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Hao Jingfang Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Vagabonds (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Hao Jingfang
Hao Jingfang was born July 27, 1984 in Tianjin, China. After finishing high school, she studied and then worked at Tsinghua University, in the area of physics.

After she noticed the economic inequality of China, she studied economics in Tsinghua University where she obtained a doctoral degree in the year 2013, and then worked as a researcher at China Development Research Foundation.

Her fiction has appeared in different publications, like Science Fiction World, Mengya, and ZUI Found.

Hao finds that being a mom influences her writing. She wrote a story about a child and artificial intelligence, and imagined every house becoming an operating system where each home appliance is able to talk with humans. In these circumstances, she wrote up dialogue between a kid and the super AI network. This idea stemmed from her observations of her child’s behavior.

She usually writes from five to seven in the morning, barely writing at all after she’s done working. During the evening, she will play with her daughter, give her a bath, then read to her, and get her to go to sleep. Usually she sleeps from about eleven at night until about four or five in the morning.

The idea for her novella “Folding Bejing” started with an image. One morning, she was shopping at a similar street market to the one described at the beginning of the story: chaotic, crowded, lively, dirty, filled with cheap goods piled everywhere. Everybody was devoted to their task of bargaining.

She thought Beijing was a city divided into different groups that didn’t interact at all in their daily lives. They had totally different habits, lifestyles, and socializing spaces; a matter of fact, they hardly ever met.

She and her friends that she was with belonged to Second Space. Due to some amount of luck and talent, they all had good educations and comfortable jobs, and they were able to see the results of these efforts and dreams of advancement. This city had two groups that they usually never saw.

One was the powerful and mysterious figures rarely seen in public but were able to decide the fate of the city, even the whole country. While the other group was made up of the laborers that lived in the crannies and nooks and borders in the city. They had no money to shop at the sorts of places she and her friends went to, nor were they even able to afford to come where they lived. Yet it all their multitudes, they supported the functioning of this huge city.

This one image spun into a whole story. The economic reality was the logical engine, and the physical idea is what animated the image.

She decided to write about a father trying to provide a better life for his daughter because political rebellion is such a cliched trope in science fiction. The unjustness of the whole world is just a part of the background, not some characteristic of a group. Everybody simply plays a role and the entire world in the story’s unjust, however no individual is the source of this injustice.

She writes this way because she wanted to reflect on our own world’s reality. The lives of the majority of people play out like tales filled with ups and downs. But few people ask about how these tales reveal the true structures of the world.

For Hao, translated fiction provides her with a great deal of help and inspiration. She started writing science fiction because translated fiction showed her wonders and it opened up some new worlds for her. She started really enjoying the novels of Neil Gaiman, which she finds to be filled with keen observations, imagination, and delicate emotions.

Hao likes that the Anglophone world takes an interest in Chinese science fiction, but finds it challenging to her to have more work translated because she’s unsure if western readers are going to like the style of Chinese fiction.

In the year 2002, when she was still in high school, she won the first prize in the fourth national high school “New Concept” writing competition. At the 2016 Hugo Awards, she won Best Novellette for “Folding Bejing”, which was translated by Ken Liu and was a finalist for a Sturgeon Award and a Locus Award.

“Vagabonds” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. Is it possible to bridge the void between two worlds?

AD 2201. Just over one century prior, the Martian colonies declared themselves independent. After one short conflict, Mars and Earth severed all ties, carving separate trajectories into the future, viewing one another with suspicion and hatred. Five years back, one group of Martian students were sent to Earth as goodwill ambassadors from the Red Planet. Now these young women and men are returning home and are escorting a delegation of some prominent Terrans to see if these two worlds are able to bridge the void that’s opened up between both of them.

Just about immediately, negotiations break down and the old enmities erupt. How can you possibly escape the gravity from the past?

Luoying, one of the Martians that’s returning, gets caught in the middle of the political intrigue and the philosophical warfare. Terrans and Martians, new mentors and old friends, statesmen and revolutionaries—everybody and everything challenges her and pushes her to declare her allegiance. Torn between her own native land and the world that she came of age on, she must find the truth amid the web of lies being spun on both sides. Luoying has to chart a course between the future and history, or face everything she has ever loved being destroyed.

This is one ambitious book that delivers on all of its promise, with a sedate pace, that was meticulously crafted. Readers found the way the character lives interspersed with the effects of their society and environment to be extremely human. These are believable characters and the world building here is outstanding, with some intrigue, action, and mystery. The conclusion suits the rest of the story, with many of the mysteries posed in the book being solved, and it leaves things open for more stories set in this world.

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