Back To The Age Of The ’80s


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Li Zheng, a former Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory researcher, professor at Huaqing University, and head of the National Drug Research Laboratory, died suddenly after staying up all night and woke up to find himself back in a small fishing village in 1982.

His father had disappeared and his mother had run away from home, leaving his cheap half-sister to take care of him.

Faced with this HARD mode of life, Li Zheng revealed a standard smile.

No fear, no gold finger could compare to my almost Nobel Prize winning head.

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Date Group Release
09/22/22 UntamedAlley c113
09/13/22 UntamedAlley c112
09/04/22 UntamedAlley c111
09/02/22 UntamedAlley c110
08/31/22 UntamedAlley c109
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07/25/22 UntamedAlley c104
07/13/22 UntamedAlley c103
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06/13/22 UntamedAlley c100
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15 Reviews sorted by

rhianirory rated it
August 20, 2020
Status: Completed
I rarely rate a novel lower than a 3 if its not a badly written stallion story, but there is so much heightened nationalism and blatant mainland-slanted propaganda in this that I failed to get past the politics and could not enjoy the MC's personal journey.

this might be a case of knowing too much IRL; none of the regular people I know in Hong Kong wanted the 'glorious reunification' that the MC is so obsessed with and they certainly don't like the current oppressive situation where those in favor of... more>> democracy are being arrested right off the street. I would NOT recommend this story to Hong Kongers or to those with family in Hong Kong who have to deal with the repeated violations of the 'One Country Two System' policy by the PRC. The propaganda and spin in this novel will only piss you off and make you sad. <<less
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Sugaminny rated it
September 10, 2020
Status: c124
As rhianirory's review already mentions this story's MC is a extreme China fan and patriot (I'm using 'patriot' here because that's what the MC calls himself). As a German I find patriotism extremely awkward, but I thought I got used to it, because it's so prevalent in Chinese novels that by now I can just selectively read and blend out the patriotism and propaganda. Well turns out that's really hard to do with this one, because MC's personality is like made of 55% patriot and 45% smart researcher. I think... more>> the most telling is that MC has an immediate good impression when meeting Chinese people and being a patriot changes his views 360° for people he didn't particularly like beforehand (or in the case of foreigners it's their genuine interest in China). As patriotism seems to be of much importance to the author, yeah, not only the MC is extremely patriotic. So if you really dislike this or are normally bothered by it i'd recommend you to skip this novel, it is that bad, srsly.

Apart from the blind patriotism I think this novel is pretty decent when it comes to the researcher plot. As one can guess from the synopsis, MC was a successful researcher of drugs aka pharmaceutics (what else but curing cancer) in his last life and took that advanced medical knowledge with him getting reborn into the past and a young bo (d) y ofc. So as he makes his way up in society he is the youngest, smartest, highest achieving researcher in his field from Asia. MC is extremely OP, yes, but if you don't mind those kind of stories too much, I think this one is written quite well actually. Although even as a researcher his patriotism comes through a lot. MC's goals as a researcher often result in him trying to achieve sth for his country, and we go right back to the beginning of this review...

As for the romance - I'd argue his love for China is bigger than for the ML. So as you can already guess the romance takes a backseat in this story (at least till chapter 124 from 193). If you're here for the romance you should probably move on. Although I still think the ML is quite lovely ^^;

All in all the story is decent. I don't want to blame the author or drop the ranking too much for the extreme patriotism, but it definitely affected my reading experience. Intermittently I got quite into the researcher plot, so I'm giving this story 2.5 or 3 stars. <<less
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MehrM rated it
October 3, 2020
Status: --
This is something really patriotic... and weird because china rarely put bl and patriotism together...

However I don't think it should be categorized as romance... it's almost none existent...

But that doesn't make the book less interesting... seriously I wanted more... knowing it was fake but those China first nobel prize winner, first "medicine" etc... gave me a great sense of satisfaction... don't get me wrong I'm not Chinese nor do I have any type of patriotism feelings towards my own country... so those feelings of patriotism in this bl gave me... more>> an envious feeling... I guess

The MC has a strong golden finger an it's not anything like system or such but future knowledge...

His only purpose is to develop china... well not only but it's his main purpose

He helped people when due. Though its true that he has his own selfishness in some cases but he always put the causes above... meaning he would help at all cost... hence he is really good but also a little bit selfish... which makes him human... <<less
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cosmicimmortal rated it
August 19, 2020
Status: Completed
I won't do a really in depth review of this novel but I definitely do want to point out that even though this is a romance novel, there isn't actually that much romance.

