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Future Treasures: Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

Vagabonds-small Vagabonds-back-small

Jacket design by Jonathan Bush

Hao Jingfang won the Hugo Award in 2016 for her novelette “Folding Beijing,” translated by Ken Liu and published in the January/February 2015 issue of Uncanny magazine (you can read the complete story at the Uncanny website here). Her debut novel is one of the most anticipated books of the year; it finally arrives in two weeks from Saga Press.

A century after the Martian war of independence, a group of children are selected to travel to Earth as delegates. Five years later they return to Mars, only to find themselves caught between two worlds and two cultures… and facing some difficult questions. Kirkus Reviews calls it “Social science fiction…. a thoughtful debut” in its online review:

The year is 2201. Just over a hundred years ago, the Martian colonies fought and won a war of independence against Earth, and since then, the two planets have diverged sociologically. In Hao’s incisive and all-too-plausible extrapolation, Earth embodies the triumph of Western laissez faire capitalism driven by the internet’s savagely competitive social media. Mars, technologically much more advanced and apparently utopian — and here the author treads more cautiously — persuasively represents what benevolent Chinese communo-capitalism might possibly evolve into. Consequently, mutual suspicion and resentment bordering on outright hostility dominate the Earth-Mars relationship….

A thoughtful debut with ample scope for reader engagement.

Read the complete review here.

Vagabonds is translated by Ken Liu, and will be published by Saga Press on April 14, 2020. It is 603 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover and $14.99 in digital formats. The cover design is by Jonathan Bush. Read a lengthy excerpt (the complete 16-page first chapter, titled The Ship) at the Simon & Schuster website. See all of our recent coverage of the best upcoming SF and fantasy here.

1 Comment »

  1. The background seems somewhat trite… however I will give it a chance. I really enjoyed “Folding Beijing”.

    Comment by S. Dole Melipone - April 6, 2020 11:58 pm


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