Nuclear Power Nuclear Game

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Helen Huang and her political thriller, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game.

Author’s description

The year is 1950. Zoe and John, two young nuclear scientists from Berkeley, seem to have the perfect life, with promising careers and marriage plans. But their innocence is soon shattered when the Chinese Communist Party seizes power. Choosing to postpone the wedding and return back to her home country, Zoe finds herself locked in a political cage and separated from John indefinitely.


Caught in a complex web of revolutionary propaganda and forced to participate in dangerous research, Zoe must confront the looming question of where her true loyalties lie: with her country or with John back in America?


Set during China’s march towards nuclear power amidst the political turmoil of the Cold War, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game spans multiple decades and countries across the globe to tell the story of two nuclear scientists’ fight for world peace and a love torn apart by conflicting ideologies.

 Helen Huang’s Story

Born and raised in Shanghai, Helen Huang now resides in Melbourne, Australia. Nuclear Power Nuclear Game is her first novel, inspired by her own experience living under the Communist regime and working at a nuclear institute in China.

To be a novelist was Helen’s childhood dream. She started writing Nuclear Power Nuclear Game when she was a housewife looking after her four daughters. It took her sixteen years to write, as she raised her children and grew her house design and construction business. Helen hopes to finish a sequel to Nuclear Power Nuclear Game next year.

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The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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An Exclusive Excerpt

(Just for us!)

A stern voice interrupted her thoughts. “Comrade Meng, why did you not go to the rally?” Ma Dagui, chief of the propaganda team, poked his head around the open door.

Zoe jumped and nearly fell off her stool in fright. “Oh, I’m preparing for my class.” She gestured at the table. “Chief Ma, we really have to get more modern equipment. I’ve spent hours trying to set up this experiment and still haven’t gotten it right.”

He pushed the door open and strode in, looking down his nose at her. “Comrade Meng, we have more important things to think about than your experiments at the moment.”

“But atomic science is developing so rapidly! The success of the US nuclear bomb would not have happened without modern, sophisticated facilities. We have to catch up. The more we learn, the further we penetrate into these fields, the more complex the equipment becomes.”

He stared at her for several long seconds with his brow furrowed, as if considering her argument. Then he launched into one of his standard propaganda speeches, like the political lessons he gave at the department meetings. “Comrade Meng, we are in a difficult period. During the Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War, the National government had no intention of promoting scientific research, instead allocating all possible resources to the army. That’s why our base is very low. Now that we are facing direct American aggression, our priority is to consolidate our socialist government and protect the new China. Imagine if the US were to take over China. If China became America’s colony …”

Yes, yes, I’ve heard all this propaganda before, Zoe thought, but science should not be bound by politics. She could not stand aside any longer. She had a strong urge to make her voice heard for once. “We have entered the nuclear age, Chief Ma. With up-to-date, powerful equipment, atomic particles are perceptible and measurable, so our physicists can study them, and China can compete. But we don’t have any kind of reasonable equipment. I can’t even do basic demonstrations for my students, much less the type of research I was doing in America and would like to continue here.”

Chief Ma’s eyebrows lowered ominously at Zoe’s blunt words, his mouth half open. Then he snapped it shut. According to Chairman Mao, enemies were everywhere, and his military instinct now told him Comrade Meng might be hiding more serious problems behind her constant grouchiness. “You mean you miss your life in America?”

“I don’t mean that, but I do miss the research I did there.”

“Why do you want to follow the Americans? We should do our own research.”

Zoe shook her head, wearing a bitter smile to cover her disappointment: You’re a military officer. You may know how to fight, but you have no idea what science is about. There’s clearly no point arguing with you.

Chief Ma masked his humiliation with an angry attack. “Comrade Meng, where is your political consciousness? You’re putting your personal ambition above China’s national interest. You had better think about where you stand—with the Chinese Communists, or the American imperialists?”

Thank you!

Helen Huang —  we appreciate your sharing your book  Nuclear Power Nuclear Game with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Embracing the Yin in Costa Rica

I developed a strong dislike of Chinese philosophy in early high school, the first time that the well-known yin-yang diagram was explained to me. I’m sure that different words were used, but what I remember being told was that the dark sort of fish looking thing represented the female. You know, weakness, darkness, emptiness, inactivity, insincerity and nothingness. Oh and also the moon, which only reflected light but gave off none of its own.

The white side represented the male. You know. Shining, strong, noble, upright, something-ness that was active, productive and everything cool. But I was not to worry. Both were needed for life and equally important and that was the beauty of yin and yang.

Screw the Chinese, I decided.

Soon after that my own Catholic Church denied my request to be the first female gospel reader in our small town parish. They appreciated my sincerity, they told me, but women have their place. It is an important one, I was assured. It’s just that their place is behind the scenes, hidden, supporting the men. Equally valuable, just different.

Have you guys been talking to the Chinese? I wondered.

beautiful life6After awhile, I discovered that everybody had apparently been talking to each other. By the time I hit college I couldn’t find a single thriving modern culture on earth that at its root didn’t delegate over half the species to the passive and receptive half of the food chain. By this point I had a pretty good idea of how sperm spurted out to fertilize a waiting egg, and an equally good idea of what he and she were probably doing on the macroscopic scale while all this spurting was happening.

No excuse, I thought. He doesn’t get to be everything active and strong just for that ten second performance. Screw them all.

To this day I maintain that there is far more variation amongst males, and amongst females, then there is variation between the average man and woman. She or he can be good at math, mountain climbing or knitting and while biology and culture may predispose more of one gender to any of those activities, you cannot accurately predict any person’s individual skill level or interest at anything based on their gender alone, and that is good.

We are complicated, and our sexuality is only a part of us.

That is why yesterday surprised me so much. I am here in Costa Rica, once again attending a week long seminar in qigong, the ancient Chinese art of energy flow. I let go of my anger at yin and yang years ago and now view it as a useful concept that was unfortunately tainted by the sexism of ages past. Sort of like holy books such as the bible and other older documents like the U.S. constitution. You might as well look for the parts of all of them that are good and stop complaining.

As we are letting the qi flow, I feel a strong and positive sense of something different in the energy around me. I peek. I’ve landed on a side of the room in which I happen to be surrounded by several women who have been practicing qigong for years. These women all have a strong sense of self, and working in the middle of them I think I feel what must be yin. It’s comfortable to me, familiar, and powerful all at once, like a group of sisters and wise women who buoy each other up in spite of their many differences. It’s not less than yang and not more than it and in spite of the Chinese focus on opposites it is not so different from it either. But it is, and I feel comfortable with it.

I remember that I’m not the only one who has changed. Much of modern society has caught up with my teenaged vision of equality from long ago, and my own daughters never knew a world in which they could not go to Harvard or be astronauts. I wonder how the attributes assigned to yin and yang would have sounded if they had been articulated by the women of China instead? Maybe I don’t have to wonder.

I have an internet for doing research. I now write speculative fiction. It might be fun to learn more, I think, and then to create a world in which women describe the attributes assigned to the universe. How do you think they might sound?

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