Saying that the relationship between the MC and ML was adorable, it's just that it's not developed much in the novel. I would have liked to read alot more about their relationship.

Saying that this novel is quite good. It focuses mainly on the MCs rise in his scientific career, and the science is relatively true, though not the... more>> most accurate. Also the novel is very patriotic but not xenophobic which was relieving.

I really enjoyed reading this, the translation is very good and it's very easy to mtl. <<less
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Caffae rated it
March 14, 2021
Status: c61
This is honestly a good novel. Liked it so much I went to MTL it.

The MC isn’t illogically patriotic. He just hopes to help China develop even if that means he will not get the most amount of benefits. Compared to lots of other web novels, this MC is actually pretty reasonable.

He doesn’t hold petty grudges, only the people who do really terrible things get face slapped and he could be said to be decent to the people around him. Although the way he uses connections to get out of... more>> trouble is kinda clingy, that’s pretty typical for Chinese novels.

There are moments of sadness which actually make me like this novel better. Things don’t always go well :)

I like that romance is not the focus, instead the focus is practical research. It’s a bit awkward but still nice romance.

of course there is the usual MC halo of ridiculous research speed but his future knowledge and actual capabilities is supporting that believably. <<less
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noeinan rated it
October 31, 2021
Status: c86
Overall, a really great story with very engaging insights into the process of medical research. You get a lot of details without feeling bogged down and boring. Seems to be very well researched.

Romance is very slow, but present. The intro of the ML was one of the most unique I've seen.

Downside is... There is a fair amount of nationalism. I can be fine with general sentiments of wanting to improve ones hometown, country, and roots. But some of the messages re: Hong Kong seemed out of touch (given many of... more>> the characters are native Hong Kongese.) And some comments about African countries seemed kinda... racist.

On the bright side, this is one of the few BL with strong supporting female characters in the cast. And seemed to have a more compassionate view on immigration. There are good points made about the dirty deals in "big pharma" and some interesting history on the west actively suppressing Chinese scientific development.

The political stuff is definitely a mixed bag, but if you can stomach some issues then it's definitely worth a read. I'd have given 5* for story if not for the occasional weirdness. <<less
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Ainslee rated it
September 29, 2021
Status: c80
I've read countless transmigration novels about entertaintment industry, zombie apocalypse, management, sports, school life, ancient and fantasy themes. However this novel TOP every novels that I've read on one thing, a thick fantasy-ish-genre.

Even so I've enjoyed every word and scenes that MC experienced in his second life.

Not everyone can be patriotic to their own country. Especially if you're born in the 1990s or 2000s. That strong patriotic tendency could be seen in the elderly who personally experienced the era of colonialism personally, or even a few decades after that.

But as... more>> times passed, it also shaved off a layer of the patriotic spirit in the later generation.

That's why when I saw there's so many people who left low rating for this novel, I wasn't surprised.

Everyone entitled to their own opinion about a certain issue or conflict, as much as the author's. My level of understanding of patriotism to one's own country may differ from the author's and everyone else who read this novel.

However I do feel envious of the MC, if... I mean if I had a speck of skill, IQ, EQ and chance like MC, perhaps my chosen life trajectory would be money oriented. Not everyone can be as clear cut as MC. 😂

In any case, I love this fantasy-like novel very much. It lift up my mood every time MC invented (?) a new drugs/research/patent.

(◍•ᴗ•◍) ❤


Rambling while MTL in progress:

You can't reason with war-craze people, using violence to threaten so they could get the most benefit. People doing humanitary works were depended on sincerity.

It was hard to help people when you get gun pointed on your head. Being pitiful and ungrateful were two poles apart.

In this kind of moral kidnapping, it'd be great if the MC could just say: "you bunch of ingrate could just go to hell" then walk away.

I know, I'm too emotional, reading this till dawn (not finished yet) made me moody.

Next day:

This novel also highlighted that every precaution medical practitioner told you must be abided truthfully, otherwise you could lose your life.

Be vigilant to your own health, ask for the nurse and doctor advise, then follow it meticulously. People, if you died because of your own negligence, you couldn't blame anyone else but yourself.

I'm being moody again.

