Korean Science Fiction in Translation

Here’s a selection of Korean science fiction translated by the Smoking Tigers.

Tower by Bae Myung-hoon

It was ludicrous to track the power structure of a 674-story building with a population of 500,000 ; while Beanstalk looked small, it was a globally recognized sovereign state whose power structure was not so rudimentary.

I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories by Kim Bo-young

You know what they say, my friends teased, people really mellow out after an interstellar journey. Either that or go crazy.

To the Warm Horizon by Choi Jin-young

Have you heard of Korea? Is Korea still where it used to be? I was born in Korea. That’s where I met Dan and gave birth to Haerim and Haemin. That was a long time ago.

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung

I think of how great it would be, for future models, if I had them smile shyly or glance down and then up, or laugh daringly and hold out a hand, any kind of behavior, really, to simulate “personality.” I make a note of it on the chart.

“Home” by Soyeon Jeong

I didn’t tell G that the Corporation hardly ever brings back the corpses of employees who’ve died in space; that they just collect them up for a while then thrust a batch out through an atmosphere to incinerate them.

“Mars Child” by Kim Seong Joong

As we sliced through space, Mars danced in my dreams first as a ruby beetle, then as crimson clothes, then as a red cloud. I was a vessel of ice and only my dreams remained unfrozen. Some few centuries passed like a long nap.

“Aspirin” by Park Min-gyu

I don’t know what to call it even now. Shaped like a flat cylinder and clearly outlined in the sky, it was spotless and pure white but felt patently different from a cloud. How do I put it? It was harder and firmer. And it was huge. But nobody thought it was a UFO.

“Are You Gonna Keep This Up?” by Park Min-gyu

At first, they believed in the grand lie that the comet would be deflected off its path by a rocket, later they nibbled on the juicy carrot that the moon would act as a shield or that the comet would miss Earth. A great number of suspicions were raised, but the majority had an internal magnetism of unclear origin directed toward hope. Maybe it would’ve been better if I’d stayed that way too.

“Genesis” by Jeon Samhye

Only a few machines on this moon-base remain working. The satellite camera that always faces Earth, the monitor connected to that camera, the memory device, and the replay device. They run on solar power, so I suppose they’ll stay on as long as the sun exists. They’ll keep their vigil over Earth after I’m gone.