Islington author’s sci fi epic gives George Lucas’s Star Wars a run for its money

As a science fiction visionary who has spent decades perfecting one much-loved saga, David Wingrove could be Islington’s answer to George Lucas.

He is the man behind the Chung Kuo novels, first published between 1988 and 1998, which picture a futuristic world ruled by China.

Like the legendary Star Wars creator, he was never quite satisfied, and is now revisiting the books.

But with his own sci-fi epic set to swell from eight volumes to 20, he makes Lucas and his six Star Wars episodes look restrained.

The 57-year-old, of Arundel Square, Islington, said: “I suppose it’s an obsession.

“I felt I hadn’t got the ending quite right first time round and I knew I wanted another go at it.

“Even my fans said they liked the first seven books, but number eight was a let down!”

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The books are presented as a “future history”, spanning 200 years from the decline of the West to China’s dominance of a dystopian world.

Last week, a new prequel, Daylight on Iron Mountain, which is set in 2087, hit the shelves, and followed the publication in February of what is now book one in the series, Son of Heaven.

Mr Wingrove will also be adding follow-ups, as well as reworking and splitting up the hefty originals, which will all be re-released over the next few years.

The project he started 28 years ago will finally be laid to rest in 2015.

“I had lots of doubts about taking on such a big project again,” he said, “but it’s something I felt I had to get right.”

An Islington resident for 30 years, he has four daughters with wife Susan Oudot, who wrote the Islington-set 1990s TV series Real Women.

Although it centres on a fantastical futuristic world, his epic saga firmly has its roots in the area too.

He said: “There used to be a second-hand bookshop called the Fantasy Centre in Holloway Road. It was walking back from there that I first has the idea for Chung Kuo. I love Islington – it’s the best part of London to live in.”

Daylight on Iron Mountain is published by Corvus Books.