China Mountain Zing!

Is there anything as sweet as discovering a new author?

I found one this month, Maureen McHugh, and I have Jo Walton to thank for it.
 
In her blog post revisiting the 1993 Hugo Awards she mentioned one of the nominees, China Mountain Zhang, with an adamant "It's wonderful" that intrigued me.
 
I grabbed it. I loved it.
 
The time is the near future -- after a Second Great Depression, China dominates the world. The US has gone through it's own Cultural Revolution -- a 'Cleansing Wind' -- and has settled down into Socialism. But economics and ideology are not the focus, they are only the background of the characters' lives.
 
The main character is Zhang Zhong Shan. He pretends to be things that he is not: 100% Chinese (he is half Hispanic), straight (he is gay). At the beginning he is not honest with himself, he does not know what he wants, and he is hard to like. But with the finest shown-not-told writing, McHugh brings him from being to a boy to being a mensch. I grew to love him, to be excited for him as he learned new things and began to be capable of making the world better. And as I learned to love him I gained understanding of why he had been the person he was: ashamed, torn, young.

In short, "It's wonderful."