This is a continuation of the Speculative Fiction Genre Glossary Project posts. For the complete genre index click here.
What is Wuxia?
A genre of martial arts adventure stories set in ancient china. The hero is a martial artist who adheres to the strict martial code of “xia”. This code requires the hero to be honorable, uphold justice, serve the greater good, and disregard wealth and glory.
Wuxia stories may be realistic or draw on Chinese mythology. However, martial skills are often exaggerated. Common abilities include: moving at superhuman speeds, using inner energy for attack and defense, the ability to run over bodies over water, the use of pressure points to instantly disable/kill/heal an opponent.
Originally a genre of literature, wuxia has also spilled over into comics and movies. I could not find any examples of novels in English, but there are many movies in the genre.
- Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)
- Once Upon a Time In China/Wong Fei Hung (1991)
- House of Flying Daggers (2004)
- Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)
- Hero (2002)
- Iron Monkey (1993)
Dad and grandpa are big martial arts movie buffs so I grew up on this stuff :) Are there other non-western speculative fiction genres you can think of? Bushido stories might qualify, but those do not always have a speculative element.