"The Celestial Empire is one of better future histories I've read. Here, the Chinese (of The Middle Kingdom) and Aztecs (The Mexic Dominion) are the dominant, space-faring superpowers and they are at war with one another. The setting is well imaged and steeped in their respective cultures. The world building is interesting. There is space travel, sure, but otherwise the future is, in many stories, low tech. The Middle Kingdom strives for low tech solutions because of personal fear while the Aztecs remain low-tech out of religious belief. What you wind up with is imaginative solutions to some advanced problems, lending much to the overall flavor of the stories. As intriguing as that backdrop is, it is upstaged by the intimate nature of the stories that play out within it. These are not military sf stories (per se) about missions that will decide the fate of the war, they are personal stories about realistic characters. They do not suffer from over-the-top action sequences that defy belief; they are (mostly) quiet stories about people, their choices and their actions."