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The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water (Hardcover, 2020, Tor) 4 stars

A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, …

Rich in character and heart despite its brevity.

4 stars

I'm new to Zen Cho, but this certainly ensures I'll come back. A #wuxia (or potentially #xianxia) novella, about a bandit crew dealing with the sudden imposition of a new member.

Funny, endearing, and with a lot of heart. Well recommended.

I am a novice at Chinese cultural media and media culture but I’ve noticed, from Jin Yong’s Legend of Condor Heroes (late 1950s), through Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), to Sleuth of the Ming Dynasty (2020)—the steppe grassland and its horse nomads often feature in Chinese media.

My noob questions are. Is this just my sampling bias? Or is there a pattern of stories being set in the steppe?

Is it just a thing?

Is it just a period drama thing (are modern stories less likely to feature this as a setting)?

Is it more of a political interest that inspires this in storytellers or do they tend to also appreciate the unique geography and climate of the steppe? Should I be surprised to see Kazakh or Mongolian settings, should I expect Chinese storytellers to prefer Xinjiang/Inner Mongolia?

Why is there not a similar interest in setting stories …