Customer Reviews: The Broken Wheel: A Chung Kuo Novel
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Customer Reviews

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on January 25, 1999
This second novel is as rich as the first. Wingrove is truly a sci-fi force. The characters are vividly portrayed, both good and evil, and the complex plots and subplots are a true delight for me, a fan of this genre. Wingrove seems to be able to keep a story alive while not causing the reader to lapse into incredulity. Devore is up to his usual tricks, with a few powerful allies, and the members of the T'ang are slowly losing power as the Seven is struck by assassinations and dissent. Events in this novel -- the allegiances that are forged and the ties that are broken -- will surprise some. I can see where some people might be intimidated by this series because of its scope and length but to anyone who is looking for a mixture of superior, intelligent science fiction with a soap-operatic yet action-oriented feel, then this series fits the none. In addition, there is a welcome emergence of very strong female characters in this novel that continues into the third novel of the series. Be forewarned, however; the sheer number of characters can be frustrating if you haven't read Chung Kuo first.
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on June 19, 1998
David Wingrove gives us another incredible look into the intricate world of Chung Kuo! I have yet to encountetr an author who can produce such consistent work. If you have liked any book in the Chung Kuo series, you'll love this one.
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on June 16, 1998
Broken Wheel continues with the spellbinding quality of its predecessor. As if you actually are in The Great City yourself! What I do find strange, however are the passages in the Domain and frankly I skipped all the parts in which Ben Shepherd had sex with his own sister.Also certain historical facts seem a little bit "off the wall".For instance, there's an edict that controls technological development, yet when it comes to technology needed for the story line, it seems that "any goes"(when it comes to GenSyn-Hoes). Other than that it is even more exciting than The Middle Kingdom since it promises the wildest changes to come to the imaginary society of City Earth or Chung Kuo.Can't wait to read the sequals!!
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on June 9, 2000
Another example of psycho-fi - characterized by unpleasant characters, ruthless power plays and rampant paranoia. Superior practicioners of this flavor of sci-fi include Frank Herbert and CJ Cherryh. Wingrove has penned a compelling saga weakened by a lack of endearing characters - at least any that live very long. Maybe that's just an honest reflection of the rather vicious society he creates - where good guys die young (and painfully) while slavery, racism, brutality, incest, pedophilia, treachery, and murder abound. If, like me, you prefer stories that give you someone to identify with, this one's going to be tough going. And yet it's intriguing - and I'm still reading.
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on October 25, 1999
This book provides a great illustration of the fact that ownership of another human being dehumanizes everyone concerned. There's a scene where a young newlywed prince--a nice guy for the most part--is worried about the welfare of the two young maids he owned during early adolescence. So he sends an emmisary to check on them. The two girls tell the emmisary that they're lonely for the prince and miss him badly. You see, during the previous volume, "The Middle Kingdom", they had "initiated him into manhood", quite affectionately explaining to him; "That's what we're here for". In the process, they both fell in love with him. Neither girl (they're sisters) is jealous of the other. They don't even resent his new bride--the way they see it, they had both played a part in a necessary rite of passage for the kid. In this book, he admits to himself that the reason he cares about their welfare is that he loves them as well. What's the best thing he can do for them? He plans to give them their freedom, as well as a substantial dowry. They can't have him, but they'll never be anyone's property again. That's what's so cruddy about slavery--when master and slave care for each other as people, but all that "the system" depicted in this story allows is a "semi-requited" relationship. I felt so sorry for all three of these young people. It's too much of a temptation to chalk it all up to the alleged Oriental "lower respect for human dignity" and forget that we in the West have our share of it in our history. There's a lesson in this for HUMANITY, period. However human society "advances" or "regresses" in our future, we damn sure don't want to go back to something like that.
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on December 13, 2009
When I first read the first novel in this series about 15 years ago, I was mezmorized by the images that this talented novelist's descriptions and imagination invoked. I reread it a couple of months ago and found it just as compellingly written, but the rampant sexual cruelty (mutilation as a sexual release, derived from rape)and perversion (pedophiles rejoice! Underage children perform your twisted wishes here) planted very unpleasent images in my mind, and did nothing to advance the main story. I labored on, because the bigger picture aspects of the book were so compelling.

This series began as a political thriller in which a group of powerful outsiders were organizing to overthrow a corrupt, stultifying, racist oligarchy. The vast majority of humanity was trapped in a class system that ranged from servitude to subhuman. The outsiders hoped to completely upend the social order and destroy the ruling class. This was the basic theme of the first book and it seemed to be continuing in the second. But when I was lead into another of the author's twisted detours in which a highly intelligent, high functioning and well brought up brother and sister (underage; of course) decide to take their relationship to new heights (graphically depicted by the author) it was time for me to move on.

To bad. This was a good story. We did not need the sexual torture, pedophilial sexual slavery, incestuous relations, gang rape of a mother in front of her child.....I'm quite certain that I'm forgetting some nasty stuff as well.

Perhaps after a little couch time, the author may want to give it another go.
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on May 5, 1998
That's the best way I can think of to describe it (even if Shogun is about Japan, not China). And even so, it doesn't quite give the full impact. Although Chung Kuo deals with many of the same issues, Wingrove connects you more intimately to the characters than Robinson ever did, and develops a broad, strong, unique culture of the future. Just be prepared - the series is addictive, and there are 7 books so far!
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on April 3, 2015
This guy would make a fortune if he'd just go ahead and go digital. I've read the whole series before and would buy the lot in digital format. Odd for a Sci Fi writer not to embrace the future.
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on January 14, 2014
This is a long series, so here we have just another few months or maybe a year of the War of the Levels. Chung Kuo is somewhat scary because is so plausible.
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on May 26, 2015
A marvellous sci-fi tale with lots of believable charaters, After reading book 1 I had to read all 6
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