BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction, edited by Sunyoung Park and Sang Joon Park [in Booklist]

*STARRED REVIEW
Science fiction in Korea is relatively new, initially imported from the West via early-20th-century translations. By the late-1950s, the rapid modernization of postwar South Korea proffered considerable fodder for sf-writer wannabes. Over the following decades, Korea’s ongoing political, socioeconomic, and technological reinventions created fertile conditions to nurture a distinctly homegrown sf community of writers and readers.

Tenaciously indie Kaya Press launches its Magpie Series – which showcases Korean titles-in-translation that encapsulate “a reflexive picture of Korea and the breakneck speed of its changing interactions with the world” – with this collection of 13 diverse sf stories originally published in the 1960s to the 2010s.

Standouts include the titular “Readymade Boddhisattva,” about an enlightened monastery robot; “Storm between My Teeth,” featuring secret alien warriors eliminating one another while living among humans; “The Sky Walker,” about a trampoline athlete with lofty dreams; “Between Zero and One,” featuring family relationships further complicated by time travel; “Bloody Battles of the Broccoli Plain,” in which North/South aggressions carry into the future; and “Our Banished World,” about teens deducing their fatal simulation universe.

Editors Sunyoung Park and Sang Joon Park have assembled a village of translators and academics to provide additional, insightful context for each story and author, bestowing upon readers a multilayered introduction – presented in a unique layout – to contemporary Korean science fiction.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, March 15, 2019

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2019

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