On Catching Breath

David chimes in with some more updates and clarifications. Big thanks to him, as always, for keeping us in the loop!



Hi one and all,

I thought I should clarify on certain points. So let me add to what I said a few days back –

1. It’s important to emphasise that getting control back over Chung Kuo means the whole of Chung Kuo, not just English language editions, but throughout the world. First time around, back in the late eighties, early nineties, this involved Chung Kuo having fifteen overseas editions (apart from British and Commonwealth, USA, and Canadian rights. With Corvus, the only deals they got were for Turkey and Indonesia. Added to that I personally obtained a French edition through L’Atalante (which covers the opening 8 volumes). Oh, and I’ve never seen a copy of either the new Turkish or Indonesian editions. What having control means in this instance is being able to take the new format versions to the London Book Fair next year and stir up interest. We may even get a stall, to promote Chung Kuo. This ought – we hope – to get the series out there – in the clear view of foreign publishers.

  1. Reversion – Okay, but why not a new publisher? Hodder, perhaps, or Head of Zeus, both of whose Senior Editors were once great champions of Chung Kuo? My answer – because once more we would be losing the most important element in a project this large – control. Even with the best of intentions and the very best of editors, Chung Kuo has stumbled and fallen twice. That’s not going to happen again. This time we do it and we do it right. And backing me up in this endeavour will be my wife, Susan and my daughter Amy, who, incidentally, writes a mean fantasy novel, as you’ll discover in the next year or two. Oh, and please note that Fragile Books is owned and run jointly by Sue and I. Also that – for starters – we’ll be issuing new e-book versions, and, not too much later, print on demand versions. But eventually the aim is to get the physical books into the bookshops – something Corvus failed to do.
  1. Re-launch. Crucially important as once more it means ‘control’. It also means that I can keep that promise I made back in 2011 that the sequence would be completed with a brand new four volume finale that addresses all of those matters my critics – back in 1997 – raised. And there’s a big bonus for those of you who’ve been patient – some complete non-Chung Kuo never-before-published science fiction novels – THE BEAST WITH TWO BACKS – about two psychopathic and telepathic twins, IMAGINE A MAN – about memory and love, and THE WOUNDED, a 60,000 word space opera. They’re good books, all of them, and if they go well, I might even release – for the real die-hards – A PERFECT ART and SPRING DAY AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD – two early versions of CHUNG KUO, when it was still a single novel project. Before I wrote the 750,000 word version which was subsequently carved up into CHUNG KUO.
  1. Not included in Matt’s summary – and sitting alongside his newly re-vamped site – there’s the new website, which will relate not merely to the Chung Kuo series but to ROADS TO MOSCOW and MYST. There will also be a regular update, with extensive blogs and reviews of other sf novelists. In which vein I ought to mention that I’ve signed on to write an introduction to a new special boxed set edition of CHILDREN OF DUNE which will be out at the end of next year.
  1. The possible TV deal. This includes a possible franchise and all manner of spin-offs – audio books, computer games, comic books, graphic novels and possible stand-alone movies of SON OF HEAVEN and DAYLIGHT ON IRON MOUNTAIN, neither of which (as it’s currently planned) will be included in the TV version. But it’s crucial to state that even if Chung Kuo doesn’t come off as a TV series, it WILL get published through to the final volume, the final sentence. You see, control is the key to all of this. We have the resources to do this, all that’s needed is the sheer will to see it through to the end. Oh, and I ought also to mention that one of those four ‘finale’ books is already written. It just needs a good polish.

That’s it for now, guys. More in a week or so, when we’re back from Lanzarotte.

David Wingrove   29th October 2016

PS – Jim Burns is an old friend of mine from way back (the seventies) and he did the American versions first time round. He’s agreed to help us get this rolling, but I emphasise, Jim isn’t doing big illustrated covers like last time, He’s providing us with a central logo for the new launch. Oh, and just to clarify, I consider Jim the finest science fiction artist in the world and am honoured to be working with him, in whatever capacity.

9 thoughts on “On Catching Breath”

  1. And once again, more great news!

    All of the new content is going to be great. I’m especially looking forward to the reviews of SF books that you plan to publish on the new website.

    Great to hear that the prequels (Son of Heaven, Daylight on Iron Mountain) are being treated differently than the rest of the series. I think they would be great as either movies or a mini-series.

    And I didn’t realize that Jim Burns did the original American cover art for Chung Kuo, but it all makes sense. That original logo on the American books is still the main symbol of the series to me. As an extension of that, I would love to see an article on all of the various art and cover designs that have been done for the series over the years, including all of the foreign printings.

  2. Glad to hear the news…for so long I’d pop onto this site hoping for some news on the series and had almost given up.

    It was only the fact that the books (original 8 plus the new prequels and re-writes/edits) were sitting there, in pride of place on my bookshelves alongside Frank Herbert, Orson Scott Card, Heinlein, Asimov, Peter F Hamilton and so on (the company Wingrove deserves to be in), reminding me on to check, that I did…

    Leading me to these great announcements!

    Hope it all comes to fruition…quickly please !!

    As a fan of physical novels I hope the self publishing aspect in particular comes off. E-books are great but they don’t beat an old fashioned paperback novel…

    Ps TV series…decent budget, actors and producers (etc)…YES YES YES!!

  3. I’ll be honest, I’m not really too fussed about the possible TV series or films. I just want the books (the extra ones and all), but I did notice computer games get mentioned as something that could happen. As a keen gamer myself I think something in the mould of Final Fantasy would be ace for Chung Kuo. Now THAT I would love to see.

    Anyway, thanks for the updates, it’s all very exciting news. Glad to see control has been wrested back to where it should be.

    I’ve supported Chung Kuo from the very moment I picked up The Middle Kingdom and read the first few paragraphs in my local library all those years, and I will continue to do so to the very end.

    All the best.

  4. Thanks Matt (and David!) for the updates. Wow. Truly excellent news all round. I’m really interested in the other novels coming that are not CK related – especially the space opera. But first, I need to experience the remaining adventures of Otto.

  5. Man, I’m so excited to hear that David got the rights back and finally the whole revised sequence will be out.

    Not so excited about new covers… but I’ll look on the positive side, at least I’ll have the Corvus ones, which will probably be rare eventually.

    I think a TV series of Chung Kuo would be fantastic, looking forward to whatever develops from that.

  6. Considering David’s mention of his upcoming work on the new edition of Children of Dune, here is some tangentially connected science fiction news:

    Legendary Pictures has acquired the film and TV rights to the Dune series.

    A well developed Dune media franchise would be a great thing for the sci-fi world. As they say: a rising tide lifts all boats. Anything that increases investment in the sci-fi genre would hopefully also improve the chances of a Chung Kuo media franchise getting off the ground.

  7. yay! I also pop in here every once in a blue moon praying for a new update. Now I see a flood of posts as reward for everybody’s patience.

    Eagerly awaiting for new books to arrive and a potentially groundbreaking new TV/film series to look forward to…. Congratulations!

  8. OMG !!!

    Finally some great progress, it shows all good things come to those that wait. I did nip on to Amazon tonight to buy The Broken Wheel, but couldn’t find a kindle version, so thought to check here. Once again fantastic news.

    Maybe, just maybe David Gerrold will finally release A Method For Madness, that’s only had a 24 year gap since book 4!!!

  9. A TV adaptation of Chung Kuo? The whole kit and caboodle? Yes, please? I can’t begin to articulate how much I hope this happens!

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