The Art of Chung Kuo

Like many of you, I’m also patiently waiting on the Kindle version of Chung Kuo Book 10: The Stone Within. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some details from another book: Transluminal: The Art of Jim Burns.

Jim Burns is widely known as one of the most prolific and influential science fiction book artists, and he has long been involved in the Chung Kuo series. If you’re a reader or collector of the original books, you’ve certainly seen his cover art on several issues; if you’re reading the new Fragile Books releases, you’ve seen the dragon ouroboros imagery that adorns each cover.

Transluminal, published in 2000, is one of a couple books of Jim Burns’s art and the volume that covers the art of the original Chung Kuo novels. In addition to the cover images, the book also includes narrative accounts of Burns’s experience with the source material and his thought process as he created each piece. The section on Chung Kuo art is several pages long and his write-up on the pieces is fascinating. For example, he discusses the shuttle in the background of the original cover for The Stone Within (book 4 in the classic sequence):

We are told that the technology of the time (about 200 years into the future) is essentially American-derived stuff and one gets the impression that technology progress has in some ways slowed down. So I wanted the shuttle in the background to look like a fairly near-future development of the kind of design-thinking we have now…

Transluminal is a great conversation-starter and coffee table book, and it’s a nice glimpse in the history of classic Chung Kuo. It looks like there are plenty of copies floating around if you’re interested in a companion to your CK novels.

Jim Burns’s portrayal of Fei Yen with the City in the distance, also featured in Transluminal

Publication Day: The Stone Within (CK Book 10)

The Stone Within, Book 10 of the Fragile Books re-publication of the Chung Kuo series, is finally published today…  sort of.

Prior to today, it was not available for pre-order or even appearing on any bookstore’s site in either the UK or the US, leaving some of us worried about the volume’s fate. Currently, it’s on the Amazon UK site (not the US, for those of us stateside), but it’s showing as out of stock. A Kindle version is not yet available, either.

Hopefully this will change soon as Amazon receives copies and makes an e-book version available. More news as it comes.

Publication date announced for The Stone Within

Mr. Wingrove has announced a publication date for Chung Kuo book 10: The Stone Within on his social media: September 20, 2018. Just a little over a month away!

It’s not appearing yet for pre-order on Amazon USA or UK, but I suspect it will soon enough.

It seems as though many of you, based on the comments on the last post, are planning on waiting until all 20 are out before collecting a set. It’s an understandable position – we’ve been burned by publishers a few times now. Personally, I think it’s important to show support by picking up each book as it comes out; I don’t think I have to spell out the logic of what could happen if everybody held off on buying.

On a personal note, I just returned from a two-week vacation in the UK (I’m US-based, if you hadn’t picked up on that already). I was pleased to see this in Forbidden Planet:

More news as it comes in (if a day or two late…).

The Stone Within to be published this year

It’s been fairly quiet on the Chung Kuo front these last few months, but Mr. Wingrove has announced on his Facebook page that Book 10: The Stone Within will be published within the year with the exact date to be known hopefully soon. Following the cover art style from the first nine books in the Fragile Books re-release, here’s the ouroboros-themed cover for the volume (click for full size).

Personally, I’ve recently started a re-read of the Chung Kuo saga. This will be my third time on this journey and I’m currently on Book 3: The Middle Kingdom. Part of this is me missing the story and involvement with this site; another part of it is just procrastinating on my PhD dissertation.

Anyone else out there doing another read-through? Feel free to drop a line below.

Reminder: Monsters of the Deep Signing

Just a quick reminder that Chung Kuo Book 9: Monsters of the Deep will be released by Fragile Books on October 19 – one month’s time. David Wingrove will be signing copies that day at Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue from 6-7pm. That’s in London, I think. I don’t know, I live in Miami, where we get hurricanes. Anyhow, if anyone can send along a report or some pictures, that would be great!

Wingrove on the Passing of Brian Aldiss

David Wingrove was interviewed today on BBC Radio 4 program “Last Word” on the death of his friend and co-author, Brian Aldiss. Skip to 13:30 for the segment on Aldiss.

David also posted on Facebook earlier this week go about Aldiss’s passing.

