Sang Joon Park
Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction
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 thirteen classic and contemporary stories from the 1960s through the 2010s. From the re-imagining of an Asimovian robot inside the walls of a Buddhist temple, a post-apocalyptic face-off between South and North Korean refugees on a distant planet, to a disabled woman’s fight 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, 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 Bok Geo-il, Choi In-Hun, Djuna, Jeong Soyeon, Kim Bo-Young, Kim Changgyu, Kim Jung-hyuk, Kim Young-ha, Lim Taewoon, Mun Yunseong, Pak Min-gyu, Park Seonghwan, and Yun I-Hyeong.
“Taken as a whole, Readymade Bodhisattva is a stunning showcase for South Korean science fiction” -Yoon Ha Lee, author of Machineries of Empire trilogy, Korean Literature Now
“For those of us whose exposure to the contemporary Korean imagination has been mostly limited to the inescapable (K-Pop) and the quirkily innovative (film and TV like Snowpiercer, The Host, Train to Busan, Kingdom), it’s something of a revelation, since as far as I can tell, few of these writers have appeared in English before.” – Gary K. Wolfe, Locus
“A postapocalyptic, dystopian aesthetic and a sense of the individual’s self-exploration in the face of huge forces threads through almost all of the work” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Editors Park and 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” – Terry Hong, Booklist