Inverarity (inverarity) wrote in bookish,

Saturday Book Giveaway: Grimdark Science Fiction!

The winner of last week's Sherri Tepper/Suzette Haden Elgin giveaway is: stephani673. Your books will be on their way as soon as I find a box to mail them in. (I am going to have to find more boxes for these giveaways.)

This week, I dug three books out of my pile that I vaguely remember reading and enjoying many years ago:

Chung Kuo, by David Wingrove

  • Chung Kuo Book I: The Middle Kingdom (1989)
  • Chung Kuo Book II: The Broken Wheel (1990)
  • Chung Kuo Book III: The White Mountain (1992)

Chung Kuo

In the 22nd century, China has emerged as the dominant global civilization, and now rules a futuristic One World Order with tons of sci-fi goodies like genetic engineering, space travel, cyberspace and nasty superweapons.

If you like George R. R. Martinesque massive political/military worldbuilding epics that go on and on, I recommend the Chung Kuo series. I only have the first three books, but there are eight in the series if you want to continue. Like Martin, Wingrove is highly regarded for his writing skills and the scope of his epic, and widely side-eyed for including liberal amounts of rape and torture, bloodbaths and betrayal and frequent major character deaths and other grimdarkness.

There is some tension between those of Chinese and European descent, but the lines are not clear cut: there are both Han and Hung Mao among the overlords and the rebels alike, and there is plenty of honor and depravity on all sides.

That said, it's been years since I've read these books. I don't recall getting the sense that it was Yellow Peril 2100 AD, but skimming a few reviews and synopses, I suspect if you are inclined to notice such things, there are lots of iffy racial and gender politics. (I do vaguely recall it being mentioned in passing that the T'ang pretty much paved over Africa, which is why you don't see too many black people in the series. o..O)

If this is the sort of series you like, you will probably like this series. Not a lot of authors write these kind of wordy, sweeping SF epics nowadays, because not a lot of publishers will publish them. David Wingrove is apparently rewriting the whole thing and more than doubling the length of the original series!

So, the first three books of Chung Kuo are available for free to one randomly-chosen person.

If you have read these books, please comment here and share your thoughts - like I said, it's been many years since I read them, so I don't actually remember many details. I might be more critical of them now, but I certainly enjoyed them back when.


1. Only ask for them if you seriously want to read them. (I would like it very much if you post a review here on bookish, but I won't hold you to that.)

2. All decisions are arbitrary according to whatever criteria I feel like using.

3. You must PM me your address (if you are chosen).

5. U.S. only, sorry. It's cheaper to buy a new book than ship a used one overseas.

More books next Saturday. :)
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