David’s sent along another update. Big thanks to him as always!



The last few days have seen some purposeful activity going on in this household. This has mainly involved a lot of physical clearing up and reorganising. The place was getting cluttered, to that stage where it was getting hard, once more, to find things. Now that’s been sorted, and both Sue and I can get on with what we’re best at… writing.

Sue’s been working on the usual stuff she does – which mainly involves writing and rewriting whatever TV scripts she’s been assigned to. She’s extraordinarily good at it, especially when it comes to capturing the voices of the various characters, and I have to say that one of her most recent episodes – screened Last Friday, the 17th – was the best she’s done yet. I’ve seen it a few times now – Coronation Street send out early copies on DVD for their writers to see – and I’d not change a word. It really flows, it’s extremely thoughtful and it’s moving, and you’d think you were watching some high class drama and not a soap.

She’s also been working on a few of her own projects – in what little time Corrie leaves her – and they too have something of her distinct style about them, being both funny and poignant at the same time. As you might guess, I’m a real fan of hers.

And me? Well, I’ve some material to add to Chung Kuo, Book Sixteen (DAYS OF BITTER STRENGTH). Two new plot lines that need to be introduced and worked through. I’d estimate another 40,000 words to be added, which will develop aspects of the story that need to be ‘seeded’ in that book so that I can use them in the finale – which encompasses the whole of the last four novels in the sequence. I’m not going to say what they are, because that’d spoil it for you, only that they’re there to broaden the story and to help create a much stronger ending. What I’m aiming for, I guess, is something that’ll not only involve the reader emotionally, but make them finish each volume of those last four on the edge of their seat and wondering what in God’s name is going to happen next.

And I’ll be doing something that I haven’t done since the mid-1990s, when I was working on MYST as well as CHUNG KUO, and that’s working on two very different projects at the same time, as I’m intending to get Book Three of ROADS TO MOSCOW tied up and ready for editing by the end of 2014. Which is no easy task, because each of those ROADS volumes is about 170,000 words… let’s say 450 pages when finally printed up.

I’ve also been reading stuff for the creative writing course I do, on science fiction, and am seriously considering writing a book on the topic. But as that’ll involve adding a lot more material (at least another 50 or 60,000 words) that won’t be a high priority. But I’d really love to do that, a year or so from now, and I know from experience that you need to put in the effort up front (especially the sheer volume of reading involved) before even attempting to write such a work. Especially because I want the book to be the best I could possibly produce on the subject – one that will be a life-changer for those who read it. Ambitious, huh? Maybe… but deeply satisfying, too. I love sharing my enthusiasm about the SF field, and am proud of being part of the great science fiction community, so this – like TRILLION YEAR SPREE – will hopefully be something I can equally be proud of.

Today is also the last day of the football season, and my local team (whom we support), Arsenal, are playing for a place in next year’s Champions League, and the game is on live, so we’ll be watching that as a family this afternoon. It’s one of those things that, unless you’re hooked on it, you can’t imagine how important it is. Life or death stuff. It certainly feels like it.

Oh, and I’ve also started re-reading Patrick O’Brian’s MASTER AND COMMANDER series… all nineteen volumes of it. I’m currently two-thirds of the way through Book Two, POST CAPTAIN, which is exceptionally good. As good, I’d say (and I know my stuff) as some of the real classics of literary fiction. I have to ration myself to two chapters a night, before I go to sleep, but I have to say it reads better second time round. Even more wonderful. It’s a real shame they only made one movie of it. Russell Crowe was brilliant as Jack Aubrey.
Okay. I might add to this later, after the game. But for now, Tsai Chien!

Black Stone, White

I’m pleased to present the second exclusive Chung Kuo short story sent by David Wingrove:  Black Stone, White. The special page will stay up for a week, but will always be accessible via the Pages side menu, like Paperhouse.

Thanks very much to David for sending. I get the sense that he’s eager to get this story out and to give fans this treat between books.

Read Black Stone, White now.