Finally MTL completed. Even the Fanwai made me moody. Aishhh, looks like my aunt will come soon. (ꈍᴗꈍ) <<less
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Bakugo__0 rated it
May 18, 2021
Status: c68
The romance may be slow but the pacing of the story is perfect. I am glad to have picked this up to read and am excited for more chapters to come out. This story captures the feeling of being stuck in the 80s so well that even as a foreigner reading this I feel very immersed. I look forward to seeing where this story takes me
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dragonzflyte rated it
October 1, 2021
Status: --
The extreme levels of patriotism in this story, which other have already mentioned in detail massively detracts from the story. However, worse than that from my perspective is the way that the story handles autism. I stopped reading entirely when the ML whose diagnosis of autism was "cured" by his enthusiasm for business. I'm not sure if it's an issue with the original writing, or lost in the translation, but either way it pisses me off. Autism is not a "curable" illness, it is a personality disorder. People can absolutely... more>> improve in their ability to function in society if they are autistic, but that doesn't make it an edgy label you can get rid of later for character growth or whatever other garbage. The story also uses the r-word fairly casually, though I obviously don't know whether that's a fault of the translation or original content. The main character is also badly written and unrealistic, though I suppose that is a relative staple of this sort of story. The only possible positive I could find is that at least there wasn't any magical cooking skill on top of the bullsh*t level of pharmaceutical knowledge the main character had. Maybe I could believe it from a reincarnator in their 50s, but a 35 year old? IQ is treated as the magic word to hand-wave a lot of bullshit. <<less
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ladyxxx rated it
April 16, 2022
Status: c98
Leaving a rating because I think this novel deserve higher rating. From the comment, I see that low rating is due to the chinese nationalism theme in this novel. ML is a mainlander who ran to hong kong, but for me this character isnt that blindly patriotic. Most of the plot is about ML and his research, and I enjoyed it. However, I am not chinese, so that may also be a reason why the China-Hong Kong plot didnt bother me much.
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novem rated it
March 10, 2022
Status: c96
To be honest, people's criticisms of how overtly patriotic and nearly nationalistic the MC acts is pretty valid. As a native Hong Kong citizen myself, it was actually quite interesting to see how Hong Kong is mentioned and used. It's pretty accurate, citing actual people and places in HK as well as HK history. Like very specific roads and even our MTR system.

The author is very academic (MC is a genius researcher so a lot of complicated chemical and biology lab names are used and to a relatively okay accuracy).... more>> So I think the author should be quite aware of the situation with Hong Kong. Not sure if the author was trying to get past the censors or something.... but a lot of the knowledge about Hong Kong is really well researched so I can't see the author being unaware of the controversy between HK and China. There's this one specific line I remember where the MC is in Hong Kong and he meets China researchers who talk about how excited they are for the MC to come back to China eventually and the MC directly says, "I never left China." Like WHOA isn't THAT a political statement? Not surprised though a lot of Novelupdates novels set in the 80's tend to push communism, disdain capitalism, and promote China policies.

That being said, aside from the China pushing language (which happens a lot. Even though the MC lives in HK as of ch 96. he's always supporting China interests and trying to revive the motherland etc.) and politics, it's pretty interesting. At least the scientific plot of the story is pretty interesting. Beginning of the novel is very good, but declines a little.

As of ch. 96 there is minimal romance between the MC and ML.

Spoiler about the ML below:


The ML is also apparently autistic and I disagree with some of the language the author uses regarding his situation. I believe there's talk about the therapist being excited that some of the ML's 'autistic tendencies' have begun to fade and uses language of 'cured' etc. Again, kind of close-minded but given how pro-China the author is I'm not surprised.

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Ri Hikaru
Ri Hikaru rated it
December 8, 2021
Status: Completed
Great read overall.

Since the author decided to set the novel in the real world rather than creating a parallel world (like China = Huaxia and all fictional characters), there is some censor pandering in making the MC too patriotic, but at least it's not to the level of I'm Really a Superstar. My biggest gripe is that his sister's story is relegated TOO much to the side. It's supposed to be a side story anyways, but still it still should have been a bit more fleshed out or not even... more>> mentioned at all. <<less
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Kaylee rated it
June 18, 2021
Status: c68
The main point of this novel is not the romance, not the MC and ML relationship, not face slapping, not familial status, not money making business, not survival.

It's all about RESEARCH, medicine/biological/pathology/any field related to disease and finding new vaccine or cure for diseases.

I dont understand the world of researcher for medicinal/pharmacist/doctor but I'm eyed-rolling of how easy a cure or vaccine to be found and developed. But, we're in this covid era and I could count how many days and months needed to announce a vaccine has been found.

