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Out with the old: A while back, I wrote about Kowloon Walled City, an area of Hong Kong, now demolished, that was seemingly a hotbed for lawlessness, chaos, and corruption. It turns out, this site’s forum was turning into its own kind of Kowloon Walled City, filled with spambots trying to take over, with 20,000+ spam posts in some areas. They’re smarter than captchas and other anti-spam measures, and when this site’s host, GoDaddy, issued a warning that they would take punitive measures since the forum database had reached 4 gigs of data (an insane number for a text-based forum), it became apparent that, just like Kowloon Walled City, the authorities (me) would have to bulldoze it. You’ll see the forum link is no longer there, and I sincerely apologize that the records of some interesting and thought-provoking conversations are now lost to the ether. I will be investigating a more sustainable forum solution, as I don’t want that part of our community to disappear forever – suggestions are welcome from those with experience in the area.

In with the new: Some exciting news on the Roads to Moscow front. Here’s the final cover for Book 1: The Empire of Time, complete with tagline: “In a war across millennia, history will be rewritten…”

Click the image for full-size.

The image should be live on the listing within the week, where, by the way you can pre-order the book (in Kindle or paperback versions), which will be released on April 3, 2014.

Written on January 29th, 2014 , News, Roads to Moscow

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    Goonda commented

    Has all the forum data been permanently deleted?

    It was a phpBB based forum, correct? I’ve managed a few phpBB forums in the past, and spam is always a problem. A regularly changed Q&A CAPTCHA should be effective for the vast majority of cases, but it really all comes down to moderation. If you’d like a hand with this, I might be of some use.

    January 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm
      Matt commented

      Yes, the forum data is gone, unfortunately. It was phpBB based, but I’m hoping for another solution that isn’t as vulnerable. I’m even thinking maybe a Chung Kuo subreddit, so that administrative headaches can be taken off my plate. Thoughts?

      January 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm
        Goonda commented

        I mostly have experience with phpBB, so if you are looking to move beyond that then I don’t know how much help I could be (other than offering to help moderate). Some other ones I have limited experience with include IP.board, vBulletin, and Simple Machines Forum. But if I was building a site, I’d go straight to phpBB without a second thought.

        As for spam vulnerabilities, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find anything significantly better than phpBB. There are some settings and a whole host of plug-ins available that add additional levels of user/post verification. These ought to be able to catch 95-99% of spam without it ever hitting the board, and diligent moderation taking care of the occasional one that slips through.

        February 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm
    Goonda commented

    Do we know if/when advance copies of The Empire of Time will be sent out? I’m curious when we should start watching for reviews.

    January 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm
      Matt commented

      Hopefully soon…

      January 30, 2014 at 5:59 pm
    luke commented

    As Always thanks for your efforts
    I do hope some good news from David

    January 30, 2014 at 4:14 am
    adrian commented

    Hi Matt,
    Have you had any news about Corus not publishing any further Chung Kuo books? Has David sorted something out? I hope so.
    Looking forward to Roads to Moscow!

    January 31, 2014 at 12:21 am
      Matt commented

      Haven’t heard a thing, and still hoping for the best.

      February 2, 2014 at 5:04 am
    Jesse commented

    Hi Matt, Happy New Year, and wish the same to David for us.
    Awaiting with excitement this new series. Please let us know of any updates regarding Chung Kuo’s status. Needless to say the fans are rather upset about David’s magnum opus being cancelled a second time.

    February 1, 2014 at 7:26 am
    Jesse commented

    Jesse commented

    (whoops, posted in the wrong update)

    Yeah, those spamorrists were destroying the forum. Looking forward to a new one; forums are the pulsating life’s blood of site popularity and traffic.
    Who knows? Maybe with the new forum we can get visits from the Great One himself 😀

    February 1, 2014 at 7:36 am
      Brad commented

      Any word on a US release for this? I guess I’ll have to import the trade version if there’s going to be a long delay like there is with Chung Kuo.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:39 pm
        Matt commented

        Random House/Del Rey has only picked it up for the UK market as far as I know. You’ll have to do the ol’ route.

        February 7, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Content ©2011-2012 Of Gifts and Stones — The Chung Kuo Fansite
Don't forget to visit the Official Chung Kuo Website here.

Wang An-feng stood there, looking out across the barren surface towards the earth, which rested low in the sky. Behind her, its dome-like skeletal form only faintly drawn in the darkness, was the massive frame of Tai Huo, the new city they were building.

It had been a long day. Things were happening. Even as she stood there, things were changing. At least, that was what she’d heard. The colonists had had enough. Now they were wresting the power from the hands of those who, like Fan Fa-liang, were not Mars born, but servants of the seven great Lords, back on Chung Kuo. Making Mars their own. Throwing off the shackles of the last eighty years.

If rumour could be trusted, Governor Fan was already dead, shot through the helmet by one of his own bodyguards while visiting the new oxygen-generation plant up in Biblis Patera. Whether it were true or not, it was significant that there even was a rumour. Mars had always been tightly governed. Treated more like a prison camp than the new frontier.

Yes, and if anyone knew the truth of that, it was Wang An-feng, for she had been here almost fifty years now. Part of the second wave that had turned a base camp into a Colony. One of the ‘Old Hundred’ who had crossed the dark of space to come to this desolate place. Perhaps the last of them.

Those had been hard times. Of the hundred who had come, only thirty were alive ten years later.

She glanced at the display lozenge at her wrist. Ninety eight and falling. She would need to get inside real soon, or freeze to death out here, among the red sands. Besides, Kan Jiang would be waiting for her. Worrying about her safety.

Wang An-feng took one long, last look at it, the longing she always felt undiminished. Earthlight. How beautiful it was.

Download Earthlight, a brand new short story in the Chung Kuo universe.