The Calm Before the Storm

David’s sent along a brief piece, but there are some big updates here – all good news. Big thanks to him, as always, for keeping the fans in the loop. And watch this space for his promised short story!





The weather here has been strange. A day’s bright summer , the air filled with birdsong, is followed immediately by a cold, windy day, the hours punctuated by spells of rain. Schizophrenic weather that makes no sense. In the midst of which I’ve been working, copy-editing Book Eight THE WHITE MOUNTAIN for publication later in the year, and putting a trimmed and edited version of Book Sixteen,  DAYS OF BITTER STRENGTH onto computer, having lost the original electronic version.  Add to that the fact that I’m just about to start the editing process on ROADS TO MOSCOW (mid June sometime) and you might imagine that I’m feeling somewhat harassed. But it ain’t so. I love writing. Love the physical work involved. I’m never happier (nor more distracted).

Sue and I went out last night, to a school ‘do’ over North London, with some old friends, one of whom used to be an international superstar… Paul Young. These days Paul has a country and western band, and to warm everyone up for that, they had… line-dancing. Now dancing of any kind is alien to my geeky nature, so line-dancing… well, it’s out on the edge of things as far as I’m concerned. That said, watching the hundred or so people out on that dance floor, my mind did its usual science fictional trick and did some imagining. I’ve got this whole storyline to write (for Book 18) about the war between the Chinese and the Americans . Well, sat there watching the dance, I imagined the evening before the great battle, the American forces massed, ready for a big push against the invaders. And, dressed up in their heavy armour, what do they do? Like the Midwest boys they are at heart… they line-dance. Imagine it. The way the ground would shudder beneath their weight. And yes, I’m gonna write that scene. And you heard it here first.

Lots of things are happening right now. French editions of Books 1 and 2 are out already, and L’Atalante, my French publishers, are aiming to get three more books – 3-5 – out by the year’s end. At the same time we’re trying to get a German edition, and… wait for it… we have four different LA-based film companies interested in turning CHUNG KUO into quality TV. Six weeks ago there were none, so I’d guess there’s a reason for the sudden interest, and one of these days I’ll find out… right now it’s just great to know they’re looking to do this.

Okay.  There’s a lot of Chinese money about, despite their mini-downturn, and now that Game of Thrones has proved itself, the TV guys are looking for something as dark… but in the science fiction vein this time round. Put those three elements together and CHUNG KUO seems ideal for their needs, don’t you think? Working through the copy edit of THE WHITE MOUNTAIN last week, I think that particular chunk of the work got my undivided attention when I wrote it. It flows. And there’s lots to keep the reader (not to say the writer) happy. It’d make great TV.

Oh, and a date for your diary. June 2014. That’s the present publication date for Book One of ROADS TO MOSCOW, which will now be called THE TREE OF WORLDS. Over the next few weeks we’ll be discussing covers, and hopefully announcing a few foreign sales. Fingers crossed. Meantime, even as Barnes & Noble stock copies of CHUNG KUO, we’ll be renewing our attempts to find an American home for the sequence. I plan to fly out to New York in a month or two to meet a few people and pitch the thing. So wish me luck. Oh and one last thing before I settle down to watch the FA Cup Final on TV. I may have said that I’ve written about a dozen Chung Kuo related stories. Well, I’ll be polishing one up this week and getting it to Matt to post on the fan site. Just to keep things ticking along.

All the best, guys!

David Wingrove    Saturday 11th May 2013

Where to buy Special Edition hardcovers

For those of you who are interested in maintaining a collection of the Special Edition hardcovers, reader Antonio has sent along a handy list of direct links:

The Special Editions can be ordered direct from Corvus here:

Son of Heaven:
Daylight on Iron Mountain:
Middle Kingdom:
Ice & Fire:
Art of War:

As more are released you will find them on the Corvus Atlantic Chung Kuo page:

Thanks Antonio!

As you probably know the Special Edition hardcovers are printed in extremely limited quantities and are signed and numbered by David Wingrove. They come in a black slipcase with an embossed Chung Kuo logo.