As... more>> for how MC too damn patriotic *shrug* Let's not forgetting, it's PRC. Hey, I'm pretty sure any author will also be like this with their own country. And I'm totally confused of how the time line worked for MC.

However, the author was good in writing new conflicts and characters to make us stay to read and to be curious of what MC and his team would do. It's really good reading imo. <<less
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evileye23 rated it
August 23, 2022
Status: Completed
To preface, anyone reading for romance should close the tab immediately. Anyone reading for a lab research wet dream should continue. And anyome mindlessly going "nationalism gross" "china bad" should try thinking for themselves for once.

Consider the logic of someone being a researcher in a relatively poor, underdeveloped country with underfunded, backwards technology, who is subject to xenophobia and global exclusionism on account of where they're from.

Aka: Li Zheng in China as it pulls out of the 80's.

Li Zheng isn't a regular guy. He's a transmigrator and he's pretty damn... more>> bright, and that's a golden finger that allows him to wedge himself into the global stage and get published in internationally-acclaimed journals, and that means that in a time of lacking infrastructure and laggardly technological and scientific development, he, unlike most people, actually has the power to change things.

This novel is, in fact, not lacking in criticism of China at the time. It's weak, it's poor, it's behind the times and struggling to advance. The outdated Chinese version of the FDA is full of useless leeches, and doesn't get properly rectified without a transmigrator. The attitude towards implementation of western medicine isn't great, and there's very little understanding of patents and such. Chinese students are lacking in actual research experience compared to theoretical knowledge, and the former is important enough in a lab.

A lot of the criticism of other countries happens in terms of criticising trade/technology embargoes and matters related to academia, and research funding/patents are a dogfight anywhere you go. The general populace everywhere is quite friendly overall.

There's crit posted that says that Li Zheng's impression of someone improves when he realises they like China, but, like... the main person I can think of for that is the Vice Executive President of a global pharmaceutical company's Asia region. Most of the East Asian countries have a single majority ethnicity. Of course you're going to like the foreign boss more if you know they're being amiable, make a decent effort, and if they probably aren't racist lmao. "when in Rome, do as the Romans do" is a quote for a reason.

So what if Li Zheng sets out to improve things? Is it better to wallow in muddy, bland angst for the whole book and never walk out of the fishing village because they're doomed, fubar? Or dump in pink shoujo bubbles and call it a day?

If your country's facilities and universities and institutions and technologies and overall conditions are all far worse than those of others, but you can't leave (due to economic factors, personal reasons, etc.) and yet foreign countries exclude the qualifications you've worked hard for, would you change it if you could? If your entire family and all your friends were there and you knew that you could improve everyone's lives, would you run away to another country the moment you've achieved a bit of success?

Does every country not strive for improvement? Do you think your nation's circumstances don't affect your quality of life? Wake up and stop dreaming.

Li Zheng publishing work from his previous life, most of which is his, is trying to break new ground. First man on the moon. First female Empress. First non-white President. First this, first that -- historically significant firsts set the precedent for the people after them, opening up new possibilities in the realm of the public's acceptance. Since he chooses not to emigrate, his entire journey is going to be linked to China slowly achieving global acknowledgement in academic circles, like Neil Armstrong's American flag on the moon.

History links most significant figures to their countries (or the countries they fight for), so why is that so hard to accept for NU readers?

"Nationalism bad", "gross ccp wants hk", ok, but is fighting for your nation's interests as odd and utterly foreign as NU reviews would have you think? What about the American-Russian space race? What about that very conspicuous flag on the moon? What about western technology export embargoes? What about the Americans instigating war in poorer regions and the Iran-Contra affair and the Contras? What about turning a blind eye to war criminals in 731 trials for the sake of research data on human experimentation? Is it nice to promote British colonialism just because of the Red Scare and differing territorial interests?

People on NU seem to think that nationalism is China's exclusive thought crime. Spoiler alert: it's not! Crack open a text and consider the bigger picture.

Let's talk about academic borders and the necessity of getting your hard-earned qualifications to mean something.

American institutions make internationals pay higher rates and have a lower acceptance rate, even for people just up and across the border. That's without counting for exchange rates and differing dollar/pound/euro values. Differing systems also ask for different things for admission, which is another obstacle. For example, many American universities/colleges care more about your holistic achievements and extracurriculars than even the best Canadian universities. The same differences for European and Canadian schools vs American or other international schools, and there are fewer subsidies or student loans available if you're not a citizen of that institution's country. This is all not even counting for potential language barriers from non-English regions. And your qualifications might not transfer or might be worth less -- AP, IB, A-levels, foreign credentials? What a mess. What an inherent barrier.

