After a serious economic downturn in America that effects the global economy (sound familiar?) proletariat rebellions have led to China's global communist domination and America becoming nearly a third world country. China Mountain Zhang, Maureen F. McHugh's debut novel, is more speculative science fiction than the over the top adventure you might associate with the genre and a pleasure to read.
The protagonist, Zhang is a gay man growing up as an ABC (American Born Chinese) who finds himself traveling through the socialist paths of a new world. These lead him to the Arctic circle, the communes of Coney Island, in contact with the settlements on Mars, and to the relative luxury of a Daoist Chinese college.
Stories from other characters intertwine with his journey including a tough as nails Martian colonist, a kite flying athlete, and a despondent lover oppressed by the government.
With vivid imagery and believable characters McHugh has created a very lived in future, a “what if?” society that feels as real as our own and just as possible.