Monday, March 26, 2012

White Moon, Red Dragon (the science fiction Game of Thrones)

A new article at the LA Times (via) looks at popular science fiction in China and includes this complaint from the author of "Red Star Over America":

"I went to America to present my ideas, but they thought that the portrayal of China's superpower status was an exaggeration. Americans think that America cannot be destroyed. They laughed at this idea. They didn't believe in me."
The funny thing is that series already exists - - David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series.

The eight-book series from the 90's is basically the science fiction version of George Martin's Game of Thrones - - relentless political intrigue peppered with a heavy dose of betrayal, sex, warfare, and the frequent death of major characters. Instead of feudal fantasy, the series takes place in a near-future where China has conquered the world.

Years ago I started with book 6 in the series, White Moon, Red Dragon, and it's still my favorite of the series by far. I can't recommend it highly enough. One of my alltime favorites. You can pick up a used copy for only 50 cents at Amazon.


  1. Awesome, that's going on the list... Just finishing up The Mirage which is getting a lot of coverage (can't remember if you've mentioned it). Alt/mirror world featuring a Muslim superpower? I've really enjoyed it.

  2. According to the Wiki entry for Chung Kuo (novel series)
    In February 2011 Corvus / Atlantic Books will begin an ambitious re-release of the entire Chung Kuo saga, recasting it as twenty books with approximately 500,000 words of new material. This includes two brand new prequel novels, Son of Heaven and Daylight on Iron Mountain and a significant restructuring of the end of the series to reflect Wingrove's original intentions. The two prequels will cover events between 2045 and 2100 AD, telling the story of China's rise to power.

    Originally, only one prequel novel was planned for September 2010. News of the additional prequel volume and a delayed release schedule was announced on the Interstellar Tactics blog

  3. Did you have any difficulty starting with the 6th book in the series?

    In reading up on this, it looks like there is an attempt to re-release the full thing as twenty separate novels with additional material. So far only the first volume is even up for pre-order in paperback, and it looks like the hardcovers are trickling out at a pace of about one a year. Not sure if I want to bother waiting until I'm dead to read them all, so I may just pick up the originals on your recommendation.

    1. Number 6 is the best. After reading it, I went back and read the first five. Also good, but not as great as 6. The series got weaker after number 6. I believe I read 7, but didn't like it, and 8 got terrible reviews so I never tried it.

  4. The new prequels really add to the series, bridging the gap between our world and that of Chung Kuo, especially considering how the political landscape has changed since the original release of the series. The original series is also being split into smaller volumes, so the original 9 book series is now 18 + the two prequels. Furthermore David Wingrove has gone back through the originals and reworked some bits.

  5. You always recommend the best books! I recently finished the "Leviathan Wakes" book you wrote about a while ago, so I'll definitely check this series out.