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Cold War of narratives reaches science fiction – 11/05/2021 – Nelson de Sá

As you can confirm by paying R$9.90 a month for Apple’s streaming, the recently released science fiction series “Foundation”, which claims to be based on books by Soviet-born American Isaac Asimov, is a “fraud”.

That’s how Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who became an economist, described it precisely because he wanted to be like the mathematician who initiates and punctuates history, Hari Seldon. He creates a “foundation” to preserve the best of civilization in the galaxy.

The series has palatial intrigues and “soft porn” like “Game of Thrones”; death star and clones like “Star Wars”; villains from “Star Trek”. Above all, it has heroes to save humanity, which is contrary, antithetical to Asimov.

He started publishing “Foundation” in 1942, won the Hugo Prize for Science Fiction in 1966, has been read for generations, but these days few people are offended like Krugman, who stopped watching midway through the first season.

The greatest expectation or fear is now for another Hugo winner, in 2015, “The Problem of the Three Bodies”, by Chinese Liu Cixin. Which also started to be published as a short story, in a science fiction magazine, and ended up being transformed into a trilogy.

The three books have already been published in Brazil, in translation by Companhia das Letras (Suma seal). And two long-awaited adaptations are in production, a series by the American giant Netflix, the other by the Chinese giant Tencent.

“Three Corps” portrays humanity’s first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization and the shadow of an invasion. Amidst the current shadow of the Cold War, it is inevitable to expect very different versions, American and Chinese.

At Netflix, the creators of “Game of Thrones” are David Benioff and DB Weiss, and the newly released cast features names also taken from the hit series, such as Liam Cunningham and John Bradley.

The actors’ announcement “dropped like a bomb” on the Weibo social network, reported the nationalist Global Times of Beijing. “I hope the series doesn’t become a story about people from the West saving the world,” wrote one netizen.

Days later, the first trailer for the Tencent series was released, featuring Chinese stars such as Zhang Luyi and Wang Ziwen. As Shanghai’s Guancha reported, if Netflix actors were “questioned by fans of the books,” Tencent’s also didn’t escape.

Some netizens hailed the “gain” in the cast, while others called for more “epic feeling” than the video seems to indicate — and still others criticized that actor Yu Hewei is too light looking to play cop bruiser Shi Qiang, one of the main characters .

For its part, Netflix also suffers criticism at home. Five US senators sent a letter to Ted Sarandos, the company’s CEO, saying that Liu Cixin was “parroting dangerous Communist Party propaganda.” Sarandos did not give in to the lobby.

Tencent’s series should debut at the beginning of next year in China, but it still has no forecast of arriving in Brazil. Netflix begins filming this month, in China and the United Kingdom, with no deadline to debut on the platform.

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