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Crystal Boys (孽子, pinyin: Nièzǐ, "sons of sin") is a novel written by author Pai Hsien-yung and first published in 1983 in Taiwan. In 1988, this novel went into circulation in China; its French and English translations were published in 1985 and 1989. A translation into German ("Treffpunkt Lotussee") appeared in 1995.
Nièzǐ means literally "sinful sons" or "sons of sin", but it may also be an allusion to a passage in Mencius in which "friendless officials and concubine's sons" (孤臣孽子) reach positions of power because they have learned to live with a dangerous status.
A movie called Outcasts, based on this novel, was released in 1986. In 2003, the material was adapted by Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation into a miniseries, which has gained great attention.
The story takes place in Taipei in the 1960s (or, in the most recent film adaptation, in 1973), and follows a short period in the life of a young man called Li-Qing (李青, nicknamed A-Qing).
When A-Qing is expelled from his school because of "scandalous relations" with classmate Zhao Ying (趙英), his father kicks him out of the family home. A-Qing begins to hang out at a park called New Park, a gay cruising area and hangout for gay men, where he meets the novel's other primary characters.
- A-Qing 阿青: the main character, a strong character both emotionally and physically.
- Di-wa 弟娃：: A-Qing's younger brother.
- Xiao Yu 小玉： A somewhat flamboyant Japanese-Taiwanese. Dreams of going to Japan to find his father, somewhat uses old men for money
- Lao Shu 老鼠：A petty thief, a bit sloppy, a little silly. Lives with his abusive older brother in a house of crime.
- Xiao Min小敏：: Like A-Qing, was kicked from his home by his father. While physically strong, he is emotionally weak, eventually attempting suicide after his lover breaks up with him.
- Shi Fu 师傅: Somewhat the four characters above "care giver", he helps give them jobs and protection, later opening a gay bar.
- Lao Guo 老郭: A retired photographer, who keeps a photo book of the various characters who flock to the park. First one to take A-Qing in.
- Long Zi笼子: Returns to Taipei after living in USA, where he went after murdering his lover A-Feng in a fit of rage. Their story has become legendary in the park.
- A-Feng 阿凤： The wild son of a mute woman, grew up an orphan. Was Long Zi's lover, but was killed by him.
The story focuses on A-Qing's struggle between himself, his family, and a society where homosexuality is taboo.
The TV series Crystal Boys stars:
- Fan Chi-wei (范植偉 as A-Qing)
- Tony Yang (楊佑寧 as Zhao Ying)
- Joseph Chang (張孝全 as Wu Min 吳敏)
- Wu Huai Zhong (吴怀中 as Lao Shu 老鼠）
- Official Website (in Chinese)