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Angeli di seta

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,560 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
Benvenuti nel mondo di Rafael 'Montagna cinese' Zhang, dove avamposti di ricerca si diffondono in un Canada indipendente ma fragile, o Pechino ospita opulenti bastioni del sapere mondiale accanto a locali illegali in cui ricchi e raffinati clienti giocano con la morte. Un mondo dove austere discipline accostano un'antica saggezza alla forza bruta dell'elettronica, mentre s ...more
Paperback, Solaria, #22, 340 pages
Published 2002 by Fanucci (first published March 1992)
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Lit Bug

In the 22nd century, China has replaced America as the world’s dominant political, economic and cultural capital, following a political revolution in America that has displaced its capitalistic economy and brought in an era of socialism.

It is an immensely well-imagined and portrayed account of a plausible future where China takes precedence over the States – the latter becomes akin to a third-world dump following a financial crisis, while China rises in economic importance, and consequentl
Zachary Jernigan
For various reasons, I went into this book expecting a degree of coldness in the narrative. I expected pessimism and a post-cyberpunky, purposeful lack of self-awareness in the narrators. Even halfway through it, I expected to be hurt by events.

And don't get me wrong. There is a lot to hurt the reader in here. There is, point in fact, a scene that caused me to put the book down, close my eyes, and breathe deeply for a moment to gather myself, to remind myself that it was fiction.

Still, in the en
***WARNING*** This is a reading journal rather than a review, so it will be riddled with unmarked spoilers. You have been warned.

China Mountain -- Zhang:- So far, Zhang is nothing like I expected, neither the character nor the book. I expected a cyber-punky action thriller, and it may still become that, but this first chapter offers no signs that a change is going to come. At this point it is a study of two characters: Zhang and San-xiang; the former is our gay half-ABC (American Born Chinese)
Aug 15, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scifi fans
I feel pretty confident in saying that this is the best book you've never read. I had the joy of discovering this book when it first came out, almost a decade and a half later, I still feel it is one of the best SF novels I've ever read. The novel is made up of several stories loosely intertwined.

McHugh draws upon her experiences living in China to craft future in which China has become the dominant power, and America has been reduced to a third-world country controlled by China. Chinese-born Ch
Nov 24, 2013 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dystopia fans
China Mountain Zhang is an impressive work, well deserving of its Hugo and Nebula nominations and its Tiptree and Lambda awards. Thoughtful, precise writing and Zhang’s fully developed characterization make this a stand-out read, with only overall structure and the subject of one point of view preventing me from awarding a full five stars.

Unfortunately, Goodreads has failed to announce a change in service that includes deleting reviews for being off-topic. They've stopped the mass deletions afte
if the plot had been half as interesting as the characters were, or the world they inhabit is, this book would have been fantastic. as it is, only so-so.

basic concept summary: china has come out on top of the political/ideological dogpile, so the world is a (mostly) socialist sino-centric place. the good schools, the quality jobs, the big money, and all the envy & prestige are gazing toward china. enter zhang, who's chinese/hispanic - his parents had him gene spliced as a kiddo to look purel
Mar 08, 2009 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
This book is one of those that sneak into your high regard. It's not flashy or sensational, it's just very real. The author has the knack of writing characters you care about. All the various subplots weave together, touching at points. You find that you care deeply about what happens to each of them, and the story of their struggles, their loves, and their accomplishments makes really good reading. The world is extremely well-built and realistic. I totally do think China will be the world's mai ...more
Oct 07, 2011 Zorena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I expected from this book but considering all its awards and nominations I was hoping it was legitimately good. I got what I hoped for. While I love space opera and action styled science fiction, I also love a good character driven story. This falls into the latter category.

I gravitate towards the more specific genres of science fiction such as dystopian, post apoc and cyber punk because they are topics that I've put some thought into. So has McHugh. A Chinese dominated dystopi
When I was reading China Mountain Zhang, I was enthralled by the authenticity of the characters, the believability of their words and actions, and the credibility of the future that McHugh envisions. It was thoughtfully and elegantly written. I truly felt for, and felt with, the characters. I didn't have to suspend disbelief as the storyline was so plausible. It was easy to read. Not "easy" like Shoots and Ladders is easy to play, but easy in the way a beautiful painting (or a beautiful woman) i ...more
Feb 25, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, lgbt
The story is set in a near future US that has undergone a socialist revolution and the Second Great Depression and is dominated by China. Each section is a novelette-sized story featuring several characters in different locations -- New York City, Baffin Island, China and Mars. The characters are engaging, realistic and likeable. The story is upbeat and enjoyable, though I found myself wanting more at the end.
Jamie Collins
This is an elegant science fiction novel, set in a future where China has become the dominant world power. The cover blurb tries to impress you with the futuristic setting, but this is a strongly character-driven story, and only loosely plotted. It’s almost a series of related stories rather than one coherent novel. I found it a mesmerizing read.

