Celebrated Chinese science fiction novelist Ni Kuang has died in HK aged 87

Ni Kuang died on Sunday in Hong Kong, with local media reporting skin cancer as the cause of death. Photo: HKTDC

Celebrated Chinese science fiction novelist Ni Kuang died in Hong Kong on June 3, according to a South China Morning Post report. He was 87.

In a prolific career that began in the early 1960s, the China-born Ni Kuang - either Shanghai or Ningbo, with differing reports - worked his way up as a writer in the Hong Kong scene. He specialised in science fiction and martial arts writing, persistently cross-pollinating both worlds. His groundbreaking works, which started a trend of writing across genres in Hong Kong first gained an audience through local newspapers (such as Ming Pao), before attracting fans around the world.

Ni Kuang wrote some of the most beloved Chinese novels of the past 60 years, including more than 140 belonging to the hugely popular New Adventures Of Wisely series, which was first published in 1963. His Wisely novels were widely adapted for the big and small screen. Ni Kuang’s creation Wisely, an adventurer, kept readers coming back with a series of outer space missions and encounters with mysterious beings and aliens.

Dr Yuen was also another popular novel series from Ni Kuang, who also had a successful career as a scriptwriter.

As a multi-talented writer, Ni Kuang also penned more than 300 screenplays, including works for the Shaw Brothers film studio spanning the 1960s to early 1980s. He used to work with co-writer Chang Chen.

Ni Kuang, with his keen interest to broaden the martial arts genre, wrote scripts for classic HK films The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin and One Armed Swordsman and had a hand in two of Bruce Lee’s six movies The Big Boss and Fist Of Fury though the writing credit went to Wei Lo.

Tenky Tin, spokesman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, in quotes supplied to the South China Morning Post, said: “For those who are a bit old, they all know that the three greatest talents in the literary world are Jin Yong, (popularly known as Louis Cha), Gu Long and Ni Kuang. After that, no such iconic and epoch-making people have appeared. I am wondering if this is the end of an era.”

Gu died in 1985. Cha died more recently, in 2018.

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