How do people enjoy Xianxia novels?

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by Ddraig, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    Xianxia is originally born out of wuxia so modern wuxia would be a good approximation of what they'd look like. The most famous writers in this genre are Gu Long and Jin Yong, and their books are some of the earliest translated titles out there. Moreover, their books are some of the most popular and famous works in Chinese literature; with other books namedropping them all the time. But despite all this, they're barely ever mentioned on NUF; even when people are discussing wuxia novels. The only reasonable conclusion for this is that readers on NU just don't care about them so there's no reason for translators to tackle similar works.
     
  2. mewth

    mewth Well-Known Member

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    For someone that can't
    differentiate between xiaxia and wuxia (yes, me), the term that make me confused. Not mentioned the multiples name/nick name for single character. I could only read the one with top grade translation with a lot of footnote (Tons of it). With 3 dimensional characters that personality strong enough to me remember who is who. Or else I would got headache.

    And when you narrow it, there is some fantasy can that could be enjoyed. Without those lame cliches.
     
  3. Lisant

    Lisant Active Member

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    That is by no means the only reasonable conclusion, and you started recommending Gu Long and Jin Yong novels, which are paperback wuxia novels, on the topic of xianxia webnovels. Moreover, the earliest translations tend to be less popular simply because the translation-reading community was smaller then and the people who looked into CNs afterwards are unaware of these novels that are no longer updating on NU. When I look for "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer" I find that the translation was marked as written in 2006 (14 years ago) on a forum most of us do not frequent at a time when online CN translations weren't really popular in the western digital world and if you actually want to start at chapter 1 of book 1 you have to click a link which goes to a website that has been dead for over ten years so you need to use the internet archive to dredge it up. Small surprise, then, that people here tend not to have read it or recommend it even though it's very popular in the Chinese-speaking world. Those novels are also structurally poorly suited for popularity on NU simply because you cannot sensibly push out 6-10 updates on the first day, 2-3 updates a day for the first week or so, and then do 1 update per day afterwards in order to sustain readership unless you translated the entire thing ahead of time, so they become invisible because no one notices them on the NU page, and you won't even find them on the xianxia tag because they are wuxia stories.

    At any rate I was asking about whether there are any old-school xianxia novels that you are aware of, and I think your lack of answer and subsequent change of subject towards classics of the wuxia genre is telling. People just aren't very aware of any translated old-school xianxias.

    Think of xianxia as high fantasy and wuxia as low fantasy. Xianxia settings are blatantly more supernatural, everyone is busy prolonging their lifespans and pursuing immortality with their cultivation techniques, cultivation techniques tend to have realms of power that go higher and higher, and cultivators with full-on magic powers (as opposed to merely reality-defying martial arts) are much more common. Wuxia stories also tend to take place in some period of ancient China whereas xianxia stories typically take place in their own fantasy settings (although there are some xianxias set in China too). The stories also tend to be different, with wuxia (and old-school xianxia) pursuing more of an actual plot (usually heroics of some sort) rather than just being obsessed with power-leveling. One of the joking remarks I've heard on that front goes "In wuxia, a man will forgive a woman for stabbing him. In [new-school] xianxia, he will destroy her entire clan if she addresses him in the wrong tone of voice."
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
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  4. Wu Jizun

    Wu Jizun Well-Known Member

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    For discussion's sake, allow me to correct myself so that we're not discussing semantics. Rather than "nobody translates", it'd be more correct to say "few translate".

    As for the series you'd like listed, here are a couple:
    Zhu Xian
    Ashes of Love
    Tian Ying
    Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms
    Three Lives Three Worlds, The Pillow Book
    Hua Yu Xin
    The Sword Dynasty
    Sword of Coming

    Look at their readership - less than the most popular wuxia on NU, which says a lot.

    I considered licensing "The Sword Dynasty" but chose not to because I had a feeling it would perform underwhelmingly, and look how poorly it's performing. Forget a hole in my wallet, I'd probably have sold even my wallet already.

    If WW automatically gives a novel more popularity, that doesn't explain why "Physician's Odyssey" bombed even more than wuxia series on significantly smaller sites. That said, I agree with your points regarding exposure, save for word of mouth since they're hardly being read in the first place.

    The point of complaints deserves merit. However, we have to first assume that we're even talking about xianxia owing to the fact that series' genres are mislabelled to an unthinkable extent.

    If there's an issue with "young masters" popping up perpetually, why aren't those series that don't abuse the trope (such as the ones above) more popular? Maybe it's the lack of a levelling system? Maybe because the whole world doesn't revolve around just the MC? One can only infer. The fact is, they're out there; they're just not as popular.

    If we're going to argue writing prowess, why isn't Sword of Coming more popular? The author is currently one of the most decorated webnovel authors for his literacy knowledge, ability to differentiate himself from the popular trends and prose. The series is a banger among Chinese webnovel enthusiasts.

    As you said, translation is a factor, so we should question their translation quality. After all, old-school xianxia is more difficult to translate than new-school xianxia and xuanhuan, which people are still stumbling on. I would definitely doubt the translation of Sword of Coming given its difficulty.

    As @ToastedRossi pointed out, if the most popular wuxia is a financial flop and readership flop (relatively speaking), I'm not sure how a genre even less popular is supposed to be an exception.
     
  5. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    Hah! Looks like there's a bunch of books to add to my list! (of books it's going to take forever to get to)
     
  6. Lisant

    Lisant Active Member

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    Thanks for the list, I wasn't aware of most of those and I'll have to check it out. Zhu Xian though is less popular for reasons ranging from the poor and inconsistent translation to the story being rather big on tragedy befalling the MC to the drama-heavy romance plot.

    Wouldn't know. My guess is that imperial Chinese politics are less appealing to a western audience. The lack of a dark mode also doesn't help with prolonged reading sessions.

    Physician's Odyssey bombed because it appears to be a rather bad story.

    Well, you can at least discuss a novel's concept ahead of time and see if people would be interested in reading that. Some novels do develop a bit of a following before they are translated, but that's a rarity.

    True. Mostly xuanhuan being mislabeled as xianxia as far as I can tell. Not sure if there are others.

    The lack of a progression system can be big, honestly. If people read xianxia as a form of progression fantasy and the progression system is taken out, then their interest might not extend to the novel in question. Growth and improvement as narrative thrusts (with clear ways to measure that growth) are usually part of the interest that surrounds modern xianxia. You don't need an explicit cultivation levels system, but I think generally xianxia readers do enjoy protagonists that clearly improve and advance as the story progresses.

    I would look at the release schedule for Sword of Coming. Any series would bomb with a release schedule like that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
  7. mewth

    mewth Well-Known Member

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    Not gonna lie, its the end joke actually the one that makes me understand. LoL. For someone whose first time reading word "cultivation" think of agriculture its kinda huge leap.
     
  8. Daresan

    Daresan Well-Known CN Master

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    If you havent read my house of horrors and lord of mysteries then you tell me you are so familiar with CN novels for fuck's sake mate, you dont even know what you are talking about. You recommend dady's fatansy restaurant over them shows your ignorance.

    Tell me your favourite novels here i can bash each and everyone of them, all of them combined wont be as good as lord of mysteries and my house of horrors.

    I have been reading light novels for more than 5 years + and especially CN novels as i cant stand jap beta crap only 1% of jap novel i find interesting. I know what i am talking about mate.

    i never said they are all super good novel i just said they are not xianxia thats what this thread is about. If you want to check best CN masteripieces that i like then refer to this link

    https://www.novelupdates.com/viewlist/15799/
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020