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Readymade Bodhisattva

Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction presents the first book-length English-language translation of science and speculative fiction from South Korea, bringing together 13 classic and contemporary stories from the 1960s through the 2010s. From the reimagining of an Asimovian robot inside the walls of a Buddhist temple and a postapocalyptic showdown between South and North Korean refugees on a faraway planet to a fictional recollection of a disabled woman’s struggle to join an international space mission, these stories showcase the thematic and stylistic versatility of South Korean science-fiction writers in its wide array. At once conversant with the global science-fiction tradition and thick with local historical specificities, their works resonate with other popular cultural products of South Korea–from K-pop and K-drama to videogames, which owe part of their appeal to their pulsating technocultural edge and their ability to play off familiar tropes in unexpected ways.

Coming from a country renowned for its hi-tech industry and ultraspeed broadband yet mired in the unfinished Cold War, South Korean science fiction offers us fresh perspectives on global technoindustrial modernity and its human consequences. The book also features a critical introduction, an essay on SF fandom in South Korea, and contextualizing information and annotations for each story.

Authors include Geo-il Bok, In-Hun Choi, Djuna, Soyeon Jeong, Bo-Young Kim, Changgyu Kim, Jung-hyuk Kim, Young-ha Kim, Taewoon Lim, Yunseong Mun, Seonghwan Park, Min-gyu Pak, I-Hyeong Yun, Seonghwan Park, Mingyu Pak and I-Hyeong Yun.

The collection contains the following titles:

Mun Yunseong: Perfect Society (1965) tr Sunyoung Park, Dagmar van Engen
Ch’oe In-hun: Empire Radio, Live Transmission (The Voice of the Governor-General) (1967) tr Jenny Wang Medina
Park Seonghwan: Readymade Bodhisattva (2004) tr Jihyun Park, Gord Sellar
Bok Geo-il: Along the Fragments of my Body (2006) tr Travis Workman
Kim Young-ha: Quiz show (2007) tr Haerin Shin
Yun I-hyeong: The Sky Walker (2008) tr Kyunghee Eo
Jeong Soyeon: Cosmic Go (2009) tr Kimberly Chung
Kim Bo-young: Between Zero and One (2009) tr Eunhae Jo, Melissa Mei-lin Chan
Lim Taewoon: Storm Between my Teeth (2009) tr Sunyoung Park, Randi Vaughan
Djuna: The Bloody Battle of Broccoli Plain (2011) tr Adrian Thieret
Park Min-gyu: Roadkill (2011) tr Esther Song, Gord Sellar
Kim Jung-hyuk: Where boats go (2015) tr Sora Kim-Russell
Kim Changgyu: Our banished World (2016) tr Jihyun Park, Gord Sellar

LKL says:

We’re currently half way through this, and apart from Choi In-hun’s rather heavy-going Empire Radio, Live Transmission (also known as The Voice of the Governor-General) – which we found ourselves skim-reading – this collection contains some gems. Please will someone publish Kim Young-ha’s Quiz Show and Mun Yunseong’s Perfect Society in full? These extracts really whet the appetite for more. And we loved Lim Taewoon’s Storm Between my Teeth

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.