Of Lemmings and Blogs

The official Chung Kuo website, it seems, is a vast cliff, and each one of Mr. Wingrove’s insightful blog updates are like lemmings: doomed to eventually follow their brethren off the edge to their deaths, never to been seen or heard from again. Actually, lemmings don’t do that – it’s a Disney-perpetuated myth – but the older entries on the official page have dropped off entirely. The staff here at the Of Gifts and Stones headquarters (ha!) feel that this valuable material shouldn’t go the way of the lemming, and like we’ve done with so much other material of Mr. Wingrove’s, we’re going preserve those entries here for posterity. Starting in the next day or two, expect to see the first of several of these classic posts. In the meantime, you’ve already got your fill of reading material at the official site with Mr. Wingrove posting a blog every day for the next 98 days – so check those out before the disappear off the edge as well!

Travels in the Domain

Another terrific blog-in-exile from Mr. Wingrove was just sent my way. This one deals with his relationship with fellow writer John Middleton Murry, Jr., and how that led to the eventual creation of The Domain, the home of Chung Kuo’s Shepherd family. This one feels particularly personal, and, as always, I’m grateful for the opportunity to host this material. Full text after the break.

PS – Might be some material here to throw fuel on the fire of the Jake Reed – Shepherd connection speculation

Continue reading Travels in the Domain

Last Saturday night…

At the urging of friends, I recently hosted at my house a screening of the film Hobo with a Shotgun, an homage to exploitation films of decades ago. It goes without saying that there may have been a tiny bit of alcohol involved at said get-together, and after the film was over and the lot of us mulled about afterwords, one friend, who was in town for the weekend from several states away, saw my copies of Myst: The Book of Atrus on the bookshelf and told me how much he’d enjoyed it ages ago, although he’d never finished the trilogy. Turns out we’d both been in grade school at the time and ordered the book from the same Scholastic book catalog that was often circulated to students.

In my slightly inebriated state, I excitedly lent him my three-in-one volume of Myst and the first book of Chung Kuo in hardcover, insisting that, of course, he’d love it. BUT… it turns out, in my drunken stupor, I’d shoved an old copy of The Middle Kingdom in his face, it completely slipping my mind that I should’ve given him Son of Heaven! I actually didn’t have a copy on hand to give him, since my only non-Limited Edition (not giving that one out) is already on loan (Rosa, any day now, I’d like it back). But the immense shame I felt, the following morning, knowing I may have started him out on the old path. Aiya!

So the moral of the lesson is: don’t lend out books in a compromised state. You might lend out the wrong one.

Now let’s see if this book actually makes its way back to me. You know what they say… don’t lend books you expect to be returned…

The Middle Kingdom cover art

Forum member Hunchback Jack has just posted a hi-res version of the cover art for the new series issuance of The Middle Kingdom, and the official website has a side-by-side of all three covers in sequence. Personally, I’m loving the designs and the continuity from novel to novel, but I’m not sure what do think of the depiction of Fei Yen on the third book’s cover. I always pictured her with finer features – more like Zhong Ziyi, I suppose.  

Have thoughts about the new cover? Share your comments. (Thanks Hunchback!)