Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

Monkey King to the rescue


Ms. Ming's Guide to CivilizationMs. Ming’s Guide to Civilization by Jan Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fabulous romp about two adventuresses, together seeking to surf the roaring wave of capitalism sweeping through China, New York and other places and leaving broken families, broken hearts and broken villages in its wake. Can Ms. Ming, born in one of the poorest and most backward villages of Sezchuan, and her American ally, Zoe, of uncertain parentage and numerous skills of seduction, martial arts and computer programming, save civilization? Possibly, Ming believes and fervently hopes, but only with the aid of the Monkey King, come back to earthly existence as the dapper William Kingsley Sun.
And together, they do transform pseudo-Communist China from its voracious, dog-eat-man capitalism to a land of generous, solidary Civilizers, by trickery and clever propaganda and a computer chip slipped through the ear into the brains of the most disgusting exploiters — for a time. But even the magical Monkey King, despite his ease at making 72 transformations and at creating near duplicates of himself, and his thousands of years of history, cannot foresee or forefend the counterforce: Ming, Zoe, and William Kingsley Sun’s counter-influencers stir themselves and — well, read the book and see what happens.
Ming may not save the world, and Zoe may not (or maybe yes) unravel her parental mystery, but on their way each enjoys abundant sex. When hyper athletic kick-box artist Zoe gets it on with the flying and self-transforming Monkey King, they sometimes even levitate in ecstasy, while Ming in her days as a high-class, high-priced prostitute (to make money for her new teeth and for saving the world) not only seems to enjoy her salacious encounters, but exploits them for her popular erotic blog.
The latest news from China will make you think that the Monkey King’s nemesis are still hard at work, blasting out false news and creating a virus to frighten us all —rather like the mysterious flu that appears late in this adventure.
In all, it’s a book to make you laugh and to think a little harder about where we’re going as technology and venture capital gnaw or crumble traditions we had thought eternal — and to be grateful that, spite all that happens, the Monkey King is immortal and we may need to call on him again to save us.

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