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China Mountain Zhang - Maureen F. McHugh 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 main power in not too many more years. Everything about it feels true.

While I was disappointed at the story of my favorite character, the supervisor's daughter, (I thought she got a raw deal, and I would have liked to get more resolution on her story line), I found all the plot-lines engrossing. I want to know, too, what happened to the goats, and if the Martian contingent was able to get their system repaired or replaced in time to prevent any harm to the goats or people.

I thought it was interesting how the author chose a gay man for her title character. I thought it was sad that she depicted a world in which gays are no more accepted than they are today in ours. I would have hoped in 250 years or so that things would be better than that for gays and also for women. But not so.

In all things the book is understated. The struggle is not to save the world or to battle evil, but just to find a place, to make some room in the world in which the characters can live. In that way it's very like our own struggles in life, to earn a living, to pay medical expenses, and so on. It's a book that bears thinking about, one that grows in the imagination, and in the depth of the characters portrayed. I really liked this book.