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It’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad it’s finally here: Earthlight, a brand new, unreleased, Chung Kuo novella available for free digital download, exclusively from Of Gifts and Stones. Earthlight takes place in the year 2105 and adds to the story of the Osu, one of my favorite aspects of the Chung Kuo universe.

I’m told this is the first of many new wonderful things to come.

Thanks, as always, to Mr. Wingrove for continuing to provide the fan community with new content and for allowing me the honor of hosting it.

Download Earthlight now in PDF format.

4 Comments, Written on August 24th, 2015 , News, The Vault

New blog entry from David about the recent turbulence in the Chinese stock market. Full text after the break.

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Crash Landing in China

Or, China, Burning.

For a long time now there’s been concern over whether China’s long-sustained economic growth could continue, and many China experts have been asking openly whether, if things did go wrong, it would be a soft landing or a crash landing, and, if the latter, then how it would affect the rest of the global economy.

Well, now we –partially – know. China’s growth can’t be sustained, and we don’t need China experts to tell us that. It’s finally happened, in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, as well as in other stock markets throughout the world. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment, Written on July 21st, 2015 , Goodies

Mr. Wingrove checks in. And yes, a plan is in the works to roll out something exciting. More to come.

Full text after the break.

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Backwards

Sue’s up in Manchester, at a short term conference for Coronation Street, leaving me down here in London, furiously self-motivating myself to get Book Three of the time travel trilogy – THE MASTER OF TIME – written. And?

Well, it isn’t easy. I think I have the rough shape of the ending, but I have a problem. ROADS TO MOSCOW isn’t an easy book to end. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Comments, Written on May 14th, 2015 , Goodies, News, Roads to Moscow

I’m writing this from the site of the eMerge Americas conference, sunny rainy Miami Beach, right before the second day of the conference proper begins. In a session yesterday, a speaker mentioned a company I had never heard of before: Synthetic Genomics. This company claims to have produced the first synthetic cell, and also works on “humanized organs” and “digitizing life.” As crazy as this sounds, this isn’t some goof company or hoax — they have financial backing from BP and a few different venture capital firms.

Sound familiar? In case you need a refresher, Genetic Synthetics, or GenSyn, is a mega-corporation in the Chung Kuo universe that creates artificial life forms and other constructed genetic products. Once again, life imitates art.

For what it’s worth, I think GenSyn rolls off the tongue far better that SynGen.

For a short story that illuminates some of the life of a GynSyn creation, check out One Moment of Bright Intensity, which takes place during the events of The Middle Kingdom.

Leave thoughts in comments!

Leave A Comment, Written on May 5th, 2015 , Reflections

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately. This site has been around since February 2011, when the re-release of Chung Kuo was announced. A lot has changed since then. The re-release has been cut off at the hip, but Roads to Moscow is now a thing (a thing you all should be reading if you’re not already). I originally created this site to archive of the old essays that were floating around the internet for a fear that those sites would disappear and we (the relatively small and disconnected Chung Kuo fanbase) would lose that content forever. It grew into something I never would have expected… a community. A small one, yes, but there are regular readers and commenters (that’s you!) who also care about these works and want to see them continue and grow and succeed. And on top of that, David Wingrove, himself, became an integral part of the site, regularly supplying the community with updates and special content. Hell, the man dedicated one of his novels to me. This site has been

I first read Chung Kuo as a freshman in high school. Here I am now, 30 years old, starting a doctoral program this year, and I can’t help but look back and reflect on the effect Chung Kuo has had on my life. Small influences, but influences nonetheless. I took Mandarin in college. I visited China. I feel like the lessons in Chung Kuo about hierarchy, control, culture, and diplomacy have enabled me to approach the real works with a more critical, nuanced eye.

Having reflected on these things recently, I’ve decided to dedicate more effort into this site and this community.

Starting with… Twitter. I’ll be semi-live-tweeting as I read from @giftsandstones, starting with The Ocean of Time, which I’ve just started now that I’ve finished a re-read of The Empire of Time. Expect the first of these tonight or soon. I’ll be including the chapter number in parenthesis and a hashtag for whichever book I’m on.

I have other goals in mind for the site – some big, some small. A redesign is in order, perhaps. For sure, I want to get off horrible GoDaddy and migrate to a better web host. That might include some downtime, but hopefully not much.

I’ll leave you with two questions. First, has Chung Kuo, Myst, Roads to Moscow, The Trillion Year Spree, or any other Wingrove work left an impression on you to the degree that it has me? Second, what would you like to see out of this site? Return of the forums? A Kickstarter to re-re-publish the books? Let me know, and we’ll make it happen,  hopefully together.

Zaijian for now…

-Matt

 

33 Comments, Written on April 29th, 2015 , News, Reflections

This arrived today, from all the way across the Atlantic. I’m actually planning on re-reading Empire of Time first – I read it in such a hurry that it’s a bit of a blur.

Looking forward to your thoughts about the new book!

The Ocean of Time by David Wingrove

1 Comment, Written on April 5th, 2015 , Reflections, Roads to Moscow

David resurfaces! Full text after the break.

