One-Armed Swordsman, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Fist of Fury, and the Bruce Lee successes Fist of Fury and The Big Boss were all written by Hong Kong author Ni Kuang, who has died at the age of 81. He had reached the age of 87.
According to the South China Morning Post, Ni passed away on Sunday at his Hong Kong home. Skin cancer was cited as the primary cause of death by local media outlets. Ni’s death on the same day as that of Alex Law, a famed Hong Kong director, and screenwriter.
One of China’s Most Illustrious Writers
Ni published a wide range of genres in addition to science fiction and wuxia, including as newspaper columns and satires. He also dabbled in romance and detective fiction. On top of all of his screenplays, it has been said that Ni penned more than 300 novels. They include explorer Wisley and martial artist Chen Zhen; Dr. Yuen; the first modern Chinese superhero, Inframan; and the “one-armed swordsman,” Fang Kang, portrayed by the late Jimmy Wang.
Ni was one of eight children born in Shanghai in 1935 to a middle-class family in the French Concession neighborhood. Reading Chinese classics such as Journey to the West and Water Margin as a young man, he became an ardent reader. He joined the Chinese Communist Party as a young man and served as a jail guard among other things.
His escape from Inner Mongolia, where he was stationed, back to Shanghai, where he bribed people smugglers to bring him back to Hong Kong, occurred in 1957.
For his efforts in Hong Kong, Ni joined a local newspaper writing contest by accident. Wuxia, a popular genre at the time, featured sword-wielding warriors and supernatural elements in historical action stories. During the early 1960s, Ni began writing science fiction and published the first Wisely story in Diamond Flower. The Wisely stories are set in the near future of Hong Kong, where the affluent protagonist Wisely travels the world solving mysteries and encountering all manner of people, villains, and even aliens. As many as 150 stories featuring Wisely were written and published by Ni, and many actors including Chow Yun-fat, Andy Lau, and Samuel Hui played the role.