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.
Luoyang is returning home to Mars after spending 5 years on Earth. The Mercury Group, a group of young people had been sent to study and live on Earth by Luoyang’s grandfather, the governor or Mars.
On her return she realises the differences between the two planets is not as vast as she believed and wonders where she now belongs. She is a vagabond.
Eko, is a filmmaker on Earth and has travelled to Mars to do the same, to document the society that Earth believes is a dictatorship. He is also searching for reasons why his beloved teacher had spent many years on Mars, only to return to Earth.
This really is an epic science fiction tale, but there are no aliens, sandworms or space battles, it’s about politics and society. On Earth, thoughts and ideas are monetised, everything is about profit, pure Capitalism. On Mars, thoughts are shared, art is purely for arts sake and available to all. Money is not sought as the be all and end all and income is based on age, housing is allocated depending on which Atelier (work or section you choose to be part of) Socialism in action.
But, both societies have their problems. It’s not utopia/dystopia but a mix of both.
I loved the way this is written, the language used is almost poetic at times and I felt this is really a coming of age tale as Luoyang tries to find her place in life and where she feels she belongs and she questions her experiences both societies, the good and bad of each.
It’s not a quick read at 600 pages, but it’s beautifully written and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. I loved every minute.
Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/3a5dQt9
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From Clarkesworld magazine:
In 2002, Hao Jingfang was awarded the First Prize in the New Concept Writing Competition. She gained her undergraduate degree from Tsinghua University’s Department of Physics and her Ph.D. from the same university in Economics and Management in 2012. Her fiction has appeared in various publications, including Mengya, Science Fiction World and ZUI Found. She has published two full-length novels, Wandering Maearth and Return to Charon; a book of cultural essarys, Europe in Time; and the short story collection, Star Travellers. Her fiction has appeared before in English translation in Lightspeed and Uncanny