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Pham, Hoa

Entry updated 20 March 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1972-    ) Australian playwright and author, active from the early 1990s, much of whose work has been nonfantastic or fantasy. The young protagonist of The Other Shore (2014) finds herself able to communicate with the dead (see Psi Powers), and is ruthlessly exploited by her family, her government, and the dead themselves. The protagonist of Lady of the Realm (2017) suffers deeply from her prescient dreams, for the world opened to her sight – Vietnam during the war with America – is catastrophic.

Pham is of strong sf interest for Empathy (2022), which intertwines the difficult lives of a Cloned quintet of identical children, who are separated for experimental reasons (see Thought Experiment), with the Near Future development of a Drug, labelled Empathy, which enforces fellow-feeling among users. As almost mandatory in any twenty-first century novel that grasps vigorously at the nature of the human world, Empathy (like any device that harvests human for reasons good or ill) turns out to be subject to manipulations by those in power, whether or not their intentions are "benevolent". The identical sisters, some of whom communicate with each other via Telepathy, are variously impacted upon by a world of smotheringly enforced fellow-feeling. [JC]

Hoa Pham

born Hobart, Tasmania: 3 August 1972

works (selected)

  • Vixen (Sydney, New South Wales: Hodder Headline Australia/Sceptre, 2000) [pb/]
  • The Other Shore (Surrey Hills, New South Wales: Xoum Publishing, 2014) [pb/]
  • Lady of the Realm (Mission Beach, Queensland: Spinifex Press, 2017) [pb/]
  • Empathy (London: Goldsmiths Press, 2022) [pb/]


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