Most of the book is about a young New Yorker named Zhang trying to make his way in this wonderfully realized future world. His career path is rocky beca
Sep 09, 2011 Zach rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
In which the titular character is a gay American man of Chinese descent living in a future post-collapse/revolution US that has become a state-capitalist satellite of the hegemonic People's Republic of China, starting off as a construction foreman and ending up as a kind of super-architect. I just spoiled the entire plot of this book for you, but if you're a plot-centric person this won't appeal to you anyway. This is getting a little too close to the dreaded bildungsroman for my taste, but McHu ...more
Daniel Roy
I always feel guilty when I quit a book halfway through, and I don't think I've ever felt guiltier than with this novel. Everything about it sounds like I would absolutely love it. But yet as I made my way through the pages, I found myself dreading my reading sessions more and more, until I just decided it was time to move on.

That's not to say I don't recognize the book's strengths, and there are many. The idea of a futuristic world where China has taken over the United States is brilliant, and
I should have read China Mountain Zhang a long time ago, and I'm definitely moving Nekropolis higher up my list. China Mountain Zhang is mostly about the title character, a mostly young, mostly Chinese engineer in a not-quite-dystopian future version of the world. McHugh gives us a world where economic upheaval, global climate change, and political unrest led to socialist or quasi-socialist revolutions. (There is also some colonizing of space involved, in kind of a cool way.) The majority of the ...more
China Mountain Zhang ("CMZ") follows the life and career trajectory of Zhang Zhong Shan (aka China Mountain Zhang) and the lives of some of the people around him. The conceit is that Zhang lives in the near future, probably 100 years or so out, where mainland China is the dominant superpower. He is a Hispanic-Chinese New Yorker. His parents chose to have him undergo gene-splicing to hide his Latin roots, attempting to improve his racial lot in life. Zhang has much to hide. His colleagues and fri ...more
I just might gush about this book without giving you any idea of what it's about. Well, it's about so many things. It has been a long time since I've fallen so deeply in love with characters. Lately, my opinion of most novels has been that they are too long and overblown. China Mountain Zhang is just perfect, but I found myself wanting to read more and more pages about these people anyway, just out of selfishness. The book touches on the lives of several people living in a near future that McHug ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Wastrel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those looking for a more literary, personal SF
Not recommended for: those who want action and excitement.

China Mountain Zhang is a very peculiar novel. It is set in the China-dominated near future, showing the lives of several characters, particularly one mixed-race gay engineer. It's hard to know how to feel about it. On the one hand, it has an annoying and boring central protagonist, almost no action, little psychological insight or progression, and a setting too close to the real world to be enthralling. On the other hand, it is mostly ve
Oct 03, 2013 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find it challenging to pinpoint exactly why this book is so remarkable, especially because the plot is not its strength, and I find that's what most people are looking for in a book (I see that many of the lukewarm reviews point to this). Part of my admiration is for the richness of the language. For a 300 pager, the language was dense enough to make me feel I was reading something epic (i.e. longer), and I found myself slowing down to savor every bit. There's no padding . . . every single wor ...more
May 24, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adding this as a recent re-read, because I was re-reading it exhaustively earlier this month (but had to keep that on the down low at the time).

There are about 8,247 things I love about this book and Maureen McHugh's writing, but one thing I was struck by is that this book was published 20 years ago this year and ages incredibly well, which is really rare for a dystopic future book that preceded the introduction of the internet into popular culture. McHugh makes a wise choice to let a particular
Maggie K
China Mountain Zhang is such a great example of showing place through the day to day lives of its characters that it almost seems like a book about nothing....not except a futuristic earth (and a Mars colony) so alive in its humanity it shine! Really, really quite thought provoking.

Rafael "China Mountain" Zhang is the loose knot tying the characters stories together, hi POV sandwiching those of his Chinese boss' daughter, 2 Martian colonists, and a kite-flyer; each of whose perspective adds anot
Sep 17, 2007 Bliss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book depends more on its exquisite characterizations and fascinating vision of a future where china dominates as the global superpower than on plot, and it totally works. it presents a "slice of life" of zhang, a gay half-chinese american, as he navigates a world in which his sexuality and americanness make him not the ideal. along the way, it also gives glimpses into the worlds of a cyber-kite flyer, martain settlers, and an "ugly" chinese expatriate trying to make her way as a young adult ...more
Feb 05, 2010 Karlo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reviews I read for this book said that it was character heavy and plot light. I would agree that the characters in CMZ are engaging, real, and were in general what drove my enjoyment of this book. The plot definitely meanders as it relates to the inter-relation of characters.