Want to go to Oxbridge? Tough luck, there's a limited number of foreign spots if you're not a Brit. Want to go to an Ivy? Tough luck, the bar's higher and more circumstantially biased for non-Americans. Want to go to a regular, decent University overseas? Sure, but be prepared to pay out of your ass.

What are you gonna do about it? Nothing. What if that school doesn't accept your country's qualifications? Oh well. What if your currency is devalued and the economy is weak? Shrug. jpeg. Can you immigrate? Maybe. But immigration can be very demanding, and not everyone is willing to leave where they were raised.

Is all of that reasonable? Sure, policies favour locals and citizens, but then outsiders are naturally shafted. In that case, Li Zheng's nationalism is pretty justified, since his goal is essentially the improvement of his local area's conditions. Is it unreasonable? Sure, but if you've got too many internationals, what are you supposed to do with all those locals who can't study because the schools are full? What about brain-drain?

And what about publications? What about research funding and grants and patents?

Most of the world's leading journals accept manuscripts in English. What if English isn't your native language? Learn. Pay for editing. Pay for more editing, and you need someone that already has knowledge of the scientific terms used. Suck it up, bow down to the English language, because Nature is British, Cell is British, and most globally acclaimed and high-impact journals for the hard sciences are British or American. Your small-town non-English local journal in the 80s ain't worth shit, and without internationally recognized copyright and patent protection, if you publish domestically (in China, in this case), who cares if you get screwed over? The law isn't on your side. By the time the law is on your side, it'll be too late -- science waits for no man, and advancement and achieving academic recognition are dogfights. Everyone's a dog and a s*ave to their papers and grants and funding.

Journals being mostly English is also probably true for the soft sciences, mind you, but I'm not so familiar with those.

Most of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies also have Western or European origins. Ponder on what that means for someone trying to succeed from a different country during a poor, rough time.

I'll put down another low level comparison. Graded schools have districts in NA, which correspond to different neighbourhoods. Quotas are often full, so you can often only go to the school within your district. But if your school is a bad school, with backwards rules and poor teaching, but you can't transfer, what are you gonna do?

I'm not that much of a patriot, but a lot of people want to achieve something "for" their country, whether out of real nationalism or self-interest, and I don't understand why it's so unbelievable or unpalatable. It's an aspect of any international competition or race, and publishing papers is a race for success. And it's all advancements in biopharma and research in this novel, so it's harmless at worst and beneficial globally at best.

Take note of what happens to immigrant workers from many current developing countries at present: even if they have degrees, once they arrive in NA/elsewhere for whatever reason, many of their degrees aren't considered valid.



Maybe because I read the MTL, but I felt like a lot of HK characters were far more ambivalent about its return to China than what I expected from the exaggerated reviews on NU. From reading reviews, I thought they were all over-the-top rhetoric reciters, but it's not true lmao. The ones fonder of its return tended to have stronger ties to the mainland, whereas a lot of Li Zheng's HK profs wanted to keep him there as their university's golden signboard but weren't that political otherwise.

I do wonder why people here find it morally fine for HK to have been colonized, though. Is colonization good when it happens to the political enemy? Really makes you think.



nationalism? Exists but is honestly reasonable overall.

Lab research wet dream? Pretty good, could've been more detailed personally, God I wish I was published in Cell already, 4.5/5 rounded up. Semi-OP golden finger but rarely do I ever find a labwork novel, soo....

Romance? ahahaha lol. Lmao. It's a lab research wet dream, not a romance novel. <<less
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xxtatilicious rated it
December 6, 2021
Status: c166
I tried, but I can't anymore. Lol. It's really weird, so weird that I can't describe it.

... more>>

I've reached the chapter where MC met Dr. Watson, Father of DNA, and it's really weird when MC (fictional character) meets real people and author describes their relationship as close or whatnot. There's Pfizer, Novartis, and such... real events/happenings solved/discovered by MC (fictional character) makes me feel weird that I can't enjoy reading the novel anymore.


I kind of feel sorry for the ML. So far, if it wasn't for the ML I doubt that there would be romance in here. I can't even consider this as slow romance tbh. It's the ML supporting the relationship. Kudos to ya! (i want a boyfriend too T_T) But hey! I've reached MTLed chapter 166, I really tried, but I can't stop cringing anymore. Haha. <<less
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