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I remember reading a series of books in the early 90s (at least 4, maybe as many as 6) that were set on and around a future Earth where vast cities covered the planet. There was a grimy underground habitat where poor, exiled and fugitive people worked, and some of the ultra rich lived in orbiting space stations. There was a rigid class structure and ruling families, and I think the Chinese were the dominant race.

Can anyone help me track this down? I don't have the books, can't remember the author, and can't craft a Google search that helps. If it matters, I lived in England back then and the books were readily available from good bookstores, if not prominently advertised or displayed. I can't remember whether it was an ongoing or finished series.

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That sounds like David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series.

It's a series of 8 books, set a couple of hundred years in the future. China dominates the Earth, and there are numerous space stations as well as colonies on Mars. The Chinese have re-written history so that they seem to always have been in charge. The Earth is covered in huge hive cities, with most people never seeing the outside; there's a dark and grimy basement level underneath the cities, with tribes of primitives forced to survive down there.

As the books start, there is an increasing resistance to the Chinese domination, and the books cover that story. There were originally 8 books in the series, but there is a new edition of the series currently in progress - they've just published volume 8 of a projected 20, I believe.

For what it's worth, it's a very entertaining series, though thanks to the publishers, the final volume was a little rushed and I was definitely underwhelmed by the ending.

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