Translated for the first time in English by Ken Liu, "Spring Festival" is the first short story collection by Xia Jia and it represents an excellent opportunity to discover one of the best writers of contemporary Chinese Speculative Fiction.
"Tongtong's Summer" revolves around a highly topical issue: the use of androids as support for a rapidly aging population. Xia Jia overturns the prejudice that elderly people are an unnecessary burden to society and imagines a surprising use for care-workers androids called Ah Fu.
"Spring Festival" tells simple stories taken from the daily life of Chinese people in the near future; the five scenes that make up the story correspond to as many emotions: Happiness, Anger, Love, Pain and Joy. here are few differences imagined by Xia Jia in China's future: people still follow traditional costumes, celebrating the Zhuazhou (the first birthday of a child) and watch the Spring Festival Gala; mothers invite their daughters to find a husband through matchmaking, old classmates get together to share memories and news while older people hope to live long. Yet something deep and subtle has changed and Xia Jia manages to show - using a gentle and never critical tone – that the influence of technology insinuates itself into the folds of human behavior.
"A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight" is set in the context of Chinese mythology and it looks like a sort of reverse Pinocchio, where a single "true" boy is confronted with the rules of a city entirely populated by strange ghosts. But how things really are? And what's true and what's not?
The incredible Xia Jia is one of China's best SF writers, and I had to have her here with this collection. I hope you'll agree! – Lavie Tidhar
"Xia Jia's language is very beautiful and she does well in creating fantastic scenes and dreamy atmospheres."– Amazing Stories
"I have really enjoyed reading Xia Jia's writing and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more translations of her work. I particularly love the way that she uses Science Fiction to explore familiar situations, using the imaginative exploration of the future to bring to life present experiences. Her characters are so interesting and full of life, even those that are ghosts, and the way that she depicts familial relationships in particularly was very appealing to me. I would definitely recommend her short stories to others and I hope more of her writing is translated soon."– Books by the Window
"Personally I've enjoyed it though I have a very limited knowledge of that topic. If you like stories that blend traditional and modern elements, this one is for you."– NetMassimo
Prologue of Tongtong's Summer
Mom said to Tongtong, "In a couple of days, Grandpa is moving in with us."
After Grandma died, Grandpa lived by himself. Mom told Tongtong that because Grandpa had been working for the revolution all his life, he just couldn't be idle. Even though he was in his eighties, he still insisted on going to the clinic every day to see patients. A few days earlier, because it was raining, he had slipped on the way back from the clinic and hurt his leg.
Luckily, he had been rushed to the hospital, where they put a plaster cast on him. With a few more days of rest and recovery, he'd be ready to be discharged.
Emphasizing her words, Mom said, "Tongtong, your grandfather is old, and he's not always in a good mood. You're old enough to be considerate. Try not to add to his unhappiness, all right?"
Tongtong nodded, thinking, But haven't I always been considerate?