Monday, September 15, 2008

The Biological Science Fiction of Vu Kim Dung

One way that I try to keep up with new biology-related science fiction news is by subscribing to a Google News search using those terms. Most of the news reports are pretty predictable (for example, yet another article about "Spore"). However, every so often something new and different turns up.

One example of an interesting new news story is this interview in the VietNam News with author Vu Kim Dung. Vu was trained as a biologist, but gradually turned his attention to science fiction:
I started writing my first work, Co Kien Trinh Sat (A Scout Ant), in 1972 while I was studying at the university. Once it was published it became very popular among children.I chose to write science fiction because it combines my love for science and literature.
His subsequent science fiction novels were also based on hard biological science:
My book, Nguoi Dep Hoi Sinh (Beauty Revived), is the most satisfying work for me. From a cell of skin, the dead beauty is revived. In the book, I predicted that scientists would discover human cell cloning. I’m proud that I wrote the book before Dolly the sheep was born. The book is respected in this country.

Writing science fiction doesn’t mean basing stories on imagination alone. I have to study science and find scientific evidence. Then I work as a normal writer, finding context and making the stories interesting.

On the other hand, a writer must be creative and predict the future. That’s the big difficulty. The writer’s role is to create what hasn’t been invented. Writing on what already exists creates a story without value.
I Googled around, but couldn't find any additional information about his novels, at least doing a search using the spelling in the article. It makes me curious, but I supposed I'd have to learn Vietnamese to learn more.

Vu Kim Dung is currently the head of the Viet Nam Fund of Science Fiction, which was created by the Viet Nam Association of Young Scientists and Engineers to support science fiction writers. Read the whole interview for more about the VFSF and the reading and writing of science fiction.

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