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Nan Guotai. Nan Guotai appeared in the Chinese novel Nian Dajiangjun Pingxizhuan (1899).

Nan Guotai is the son of the Jesuit missionary Nan Huairen, a.k.a. Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688). Nan is also an inventor of military technology–the 17th century Chinese version of SCIENCE!–and during a Tibetan rebellion Nan offers his newest weapons, including the shengtian qiu (aerial balloon) and dixing chuan (underground ship), to the Chinese Imperial Army. But the conflict spreads, and Nan’s weapons go up against traditional Chinese magic weapons. Chinese yanzhi jin (“rouge garments,” or tampons) are used to absorb the electricity of dianqi bian (electric whips) and the Master of the Snowy Mountain and the Pope engage in mortal combat.

* I'm including Nian Dajiangjun Pingxizhuan in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of the ideasplosions in the novel. I mean--just read that summary. You'll get an idea-high from it. Now, from what I know of the Nüxia/Wüxia genre, novels in that genre were similarly abundant with ideas and concepts, which were sometimes so numerous that they ended up being virtually flung at the reader. But to the best of my knowledge none of the nüxia/wüxia novels published by 1899 included science fictional concepts like airships and diing chuan and electric whips. None of the nüxia/wüxia novels published by 1899 got as blatantly political and anti-Western as Nian Dajiangjun Pingxizhuan (again, to the best of my knowledge). And none of the nüxia/wüxia novels published by 1899 had as gloriously, wonderfully, supremely goofy a notion as the Master of the Snowy Mountain engaging in a martial arts duel-to-the-death with the Pope. Sui generis was and is Nian Dajiangjun Pingxizhuan.

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