The first novel from the Hugo Award-winning author of 'Folding Beijing', translated by Ken Liu.
Can the void between two worlds be bridged?
AD2201. Just over a century ago, the Martian colonies declared their independence. After a brief conflict, Earth and Mars cut ties, carving separate trajectories into the future, viewing each other with suspicion and even hatred. Five years ago, a group of Martian students were sent to Earth as goodwill ambassadors from the Red Planet. Now the young men and women are coming home, escorting a delegation of prominent Terrans to see if the two worlds can bridge the void that has opened up between them.
Almost immediately, negotiations break down and old enmities erupt.
How do you escape the gravity of the past?
Luoying, one of the returning Martians, is caught amidst the political intrigue and philosophical warfare. Martians and Terrans, old friends and new mentors, statesmen and revolutionaries – everything and everyone challenges her, pushing her to declare her allegiance. Torn between her native land and the world on which she came of age, Luoying must discover the truth amid a web of lies spun by both sides, she must chart a course between history and the future, or face the destruction of everything she's ever loved.
Hugo Award winner Jingfang's cerebral, futuristic debut explores the interplay between societal values and individual dreams in crisp, gorgeous prose. Luoying is a member of the Mercury Group, a group of teenagers born and raised on Mars sent to study on Earth for five years as part of a cultural exchange. Upon returning to their home planet, the students feel disconnected from their people. Having spent nearly a third of their lives in the highly materialistic capitalist Terran society, they struggle to reintegrate into the serene, seemingly utopian Martian republic. As Luoying strives to find her place in her old world, she grows suspicious of her grandfather, the current consul of Mars, and his involvement in both the deaths of her parents and her selection for the Mercury Group. Luoying's growing disillusionment with Martian society is nimbly handled, as Jingfang vilifies neither capitalism nor communism, allowing for complex political commentary grounded in her characters' emotions. Though some readers may grow frustrated by the novel's slow pacing, the carefully considered quality of the language mirrors the thoughtful story being told. Fans of literary science fiction will relish this challenging tale.