Thinking of writing for KFAT? Want to know what WuXia is? Just looking for cool things to watch and read?
We got you covered!
So, you’re curious about WuXia and want to know where to start?
Well, there’s the link above to WuXiapedia.com which will get you a whole treasure trove of books, but that could be a little overwhelming. So, here’s what I recommend:
The best stories to start with are the Condor Hero (aka Eagle Shooting Hero) Trilogy by Jin Yong. When I say they are considered the pinnacle of WuXia literature that’s not going far enough, they’re pretty much the Asian version of Lord of the Rings, except with more complex characters, story, plot and pacing. (Oh yes, and set in “real” history.) Chinese cultural knowledge helps, but is no more necessary than knowing Arabian culture and reading 1001 Arabian Nights.
The First Book is Eagle Shooting Hero (second half here), which is followed up by Divine Eagle-Gallant Knight, and that is followed up Heavenly Sword-Dragon Sabre (additional chapters here). Each can be read on their own, but they are interconnected, so the best place to start is obviously Eagle Shooting Hero. Of the three, Divine Eagle-Gallant Knight is probably the best loved (being mostly a romance), but Heavenly Sword-Dragon Sabre is probably the most complex and best written.
I can’t recommend reading them enough- there’s a reason if you mention any of the main characters in these stories to a Chinese person they will know immediately who you are talking about. The characters in these stories are as real to them as The Three Musketeers, Horatio Hornblower, Robin Hood or any other of our own historical adventurers are.
If however, you prefer something a little lighter then look no further than the Adventures of Lu Xiao Feng, which skip the martial arts details in favor of interesting characters and plot twists more like a James Bond story set in old China than a youthful adventure story. I loved these enough that I did an audiobook adaption of the first few chapters of book one, and although I stopped for personal reasons I would heartily recommend people checking them out.
However, don’t take my word for it! The WuXia genre is a vast and interesting genre filled with many different styles and takes on the whole martial arts world. Check out enough and I’ll bet you’ll find something you like!
Now to some more commercially available material:
Reading: (in no particular order)
The Judge Dee novel series
Lone Wolf and Cub (manga)
A Step into the Past (TV)
Shadow Warriors (TV)
Kingdom of the Wind (TV)