Hi everyone! Today I’ll be talking a little bit about Vagabonds, Hao Jingfang’s debut futuristic novel for my stop in the VAGABONDS blog tour by Midas PR. This has been translated by Ken Liu and has been published by Head of Zeus in hardback on 14 April 2020.
In 2096, after Earth has successfully colonised Mars, a war of independence erupts and Mars breaks away from Earth’s rule. Over the next century, two radically different societies develop, each regarding the other with mutual suspicion. Eventually, Mars sends a group of young delegates to spend five years on Earth in an attempt at reconciliation.
In 2196, the delegates are brought home to Mars, along with a group of representatives from Earth. Among them is Luoying, an eighteen-year-old dance student and the granddaughter of the governor of Mars.
As Luoying and her friends struggle to reacclimatise to Martian society, she tries to uncover the secrets of the past: what caused the mysterious deaths of her parents, and why was she really sent to Earth? Under the growing threat of interplanetary war, Luoying is left questioning the future of Mars – and man’s place on it.
– My Thoughts –
I was intrigued by the synopsis and my reading tastes begged to let in more science-fiction, which I why I chose to read Vagabonds. It was not what I expected.
Luoying is among a resident of Mars and is returning home after spending five years on Earth. She’s a part of the Mercury Group, a group of students who had been sent to study and live on Earth by Luoying’s grandfather, the chancellor of Mars. Upon her return she compares the differences between the two planets and realises that they are not so different. She wonders where she belongs now. She’s become a Vagabond.
Then there’s Eko, a filmmaker from Earth who has travelled to Mars to document the planet. He wants to see if Mars society is really a dictatorship and to find out why his beloved teacher spent so many years on Mars.
I loved the writing; it was descriptive, almost poetic in nature. However, since I’m used to fast paced, action driven plots in sci-fi’s, I lost interest in the book after the 50% mark.
With that said, I admire the author for writing this genre-bending novel which mirrors out current political climate. I encourage you, translated fiction/big books/sci-fi lover to pick up this beautifully written novel and judge it for yourself.
Many Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
– About the Author –
Hao Jingfang leads the new generation of Chinese science fiction writers. In 2016, she won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette for ‘Folding Beijing’ (also translated by Ken Liu) – the first Hugo awarded to a Chinese woman. With a PhD in economics, Hao works as a macroeconomics researcher at the China Development Research Foundation in Beijing.
Thank you for reading! Have you read any translated fiction? Do you have any sci-fi recommendations? Let me know if you plan to read Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang!