Yang Xiao

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The Chinese sf community came into Western notice in 1989, when Yang Xiao (杨潇), then editor of Science Literature, China’s preeminent prozine (now Science Fiction World) traveled by herself to Eurocon 1989 in San Marino, and bid to hold the 1991 conference of World SF: An Organization of SF Professionals in Chengdu, Sichuan.

Together with Xiang Jichun (arts editor of Science Literature) and Shen Zaiwang, Yang next attended ConFiction, the 1990 Worldcon in the Netherlands, where her bid won, over Poland and Yugoslavia. Malcolm Edwards reported that the 1991 WSF Conference Yang ran was the best to date, with over 300 SF authors and editors attending. That was the first Chengdu International Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference, now a biennial event.

Yang helmed Science Fiction World from its beginning in 1979 into the 2000s, taking it from a government-sponsored publication to an enormously popular independent magazine. She was able to champion the cause of sf, long considered a “bourgeois” genre in the People’s Republic, in part because she is the daughter of an influential Communist Party member. Today, due in no small measure to her energetic efforts, sf is as popular in China as it is around the world, and the sf community in her hometown is bidding for a Worldcon.

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