I’ve had Finches of Mars, one of his last books, next to my bed for several months now, one of many books in a pile I’ve wanted to get through. I’ll have to make finishing it, and getting to others of his, a priority.

Monsters of the Deep release event

Mr. Wingrove has announced, via his Facebook page, that Chung Kuo book 9: Monsters of the Deep will be released on Thursday, October 19. He’ll be signing autographs that day from 6-7pm at Forbidden Planet in London.

Unfortunately, it’s an ocean away for me, so I won’t be able to attend, but if someone can go and share some pics, that would be terrific.

Also, here’s the finalized cover for Monsters:

Thanks to Jewell for beating me to this news via a comment!

 

Making Room

Moments ago, a box containing the first eight books of the Chung Kuo re-re-launch arrived at my doorstep, courtesy of Fragile Media’s Susan Oudot, each containing a kind inscription from the man himself. The books are beautiful — far nicer in person than in any picture. My wife, who is away at a work conference for the week, will likely be none too pleased to return and find that I’ve relocated a picture of the two of us to make room on the Chung Kuo bookshelf in our small library. Yes, the guy who runs the fan blog has a Chung Kuo bookshelf.

Seeing the books in print again, now with a renewed confidence that this time we’ll be able to see things to their proper conclusion under the wing of Fragile Books, is a wonderful feeling.

Chung Kuo launch updates

I just returned late last night from a terrific three-week trek through Asia and I’m exhausted. But, it liooks like a lot happened in my absence, so let’s get through some big updates.

As I believe everyone knows, on June 22, the first eight books of Chung Kuo re-launched under David Wingrove and Susan Oudot’s Fragile Books banner. Susan was kind enough to send along a quick rundown of the launch event that took place that night at Waterstones in Islington along with some photos.

On a sweltering summer’s evening the great and the good gathered at Waterstones bookshop in Islington, north London for the re-launch of CHUNG KUO. David’s new publishing company, Fragile Books, had the prosecco flowing and appropriately-themed Chinese nibbles on offer (along with the obligatory fortune cookies, of course). Among the guests were fantasy author, Michael Cobley, several writers on the world’s longest-running soap opera, Coronation Street, and tv and film star, Rupert Graves (Sherlock, amongst other things). As David’s wife Susan Oudot – Publishing Director of the new venture – said in her speech “It’s a good feeling to know that finally we have control.” Onward and upward.

Next, David Wingrove’s long awaited official page has finally launched (davidwingrove.com) and is definitely worth checking out. There’s info there about Chung Kuo, Roads to Moscow, and Myst, as well as a new blog. I do want to note that there being an official site doesn’t change the fan-based mission of this site. As always, if there’s anything anyone would like to contribute here, please drop me a line. One of these days I’ll get some forums back up and running.

Also worth noting is that Mr. Wingrove is now active on three social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and now, even Instagram.

Lastly, while the first eight books of the Chung Kuo re-release are available through the usual channels like Amazon UK, the books are also available at a discount directly from Fragile Books, including to US-based readers.

Susan sends along this note:

Fragile Books are selling directly to fans in the US. If you’re interested in ordering any of the first eight titles, or the complete set at a reduced price, contact David via his Facebook page:  David Wingrove. Or write to the publisher at info@fragilemedialtd.com  Payment is via Paypal.

A Facebook post also indicates that signed copies are available, too (thanks to Goonda for pointing this out during my absence).

 

Exciting times, indeed. I believe that’s it for now. More news to be posted as it comes in. Many thanks to David and Susan for everything they’ve done for fan outreach, through this site and their own channels.

Chung Kuo: The Return (again)

Greetings from the past! I’ve jumped in from June 10 via Four-Oh. Tonight, Mrs. Ofgiftsandstones and I are traveling to Asia: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo for a much needed holiday. I won’t have easy access to a computer, so I’m pre-scheduling this post to remind all loyal Chung Kuo fans that the re-re-issue is out today! Take a look at Amazon UK!

As of June 10, it looks like the first 8 books have a release date of June 22, so hopefully all those editions are up for grabs today.

Leave any thoughts in the comments below (although I’ll be a little slow to respond for a week or two).