This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (August 2018)
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.
There is a reference to You Xian Ku in the chapter "Journey to the Goblin Cave".
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 師傅: 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 龍子: 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 阿鳳: 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）
- Yu, Sen-lu (16 February 2003). "Nostalgia for the bad old days". Taipei Times.
- Official Website (in Chinese)