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Western Queers in China: Flight to the Land of Oz • D.E. Mungello

I was recently working on a book chapter about Western authors who had lived in pre-communist Peking – the likes of Edmund Backhouse, George Kates, Harold Acton, David Kidd – and I was struggling to come up with an interesting frame. Rather than a straightforward series of  chronological biographies, I [...]

All Flowers Bloom • Kawika Guillermo

All Flowers Bloom, written by Kawika Guillermo and published by Westphalia Press, is a book that is difficult to define, let alone review. It is ostensibly a novel, classified as queer speculative fiction, but there is not exactly a plot to follow. At least, there is not just one plot [...]

Confucius and Opium • Isham Cook

Even among the rich cast of China’s expat irregulars, Isham Cook stands out for his idiosyncrasy. Thankfully, it’s the eccentricity of the intelligent iconoclast, and his often incendiary writing has both substance and style. Cook is a libertarian – of the drugs and sexual freedom bent rather than the guns [...]

The Front Lines of the War, and other poems • Scott Ezell

I don’t review poetry. Well, until now. I’m breaking that commandment in posting this review of Scott Ezell’s outstanding poetry chapbook, The Front Lines of the War. The problem with reviewing poetry is I lack the knowledge and ability to appreciate and describe it, and I’m not a big fan of [...]

Hong Kong Noir • edited by Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason

Hong Kong is under siege. From property developers razing neighborhoods to build yet more skyscrapers. From the push-and-pull emanating from Beijing to demand greater subservience from this former British colony.  Even without all that pressure, Hong Kong could very well collapse under the weight of its own population, permanent and [...]

Finding the Way: A Novel of Lao Tzu • Wayne Ng

Finding the Way is an audacious novel. It takes some courage to pen a fictional life of such a revered figure as Laozi. He is, after all, a much loved philosopher considered to be the founder of Taoism, and sometimes even worshipped as a deity (my wife’s family actually has a temple [...]