As one of the most representative writers of contemporary Chinese science fiction, Hao Jingfang is well known for her world-building that blends the characteristics of both utopia and dystopia, especially in Vagabonds. In line with the classic utopian dialectic in Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, Hao Jingfang has also set up two opposing worlds: the libertarian Earth that welcomes market competition and individualistic pursuit for capital and the egalitarian Martian Republic built upon scarcity and under the supervision of a central archive system that provides social welfare and protection. However, neither of the two societies is “perfect” enough to be called a true utopia. People in both societies see the other world as the negation of their own, though this, again, simply traps them in an unending cycle of “negating to negation.” Through such a process of negative hermeneutics, Vagabonds provides a dialectical paradigm with which to interrogate China’s postsocialist transition since the 1990s while invoking a utopian hope for a post-postsocialist alternative for China.

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