The Politics Of The Future II: From ultra-market, to communism: China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh. Written in the eighties, when the idea of China’s economic plan was only just taking shape, a world dominated by China’s communism was plausible only really in a militaristic sense. McHugh, whose book is set two hundred years into such a future, is much more interested in the cracks in her system than the system overall. Hers is a economically free, but ideologically straight-jacketed future, where the US has been conquered in a very violent war (rendering much of in uninhabitable) and has been communist for quite some time. However this is a communism of favours, of massive racism (only true Chinese will ever amount to anything) and as an extrapolation of China is probably more plausible than it was in the eighties.

This is a loosely connected jumble of short stories either about the titular character (New York born Chinese) or people he occasionally interacts with. For such a loosely structured book, the world created is very well integrated. The science is again not the point, though some great ideas about architecture do come out of it. But what is most impressive is the deft prose which bolsters a lot of these bitter-sweet stories which end up generally being about love and life, and not so much about a 23rd century communist world (despite a rather sophisticated grasp of politics demonstrated in the final chapter).