(? - ) Taiwan-born actor and author, in US from an early age, whose Tao sequence, comprising The Lives of Tao (2013), The Deaths of Tao (2014) and The Rebirths of Tao (2015), combines Technothriller riffs with a knowledgeable rendering of a traditional sf topos: Forerunner Alien beings called the Quasing who crashland on Earth and Uplift the human race until our science and Technology are sophisticated enough to repair their ship. The protagonist, who involuntarily houses one of these Secret Masters, finds that there are two factions amongst the Tao, one faction hoping for something like a symbiont relationship with Homo sapiens, the other faction pressing to eliminate us entirely. Earlier enactments of this scenario, to which Chu pays apparently knowing homage, include Hal Clement's Needle (1950) and, more for its political implications, Algis Budrys's Hard Landing (1993). The first two Tao books earned the author the John W Campbell Award for best new writer in 2015.
Chu's next tale, the densely and vividly-told Time Salvager (2015), may mark the beginning of a new series, and its Time Police element may evolve into a full Changewar epic. The current volume focuses on efforts, generated from a twenty-sixth-century Ruined Earth, to redeem this savaged future by regaining precious artefacts and methodologies from the past without violating the flow of history. The novel bears some theoretical resemblances to Wolfgang Jeschke's The Cusanus Game (2005), though its emphasis on heavy action marks it as representing an entirely different tradition. [JC]
- Time Salvager (New York: Tor, 2015) [Time Salvager: hb/Richard Anderson]
- Time Siege (New York: Tor, 2016) [Time Salvager: hb/Richard Anderson]
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