Some weirdness on the Chung Kuo front to report just one day after the official release of the e-book.
First, it looks like the official site is down. Not sure how long it’s been down — I, like probably most folks, don’t check it too often since there hasn’t been any new material there since around the time Daylight was published — but it’s been long enough for Google to have removed it from their search results. A ping to the site revealed a SERVFAIL error, indicating that the domain exists but the nameservers aren’t returning valid web servers. A whois lookup shows that the domain was updated on September 24th; perhaps the domain was renewed but somebody forgot to renew a hosting plan. In any event, I would chalk this up to purely technical issues and not take this as an indication of hard times with the series.
Next, although the Amazon.com title of the Kindle book was fixed to be”Chung Kuo” instead of “Chung Kao,” it looks like the e-book itself still reflects this error in the header. Oops!
On top of that, the very first review for The Middle Kingdom on Amazon gave the book one measly star, complaining that he was missing the first twenty-five chapters of the book, failing to realize that the chapters and parts are numbered sequentially, beginning with Son of Heaven and continuing through Daylight on Iron Mountain and The Middle Kingdom. Did he not notice that Daylight started with Part 4/Chapter 12?
I can totally understand being thrown off at first by opening to Chapter 26 — I even had a momentary “huh?” moment, but you’d think Mr. COUNTERTERRORISM Inc. (whose other review is for a bunny fun tunnel… maybe a counterterrorist bunny fun tunnel?) would’ve done his due diligence by checking to see if Daylight ended with Chapter 25 before single-handedly sinking the average review of this book. And if Mr. COUNTERTERRORISM Inc. happens to be a reader of this site, well, I’m sorry to put you on blast like this, but you’re ruining it for everyone. Let me explain.
Folks, it comes down to this. Chung Kuo is a masterpiece that didn’t get a fair shake the first time around. We’re all extraordinarily lucky that this epic has been given a new lease at life, but fans have to realize that Atlantic/Corvus is a smaller, independent publisher, not a megacorporation media conglomerate like Random House or Penguin, not to mention that an epic science fiction future history series is already starting off with a niche audience. This series is going live or die based on coverage in industry press, word of mouth, and — you guessed it — reader reviews on sites like Amazon. I can’t help but wonder how many people skipped buying the e-book on Day 1 because of this guy’s misinformation. So please, from a diehard fan who wants to see this through The Marriage of the Living Dark and beyond, I ask you to enjoy and finish The Middle Kingdom and write an honest review on Amazon and other applicable sites. No one’s demanding that you love it or forcing you to give it five stars, but at least contribute your honest thoughts and try to drown out this and any other misinformation that may come up.
In other, slightly happier news, I’ve updated the New to Chung Kuo? and About sections of this site, since they really hadn’t been updated since Son of Heaven and there were a few things to add and/or clarify. Also, work continues on the wiki, where a list of the planned “Expanded Universe” stories has been added to the main page, with David’s synopses soon to follow on those articles. As always, everyone is welcome to contribute to the wiki, whether its creating all-new articles or just fixing typos. Every little bit helps.
And lastly, why the hell are you reading this?? Go read The Middle Kingdom!