China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh

China Mountain Zhang

With this groundbreaking novel, Maureen F. McHugh established herself as one of the decade's best science fiction writers. In its pages, we enter a post-revolution America, moving from the hyper-urbanized eastern seaboard to the Arctic bleakness of Baffin Island; from the new Imperial City to an agricultural commune on Mars. The overlapping lives of cyber-kite fliers, lonely colonists, illicit neural-pressball players, and organic engineers blend...

Details China Mountain Zhang

TitleChina Mountain Zhang
Release DateApr 15th, 1997
PublisherOrb Books
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Dystopia, LGBT

Reviews China Mountain Zhang

  • carol.
    China Mountain Zhang is an impressive work, well deserving of its Hugo and Nebula nominations and its Tiptree and Lambda awards. Thoughtful, precise writing and Zhang’s fully developed characterization make this a stand-out read, with only overall structure and the subject of one point of view preventing me from awarding a full five stars.Setting is thoughtfully built; information about society is shared indirectly through character experience....
  • Bradley
    This book is one that's brilliant on multiple levels, but first, you have to manage your expectations. What do I mean?This came out in 1990 but it resembles the more modern trend of literary SF in that most of the focus is on characterization and social interactions but in my opinion, it is superior to those because McHugh's wild worldbuilding is detailed, pervasive, and devoted to a fundamental conclusion. Or several conclusions. Interesting one...
  • Manuel Antão
    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.“Dao ke dao, fei chang dao” = “The way that can be spoken is not the way” (page 220).This simple aphorism exemplifies the tone of this novel. Lots of things left unsaid, but at the same time, because of that, conveying lots of meaning.I’ve just finished this astonishing novel and I’m still trying to deal how it made feel.One of the things that impressed me the most was McHug...
  • Lit Bug
    3.75/5In the 22nd century, China has replaced America as the world’s dominant political, economic and cultural capital, following a political revolution in America that has displaced its capitalistic economy and brought in an era of socialism.It is an immensely well-imagined and portrayed account of a plausible future where China takes precedence over the States – the latter becomes akin to a third-world dump following a financial crisis, whi...
  • Brad
    ***WARNING*** This is a reading journal rather than a review, so it will be riddled with unmarked spoilers. You have been warned. China Mountain -- Zhang:- So far, Zhang is nothing like I expected, neither the character nor the book. I expected a cyber-punky action thriller, and it may still become that, but this first chapter offers no signs that a change is going to come. At this point it is a study of two characters: Zhang and San-xiang; the f...
  • Monica
    The brilliance of China Mountain Zhang lies in the lack of complexity of this well drawn near future world. McHugh delivers on a slice of life journey with some very smart and clever extrapolations on the ordinariness of life. This book is a scifi version of humorless but culturally observant Seinfeld. The mundane becomes fascinating in this novel where nothing much happens. McHugh puts us on a life journey with "everymen" who are unmistakably hu...
  • Allison Hurd
    McHugh told a story in the gaps between her words, about people who live in the gaps. A heartbreaking, compassionate, imaginative story that reminds us that people are people, no matter how far into the future, or from home we get, and that exhorts us to remember that unity is not the same as similarity.CONTENT WARNING: (view spoiler)[ extreme homophobia, rather explicit rape, suicide, loss of a loved one, racism, vehicle crashes, pretty extensiv...
  • David
    I feel pretty confident in saying that this is the best book you've never read. I had the joy of discovering this book when it first came out, almost a decade and a half later, I still feel it is one of the best SF novels I've ever read. The novel is made up of several stories loosely intertwined.McHugh draws upon her experiences living in China to craft future in which China has become the dominant power, and America has been reduced to a third-...
  • Anthony
    A lovely, subtle, humane, intelligent, sensitively detailed novel about the interior lives of a diverse and deeply interesting cast of characters. There were moments of incredible pathos and humanity, and a wonderful sense of self-discovery that flowed through the narrative. In its best moments, it deeply moved me.
  • Cheryl
    The GR-default cover (red & black, vibe of a pyramid) is much better than the mm pb I read (military vibe). This is not an adventure, much less a military one. It is world-building, it is philosophy, it is character development and interaction. How does one young man, a gay "half-breed," stumble up from being an ordinary construction worker to being a professor of organic engineering? From being uncomfortable with his identity to realizing that h...
  • Scott Hitchcock
    DNF after 75 pages. There was zero action and the interactions between the characters had a trite YA quality to them. I put the book down for a couple of days, after 45 pages, to see if a change in mood would help but it didn't. I was engaged in a few other reads and wanted to get back to those.
  • Tatiana
    This book is one of those that sneak into your high regard. It's not flashy or sensational, it's just very real. The author has the knack of writing characters you care about. All the various subplots weave together, touching at points. You find that you care deeply about what happens to each of them, and the story of their struggles, their loves, and their accomplishments makes really good reading. The world is extremely well-built and realistic...
  • Michelle
    if the plot had been half as interesting as the characters were, or the world they inhabit is, this book would have been fantastic. as it is, only so-so.basic concept summary: china has come out on top of the political/ideological dogpile, so the world is a (mostly) socialist sino-centric place. the good schools, the quality jobs, the big money, and all the envy & prestige are gazing toward china. enter zhang, who's chinese/hispanic - his parents...
  • Nancy
    The story is set in a near future US that has undergone a socialist revolution and the Second Great Depression and is dominated by China. Each section is a novelette-sized story featuring several characters in different locations -- New York City, Baffin Island, China and Mars. The characters are engaging, realistic and likeable. The story is upbeat and enjoyable, though I found myself wanting more at the end.
  • Ian