I only felt a little let down with the lack of definitive resolution for both Zhang and the Mars couple (Martine and Alexi). Maybe that's meant to mirror real life in that things rarely end in a clean and simple manner.
Tudor Ciocarlie
China Mountain Zhang is undoubtedly one of the masterpieces of science fiction literature, with a very interesting subject in today's world with an economic crisis and with a China rises higher and higher, a "mosaic" of a sweet ambiguity which tells you that the survival of humanity should not be in absolutes, that does not give answers, but makes you ask questions yourself about everything around you from capitalism to global warming.
Brit Mandelo
Nov 29, 2010 Brit Mandelo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hot damn. I bought this months ago when I first began doing the Queering SFF series on because nearly every commenter on the "recommend your favorites" post suggested it, and I'd never read it. That's a pretty rousing endorsement, as those posts tend to average 60-100 comments.

I absolutely agree with all of those fine, fine people. This book was stunning. That's the only word I can find to describe it right now: stunning.
This book was on one of the featured theme endcaps at the library and caught my eye. I've been wanting to read more female authored scifi, and the list of awards on the back -- Tiptree, Lambda Literary, Hugo, & Nebula? Some awards, some only nominated, but seriously? The Chinese influence, which I've become more interested in as my kids learn the language, was just icing.

And then! The whole passage on Baffin Island! Totally polar fiction!

(mild spoilers ahead)
This book shifts narrative focus
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the 2nd book I've read by Maureen McHugh, although it is her first.
I have to admit, I preferred "Mission Child" - but this was pretty good as well. McHugh is an excellent writer, with a real gift for creating vivid, complex and believable characters.

However, I felt the structure of this book was slightly awkward - the main plot follows Zhang, an American of half-Chinese heritage, in a near-future where China has become the dominant world power.
Every so often, the story goes on a tangent
THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. It's my favorite kind of scifi, fascinating, detailed explorations of everyday life against a really innovative backdrop. Set 200 years in the future, after the US has had a Chinese-led communist revolution, it takes place in New York, the Arctic Circle, China, Mars, with great, compelling characters and really clean writing that pulls you along. I could *not* put it down, and was really bummed when I finished.
May 06, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very engaging first novel set in a possible future when China controls the United States. Themes of class struggle, sexuality and spirituality woven throughout. Young Zhang is a engineering technician who is just trying to create a stable future for himself, despite the odds stacked against him. I look forward to reading more from Maureen McHugh.
Jun 14, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book used, and so I had no concept whatsoever of when it was written. It says something, although I don't know what, that the first thing that clued me in to the book's age (published in 1992) was that I found the homophobia of the future implausible. The second clue was when someone in the latter half of the 21st century looked up a phone number in a book. I found the idea of a Socialist USA to make perfect sense, though.
Right, progress marches on.
None of these are a critique of t
China Mountain Zhang is one of the most unusual science fiction books I've read in a while. There are no epic battles or time travel or bending of the rules of physics. If most science fiction feels like space opera, played out on a large stage, this books reads like a quaint period drama, small in scale, where the dramatic beats occur in tiny spaces—cramped apartments, dorm rooms, kitchens. By most measures, it isn't an exciting book; no one saves the world here and there are no edge-of-your-se ...more
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Maureen F. McHugh (born 1959) is a science fiction and fantasy writer.

Her first published story appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1989. Since then, she has written four novels and over twenty short stories. Her first novel, China Mountain Zhang (1992), was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Award, and won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. In 1996 she won a Hugo Award for h
More about Maureen F. McHugh...

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“In my experience ideology is a lot like religion; it's a belief system and most people cling to it long after it becomes clear that their ideology doesn't describe the real world.” 8 likes
“Like I told you, I’m not interested. I think the party is mostly a means of advancing one’s career anyway.”

“Exactly, and your decision not to join is a political decision.”

“Well, then my political decision is to not be political."

“Exactly, that’s a political statement. You are expressing your opinion about current politics. Except you are political, everything we do is political…”

“It’s a practical decision, not a political one… We don’t have to analyze everyone’s lives for motives.”

“I wasn’t saying it’s wrong… I was just pointing out that your life says something about your politics whether you think about them or not. You can either just let that happen or you can think about the kind of choices you want to make.”

“I’d like to continue to make my choices because they fit my life rather than out of some sense of ideology… In my experience ideology is a lot like religion; it’s a belief system and most people cling to it long after it becomes clear that their ideology doesn’t describe the real world…”

“That’s as pure a description of an applied political theory as any I’ve ever heard.”
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