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This is a rich but quiet SF novel that tells the story of ordinary people making their way in a future for our world that is culturally and politically dominated by China. We’ve colonised some of the solar system and we can change ourselves a little and link in directly to our tech but for all the scientific advances and geopolitical upheavals life in the future is one we could recognise today.
What makes this novel so very readable, gripping even, is that McHugh weaves together a mosaic of different lives lived vividly and ordinarily. Everyday concerns and feelings are woven expertly through a culture and society that has been twisted and changed by Chinese traditions and custom and new technologies. Take the eponymous Zhang (who threads a lot of the stories together) for example. He’s gay and not as Chinese as he looks but mainly he’s sweet-natured and worried about what his mum thinks, his job and his love life. This isn’t SF about changing the world, it’s SF about living a life in a world that has changed and is changing around you. It’s SF from the ground up. McHugh describes the Chinese influenced society of this new USA with great intelligence and sensitivity and she is adept at weaving in the impact of new technologies. China Mountain Zhang is a wonderful window onto a different world. Looking through these windows is what SF is all about. Fans of William Gibson and Margaret Atwood will love McHugh’s take on the genre. ~ Simon Spanton
'I am Zhang, alone with my light, and in that light I think for a moment that I am free.' Imagine a world where Chinese Marxism has vanquished the values of capitalism and Lenin is the prophet of choice. A cybernetic world where the new charioteers are flyers, human-powered kites dancing in the skies over New York in a brief grab at glory. A world where the opulence of Beijing marks a new cultural imperialism, as wealthy urbanites flirt with interactive death in illegal speakeasies, and where Arctic research stations and communes on Mars are haunted by their own fragile dangers. A world of fear and hope, of global disaster and slow healing, where progress can only be found in the cracks of a crumbling hegemony. This is the world of Zhang. An anti-hero who's still finding his way, treading a path through a totalitarian order - a path that just might make a difference.
Publication date: 03/11/2016
Publisher: Gollancz an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||3rd November 2016|
|Author:||Maureen F. McHugh|
|Publisher:||Gollancz an imprint of Orion Publishing Co|
Maureen F. McHugh was born in Loveland, Ohio, and educated at Ohio University and New York University. She taught in Chinafor a year, and her experiences there and in New York formed the basis of her first novel, China Mountain Zhang. She has lived in New York City, Shijiazhuang, China, and Austin, Texas. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.More About Maureen F. McHugh