    When I was reading China Mountain Zhang, I was enthralled by the authenticity of the characters, the believability of their words and actions, and the credibility of the future that McHugh envisions. It was thoughtfully and elegantly written. I truly felt for, and felt with, the characters. I didn't have to suspend disbelief as the storyline was so plausible. It was easy to read. Not "easy" like Shoots and Ladders is easy to play, but easy in the...
  • Pujashree
    I quite enjoyed the mellow yet vivid scope of the plot. For a novel where not a whole lot happens, I couldn't put the book down whenever I picked it up. The world feels lived in, and the characters were relatably flawed, despite the massively different alternate history/geopolitical makeup of the world. It did feel like it ended rather abruptly,but for the life of me, I cannot imagine a better ending.
  • Matt
    I find it challenging to pinpoint exactly why this book is so remarkable, especially because the plot is not its strength, and I find that's what most people are looking for in a book (I see that many of the lukewarm reviews point to this). Part of my admiration is for the richness of the language. For a 300 pager, the language was dense enough to make me feel I was reading something epic (i.e. longer), and I found myself slowing down to savor ev...
  • Sandi
    I'm not sure what I expected from this book but considering all its awards and nominations I was hoping it was legitimately good. I got what I hoped for. While I love space opera and action styled science fiction, I also love a good character driven story. This falls into the latter category.I gravitate towards the more specific genres of science fiction such as dystopian, post apoc and cyber punk because they are topics that I've put some though...
  • Jamie Collins
    This is an elegant science fiction novel, set in a future where China has become the dominant world power. The cover blurb tries to impress you with the futuristic setting, but this is a strongly character-driven story, and only loosely plotted. It’s almost a series of related stories rather than one coherent novel. I found it a mesmerizing read.Most of the book is about a young New Yorker named Zhang trying to make his way in this wonderfully ...
  • Zach
    In which the titular character is a gay American man of Chinese descent living in a future post-collapse/revolution US that has become a state-capitalist satellite of the hegemonic People's Republic of China, starting off as a construction foreman and ending up as a kind of super-architect. I just spoiled the entire plot of this book for you, but if you're a plot-centric person this won't appeal to you anyway. This is getting a little too close t...
  • Nick Imrie
    A simple way to get to know about a town is to see how the people work, how they love and how they die – Albert CamusChina Mountain Zhang is the perfect protagonist for this subtle, under-stated book. Unambitious and introverted, Zhang is trying not to draw attention to himself, but his attempts to just get by end up with him posted to an Arctic scientific station, studying daoist engineering in Wuxi, tutoring Martian colonists and eventually c...
  • Gabi
    For me the great strength of this novel is the creation of the characters, especially the main character. It didn't give me the feeling of a construction with a certain target audience in mind, which I get with so many books. Flawed and not politically correct Zhang was such a real character, utterly believable and I could connect so deeply with his emotional state. His POV chapters I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially Baffin Island and Ghost were ou...
  • Dawn C
    I didn’t know what to expect but I was blown completely leftfield. Set in the 22nd century where Communist China now sets the political and social agenda, we follow the slightly unsympathetic titular character Zhang Zhong Shan through a series of interconnected events involving him and the people whose lives he somehow touches. This is a science fiction story that avoids all the usual tropes and instead gives the reader a microcosm of a persona...
  • Alex Bright
    4.5 StarsDon't even know where to start with a review.
  • Rose
    At first, I felt that this was rather aimless, and that I didn't like Zhang very much. Over time, yeah, this book never really solidified much of a plot, but regardless I was hooked. It was less of the queer sci-fi adventure that I was hoping for, and more of a general exploration of queer life on an alternate earth that just so happened to be mildly futuristic, but I really came around to it. Zhang grew on me - his aimlessness and general insecu...
  • Daniel Roy
    I always feel guilty when I quit a book halfway through, and I don't think I've ever felt guiltier than with this novel. Everything about it sounds like I would absolutely love it. But yet as I made my way through the pages, I found myself dreading my reading sessions more and more, until I just decided it was time to move on.That's not to say I don't recognize the book's strengths, and there are many. The idea of a futuristic world where China h...
  • Wastrel
    Not recommended for: those who want action and excitement.China Mountain Zhang is a very peculiar novel. It is set in the China-dominated near future, showing the lives of several characters, particularly one mixed-race gay engineer. It's hard to know how to feel about it. On the one hand, it has an annoying and boring central protagonist, almost no action, little psychological insight or progression, and a setting too close to the real world to ...
  • Maggie K
    China Mountain Zhang is such a great example of showing place through the day to day lives of its characters that it almost seems like a book about nothing....not except a futuristic earth (and a Mars colony) so alive in its humanity it shine! Really, really quite thought provoking.Rafael "China Mountain" Zhang is the loose knot tying the characters stories together, hi POV sandwiching those of his Chinese boss' daughter, 2 Martian colonists, and...
  • Jamesboggie
    China Mountain Zhang is a powerful example of speculative science fiction. Author Maureen McHugh asked, “what would a future dominated by China and Chinese marxism look like?” This book is the award-winning result.China Mountain Zhang follows American Born Chinese Zhang as he navigates a Chinese dominated world. Zhang starts the story miserable. He is marginalized - by his sexuality, by his birth in New York, by his mixed race heritage hidden...
  • Oleksandr Zholud
    This novel was nominated for Nebula award for year 1992. The author describes its genre as anti-SF, meaning that it lacks the usual trope of a protagonist trying to change/affect their world. It can be viewed as a contemporary fiction, just set in the future. So, what the future brought? Due to some events (briefly outlined closer to the end of the book) the US and China changed their political and technological places: China is a rich (possibly ...