Sunday, May 04, 2008
I don't normally point to Amazon reviews, but this is the kind of response that writers who truck with histories and cultures other than their own dream of getting. Leong Kit Meng, the author of Chinese Siege Warfare: Mechanical Artillery & Siege Weapons of Antiquity--available from RTL in the US (though apparently readily available in Singapore)--has read The Dragon's Nine Sons, and liked it.
His knowledge and grasp of Qing dynasty Chinese and Meso-american history is apparent in the way he is able to take known 18th century Chinese and 16th century Aztec/Mayan institutions and attitudes and extend it into the future, something many authors who attempt this usually fail to do convincingly.
He manages to stay away from rehashing stereotypical views of imperial China and therefore manages to do an impressively convincing job of putting together a world where a completely different set of rules, values, institutions and societal norms comes to fore, allowing the reader to envision a completely different historical timeline. This alternate history he opens up shows the reader a world far more diverse and interesting if these other world cultures had not been stymied and been allowed to develop into the modern world.
He takes the reader into the unknown by opening up the reader's mind and not only shows the possibilities of how other traditional civilizations could have progressed and modernized but that it is possible for them to progress and modernize. We will DEFINITELY be watching this author.