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13 February 2017
Today is Maureen F. McHugh’s birthday. Nominated for an impressive sixty-one awards, she’s best-known for the extraordinary debut novel, China Mountain Zhang, which was shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula Awards and wonof the James Tiptree Memorial Award, the Locus Award for best first novel, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award and the Lambda Award. It is a stunning piece of science fiction.
‘I am Zhang, alone with my light, and in that light I think for a moment that I am free.’
Imagine a world where Chinese Marxism has vanquished the values of capitalism and Lenin is the prophet of choice. A cybernetic world where the new charioteers are flyers, human-powered kites dancing in the skies over New York in a brief grab at glory. A world where the opulence of Beijing marks a new cultural imperialism, as wealthy urbanites flirt with interactive death in illegal speakeasies, and where Arctic research stations and communes on Mars are haunted by their own fragile dangers.
A world of fear and hope, of global disaster and slow healing, where progress can only be found in the cracks of a crumbling hegemony. This is the world of Zhang. An anti-hero who’s still finding his way, treading a path through a totalitarian order – a path that just might make a difference.
Happy Birthday, Maureen!