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Of What Is Past or Passing or To Come

 

A few minutes before I fell off the tracking board, I dialled my brother to find out how he was and what he’d been up to. Ian’s seven years younger than me, and as a child I looked after him while my mum and nan went to work, to keep the proverbial wolf from the door. Recently he married a lovely young woman named Claire, almost twenty years younger than him, and they’ve settled and had two children, George and Rosa.

So there I am, on the phone, asking my brother, “How are you? How’s things?” And he answers, “I was great up ‘til five minutes back. I’ve just heard. Claire and the kids have been involved in a car crash.”

While Ian works in London, Claire and he are based in Norwich, where – even as all this was happening – they were supposed to be moving to, having sold their flat in London to buy a much bigger house near Norwich.

Over the next few hours further news came in. Things could not have been much worse. We learned that a big estate car had crossed the road and hit Claire’s car head on, trapping her in the car, from which the fire brigade had had to cut her out. The kids – just picked up from nursery, ten minutes earlier, sustained far smaller injuries, but they were shook up and frightened. They were taken off to hospital even as the fire brigade did their best. Claire’s mum, who lived five minutes’ walk away from where the accident took place, got a phone call and ran all the way to the site, where she was told it was eighty per cent likely Claire wouldn’t survive. Read the rest of this entry »

9 Comments, Written on March 18th, 2015 , News

Happy new year everybody! Yes, I’m still here (and I hope you are, too). I haven’t heard from David since September, but I trust that all is well and that he’s keeping busy with writing.

Amazon UK has Roads to Moscow, Book 2: The Ocean of Time available for pre-order with a stated release date of March 26 – right around the corner!

Here’s the cover (click the image for hi-res version):

There’s also some additional info over at the Random House page for the book.

I’ll post any new news as it comes in… (and if anybody knows of anything I’m missing, please fill us in!)

9 Comments, Written on January 7th, 2015 , News

David’s sent along some updates, including some upcoming projects. Wishing him a happy birthday! Full text after the break.

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It’s been busy here in North London these past few days, but nothing to do with writing. Monday last was my sixtieth birthday – and yes, I was surprised, too! – and we all enjoyed celebrating it. I saw a lot of old friends and was given some wonderful presents – including (from, my darling Susan) a one week holiday on my favourite Greek island, Poros, which we’re off on in a week or so’s time. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Comments, Written on September 3rd, 2014 , Goodies, News

…and a quick response from David to all the Gaza talk going on in the comments from Blood On The Rooftops.

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Gabe, I’m sorry. It was totally remiss of me not to comment on Hamas, and to assume that you (out there on the web) should know what I think of terrorism. Living in London in the seventies and eighties, I grew up in a society that feared going out socially – visiting city centre pubs, for instance – because we were likely to be blown to bits by IRA bombs.  All we learned from that was that terrorism achieves nothing.

Put simply, I have no time for Hamas. However, what I think or feel about Hamas does not stop young Arab men from joining the ‘cause’.  Quite the opposite, in fact. What Israel are doing in Gaza is making it easier for Hamas to recruit more and yet willing young men. Martyrs to the cause. Just as the IRA did during the Troubles.

A hard line is not what is called for here. Like Kaneda, I really do think that a policy of restraint would achieve far more for Israel. It would get the western world on its side, for a start. But things will never change if current policies are maintained. They will just escalate, year by year. Added to which, the provocative measure of taking over Palestinian land and building new settlements really, really does not help.

Reading through Kaneda’s comments, I cannot but agree with him. I’m sorry, Gabe, but I think Netanyahu’s got it wrong. That said, it’s no excuse for some of the anti-semitic behaviour that has broken out. A bit of reasoned thought is what we need, and a lot more understanding… of both sides of this argument.

That’s it for now.

David  22 August 2014

7 Comments, Written on August 22nd, 2014 , Goodies

Content ©2011-2012 Of Gifts and Stones — The Chung Kuo Fansite
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Wang An-feng stood there, looking out across the barren surface towards the earth, which rested low in the sky. Behind her, its dome-like skeletal form only faintly drawn in the darkness, was the massive frame of Tai Huo, the new city they were building.

It had been a long day. Things were happening. Even as she stood there, things were changing. At least, that was what she’d heard. The colonists had had enough. Now they were wresting the power from the hands of those who, like Fan Fa-liang, were not Mars born, but servants of the seven great Lords, back on Chung Kuo. Making Mars their own. Throwing off the shackles of the last eighty years.

If rumour could be trusted, Governor Fan was already dead, shot through the helmet by one of his own bodyguards while visiting the new oxygen-generation plant up in Biblis Patera. Whether it were true or not, it was significant that there even was a rumour. Mars had always been tightly governed. Treated more like a prison camp than the new frontier.

Yes, and if anyone knew the truth of that, it was Wang An-feng, for she had been here almost fifty years now. Part of the second wave that had turned a base camp into a Colony. One of the ‘Old Hundred’ who had crossed the dark of space to come to this desolate place. Perhaps the last of them.

Those had been hard times. Of the hundred who had come, only thirty were alive ten years later.

She glanced at the display lozenge at her wrist. Ninety eight and falling. She would need to get inside real soon, or freeze to death out here, among the red sands. Besides, Kan Jiang would be waiting for her. Worrying about her safety.

Wang An-feng took one long, last look at it, the longing she always felt undiminished. Earthlight. How beautiful it was.

Download Earthlight, a brand new short story in the Chung Kuo universe.