瑶这样回忆当天晚上的情境。“因为太久没有得到回复,觉得应该没什么希望,却突然得到这样一个巨大惊喜。”

如果要一句话总结科幻的意义,我觉得就是培养一种‘为什么不’的思维方式,这种思维能让人去尝试许多过去认为不可能的事。”王瑶说。“譬如用英文写科幻小说给Nature投稿,对我来说就像贸然跳进一个陌生的领域冒险。在我自己看来,能够有勇气去做这件事,或许比小说能够发表意义更重大。”

另外,发表过程中还有个小插曲。因为等待的过程太久,夏笳觉得没有希望了,就将小说改成中文版《黑屋》,加入了更多的文学元素和爱情故事,后来发表在2015年4月的《科幻世界》上。

王瑶近照,来自其朋友微博

实际上,《自然》杂志自创刊以来,一直对科幻题材情有独钟。自1999年以来,《自然》专门开创了一个科幻小说专栏,名叫“形形色色的未来”(Futures),用来刊登“完全原创”、“长度在850-950个单词之间的优秀科幻作品”。要在这样极短的篇幅之内讲述一个完整的故事,同时兼顾科学性与文学性,对作家来说挑战不可谓不严峻。尽管如此,由于《自然》杂志的影响力,这个栏目还是吸引了许多重量级作者,其中既包括阿瑟•克拉克(A. C. Clarke)、布莱恩•奥尔迪斯(B. Aldiss)、厄休拉•勒奎恩(U. K. Le Guin)等知名科幻作家,也包括本福特(G. Benford)、兰迪斯(G. A. Landis)、斯图尔特(I. Stewart)等业余从事科幻创作的著名科学家,可谓众星云集。在此之前,著名美籍华裔科幻作家特德•姜(Ted Chiang)、刘宇昆(Ken Liu)等人也在Futures上发表过作品,正是这些作品激发了王瑶的创作热情。

王瑶为小说制作的图画

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Let's have a talkNature 522, 122 (04 June 2015) doi:10.1038/522122aPublished online 03 June 2015
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A word to the wise.

Let's have a talkNature 522, 122 (04 June 2015) doi:10.1038/522122aPublished online 03 June 2015
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Illustration by Jacey

There are few reasons to call a linguist after midnight.

It was three in the morning when the phone woke me. A gloomy voice said they needed me right now. My first response was: Uh-oh, they're finally here. Aliens.

I met with some odd people in an odd dark room, where we watched odd video clips: a flock of white seal pups huddled together, clamouring continuously, sounding vaguely like a zoo mixed with a parking garage and a kindergarten.

“What the hell is that?” Someone beat me to the question.

We listened to the explanation. A lab designed these intelligent toys, which could imitate and learn human languages from scratch, as newborn babies do. The design summary claimed that the seal pups could ultimately master the equivalent of a five-year-old's language skills.

The lab staff had packed a hundred prototypes in a container to be shipped to beta users; however, the container was mislabelled. When the container was finally tracked down, retrieved and opened, the staff found that the seals, which ought to have been powered down and lying on their bellies silently, were instead making an astonishing ruckus.

“It looks like they are talking with each other in some alien language we can't understand,” an incredulous voice penetrated the darkness.

“That is the very thing we must Figure out. A man in black, who was leading this midnight meeting, nodded at us, poker-faced. “Is that possible? Who taught them? Remember, the container was sealed the entire time.”

“Sealed seals,” I murmured. Luckily no one heard me.

“There was a similar case. ISN, Idioma de Señas de Nicaragua,” the voice in the darkness replied. “It's a sign language developed by deaf children in a number of schools in western Nicaragua in the 1970s and 1980s.”

“Tell me more.” Evidently the man in black found this interesting.

“Well, before the 1970s, there was no deaf community inNicaragua. Then a couple of vocational schools were established there and hundreds of deaf students enrolled. The language programme, which tried to teach students to lip-read Spanish words, initially achieved little success. Meanwhile, the schoolyard, the street and the school bus proved to be fertile testing grounds for students figuring out how to communicate with each other on their own. By combining gestures and elements of their individual, idiosyncratic, homegrown sign systems, a new type of sign language rapidly emerged, which is now known as Idioma de Señas de Nicaragua. It is the only time that we've actually seen a language being created out of thin air.”

“Not exactly,” another voice interrupted. “Actually, someone later created robots with an ability to develop their own language. These 'Lingodroids' were designed to navigate their way through a labyrinth and to create words for mapped locations using a database of syllables. They communicated their findings to each other with microphones and speakers, thereby spawning new words for direction and distance as well.”

“How do we know what the Lingodroids were talking about?” said a third voice. “Isn't it possible that a word that sounds innocuous could mean, for example, 'armed revolt'?”

The idea of those simple robots conspiring should have been funny, but none of us laughed.

“Any more ideas?” The man in black looked around.

“Why seal pups?” I asked loudly.

“What?”

“They look weird. Why couldn't you have chosen puppies or kittens?”

“I don't think that's important.” He shrugged.

“Maybe the designer wanted them to appear as timid and inoffensive as possible,” I mused. “Doesn't this imply that we fear talking creatures unconsciously?”

“What's your point?”

“I mean, why don't we turn off this video screen, walk out of this dark room, and talk with these ... things directly, as we believe they've already developed their own language? All linguists know that the only way to learn an unknown language is to communicate with a native speaker, to point at objects and ask questions, and to answer their questions as well. We certainly will never understand what they are talking about if we don't knock on the door of that sealed container and say hello first.”

****

I stepped through the door, and all the seal pups fell silent and watched me with their big crystal eyes. Thank God. Seal pups seem much better than creatures with teeth and claws. I extended both of my hands to show that there was no hidden weapon, just as I was trained to do in my first field practice, knowing full well that this gesture was probably meaningless in their linguistic system.

A ROBOT MAY NOT INJURE A HUMAN BEING, ALTHOUGH IT MUST PROTECT ITS OWN EXISTENCE.

So high, so low, so many things to know.

“你好。” I said hello in my mother tongue, and waited patiently.

The nearest seal pup put a fluffy paw in my flat palm, and spoke — it sounded like a great big yawn.

I tried my best to imitate it. I could be saying hello, or else just yawning. Anyway it was not a bad start.

“让我们说说话?” I asked gently. Let's have a talk, shall we?


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