Why China?

I think the title of this piece itself up quite nicely! This is Mr. Wingrove’s answer to that question, five years into the publication of the original series. I think his points are even more valid now than then.

This is, as of now, the last entry that I have to add to The Vault.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to dig up some more in the future to add to the mix, but for the time being, this is it, folks!

Full text of Why China? after the break…

Continue reading Why China?

Aiya, the spam!

This is (almost) completely unrelated to Chung Kuo, but I wanted to mention the spam issue on the site and forums. Not too long after this site went live back in early February, it started seeing the occasional spam comment, which would usually be something to the effect of “Wow your site is so great lol I never thought about it you make a good point click here” and I’d have to go in and manually clear all that out.

Then, after The Forums opened, the nonsense really started to fly. Every day, I had to go remove spam posts, oftentimes in other languages and in attempts to sell totally random crap like automobile parts. I tried banning the IPs that these spammers were coming from. No help. Then, I tried several types of captchas during (the squiggly letters that supposedly aren’t machine readable) during the registration process. That didn’t work either.

BUT… it’s now been a few weeks since there’s been any spam anywhere on the site. This is what finally did the trick:

  • On the blog (WordPress): Akismet. Akismet catches the spam comments before they post and relegates them to a reviewable spam folder in the WordPress admin panel. It works perfectly. The downside is, for a small non-personal blog (like this one), it’s $5 a month. One one hand, that adds up a little over the course of the year, but on the other hand, I just spent more than that at Taco Bell. It’s worth the money.
  • One the boards (phpBB): Q&A. Any newly registering user has to answer a simple query (of my choosing) that can’t be machine-answered and isn’t easily parsed from Google search results. The answer to the question will easily be known to anyone who’s ever picked up a Chung Kuo book, new or old. It’s so much simpler than graphic captchas, but somehow so much more effective. Since this has gone live, not a single fake registration (or spam post) has shown up.

So, in the event that you’re starting your own blog or forum, I highly recommend that you check these out. On the flipside, if you’re having issues here (comments on blog posts not showing up or unable to register for the boards), hit me up at ofgiftsandstones <[at]> gmail.com so that I can figure it out.

Zaijian for now!

A World Of One’s Own

This entry into The Vault is Mr. Wingrove’s is about the concept of world-building as it relates to the history of science fiction and where Chung Kuo fits into that scheme. It’s worth noting that Wingrove co–authored the Hugo-winning book The Trillion Year Spree, a history of science fiction, so he knows his stuff. Full text after the break.

Continue reading A World Of One’s Own

EXCLUSIVE: The Wounded (Teaser)

I’ve managed to have a teaser section for The Wounded, a 60,000-word novella by David Wingrove, fall right into my lap. Although not part of the Chung Kuo universe, I know some of us  have been looking for stuff to read between novels. This teaser is the first scene of the story, which I understand might be a part of something bigger in the future. Enjoy! Full text of the teaser after the break…

Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: The Wounded (Teaser)

Of Games and Thrones and Things

This blog post was kindly sent over by the man himself, as the official website is undergoing some reconstruction for the next 6-8 weeks. Thanks David!


Of Games and Thrones and Things

Okay. I ought to be mad or jealous to the point of being vengeful, or something equally apt, but try as I will, I can’t help thinking that George R R Martin’s A GAME OF THRONES is A-1 bloody superb, even if it has knocked me off the number one spot in Amazon’s SF kindle bestseller ratings. I mean, how could I not love such a dark and yet magnificent portrait of a world, not to speak of all its different shades of characters, from Ned, Lord of Winterfell, through Jon Snow and Dany and the Imp, Tyrion Lannister, my favourite.

What a masterful work this is, both on the page and on the small screen. I’ve been enjoying noting the differences between the two versions. Oh, and it’s so nice to have something adult on our screens. Something that – like CHUNG KUO I hope – shows human life in all its breadth and complexity.

King Tolkien is dead! Hail to King Martin!

And before you ask, I’ve set aside Robert Jordan for a time – 438 pages into book six, LORD OF CHAOS. I’ll finish it, I promise – I’m still very fond of the characters and the scenario, even if the pace has slowed to a crawl. Yes and I’ll continue to give a commentary on it as I do, but it’s going to have to share my attentions henceforth with the Song of Ice and Fire.

And while we’re at it, has anyone noticed that spooky similarity? The fact that one of my books is called (and was always called, even back in 1989, when it first appeared – at least, for the German, Japanese and Polish versions), ICE AND FIRE – a good seven years before George RR Martin used it. I think Martin’s use of it is more telling than mine – with Winter coming, a la Helliconia, to his seven kingdoms.

Anyway, I shall be tuning in again this coming Monday evening, for episode four. As one epic writer to another, let me say, Well done, George R R. May you reap the just rewards of your labours.

David Wingrove – 7 May 2011

The Chung Kuo Wiki

When forum contributor Apikoros18 suggested something that I had just recently thought of — creating a Chung Kuo wiki site — I figured it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

In case you aren’t aware, a wiki is a collaborative content system that typically allows anyone to edit any page. Wikipedia is the most common example, and hopefully you have used or seen Wikipedia (unless you live under a rock. A rock in space. A rock in space twenty years ago).

The idea behind The Chung Kuo Wiki is that it’ll be a compendium of Chung Kuo knowledge: details about all the books and characters. A not-too-shabby model would be Memory Alpha, a wiki site for all things Star Trek. You like Star Trek, right?

As of this writing, there are only two pages that I put up, mainly just to make sure it worked. It’s almost empty. It’s up to you (and me, and him, and her) to get it up to where it needs to be.

So without further ado, head on over to The Chung Kuo Wiki and let’s get some content up!