China Mountain Zhang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
China Mountain Zhang
ChinaMountainZhang.jpg
Cover of 1993 Tor paperback edition
Author Maureen F. McHugh
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
March 1992
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback )
Pages 313 pp
ISBN 0-312-85271-1
OCLC 24670648
813/.54 20
LC Class PS3563.C3687 C48 1992

China Mountain Zhang is a 1992 novel by science fiction author Maureen F. McHugh. The novel is made up of several stories loosely intertwined.

Title[edit]

The novel's title derives from the name of the protagonist, a young gay man of mixed Chinese and Puerto Rican ancestry who goes by the name Rafael Zhang in non-Chinese contexts and Zhang Zhongshan in Chinese contexts. His Chinese given name, Zhongshan, is written with the characters with primary meanings "center" and "mountain"; the Mandarin name for China also begins with the character meaning "center" or "middle". Thus, "China Mountain" is an alternate reading of his Chinese given name. (Zhongshan is also one of the given names used by Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen.)

Plot summary[edit]

The main story involves a man's maturation in a future dominated by China, where the United States has undergone a Communist revolution (the "Cleansing Winds Campaign") after a period of economic crisis. His personal evolution is paralleled by four side stories in his narrative, following characters progressing from arrogant outsiders to finding a place in society. These stories never fully interconnect in the normal manner of a novel.

Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science[edit]

The backdrop is a 22nd-century in which the Chinese Communist regime dominates the world. The novel is slightly unusual for science fiction in that none of the characters cause any significant change in the world around them; nor does it use any standard science fiction tropes.[original research?]

The New York Times said of the book when it first appeared: "A first novel this good gives every reader a chance to share in the pleasure of discovery; to my mind, Ms. McHugh's achievement recalls the best work of Samuel R. Delany and Kim Stanley Robinson without being in the least derivative."[1]

Connections to other works[edit]

McHugh's short story "Protection" is set in the same future history as China Mountain Zhang, detailing the experiences of a petty criminal in a "Reform Through Labor" camp in Kansas under the future Communist system.

Awards and nominations[edit]

The novel was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel while also winning the Lambda Literary Award, the Locus Award for best first novel, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jones, Gerald (1992-03-15). "Science Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-05-25.