In the titular story, a man writes letters to his fiancé from a spaceship while he travels back in time. Their plan was to be married on Earth, before it was destroyed. The second novella-length story has awesome world building and a fear-mongering alien prophet. These are inventive speculative ideas told in straightforward prose. Fans of Ted Chiang and Ken Liu will love this book.— Jason
“Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in Matrix, Inception, and Dark City, still it leads us to this entirely original structure, which is a ground-breaking, mystic literary and cinematic experience. Indeed, powerful and graceful.”—Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning director of Parasite
In this mind-expanding work of speculative fiction, available in English for the first time, one of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity—love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence—in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.
Two worlds, four stories, infinite possibilities
In “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure—through relativity—they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.
In “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth—from the richest woman to a speck of dirt—is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion—a disease—that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose “child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order—and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as she considers the most basic of questions: who am I?
“Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in Matrix, Inception, and Dark City, still it leads us to this entirely original structure, which is a ground-breaking, mystic literary and cinematic experience. Indeed, powerful and graceful.” — Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning director of Parasite
“In four paired short stories, Korean science-fiction doyenne Kim imagines the vanishingly distant future….Playing with notions of immortality and toying with improbable transgressions of the laws of physics, Kim delivers a suite of stories that is at once lyrical and full of foreboding, keeping dramatic tensions tight among poetic evocations of a home planet that is ‘our hall of learning, our cradle of experience, our short-term interactive training ground,’ if one we have also destroyed. Much of the best science fiction is coming from East Asia, and Kim’s work ranks high in that emerging tradition.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This is a book as much about the process of translation as it is about science fiction, Buddhism and how to live among people...The purpose of the book is to showcase not so much a collection of narratives but the love and respect between several people working together, sharing their minds across languages and distance to beautiful, dizzying effect."
— New York Times
"Bold, inventive, and utterly unforgettable, Bo-Young's stories are designed to take your breath away." — Popsugar
"The epistolary nature of the lovers’ story gives readers a chance to empathize with the characters; to feel the dilemmas, the triumphs, and the lows of the two lovers. The straightforward narrative of the gods’ featurette is a surreal swirl of ideas that weaves the reader through the tale...This is thought-provoking science fiction that will leave readers musing long after the book is finished." — Library Journal
"A beautiful, earnest exploration of the mind, body, and spirit across time and space. These stories will break your heart, then lovingly knit it back together again." — Marina Lostetter, author of the Noumenon trilogy
“Where does humanity end and the universe begin? What are the limits of love and hope? What is the difference between creation and destruction? These are big questions, but Bo-Young’s attempt to bring shape to them in these stories is stunning, humbling and utterly beautiful.” — BookPage
“I don’t know what went wrong, or when it started, but everything’s a mess. In I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories Kim Bo-Young has perfectly captured the longing and isolation of our contemporary moment, but depicted against landscapes and realms that are utterly fresh. With stories that manage to present fantastical realities, ask philosophical questions, and weave exciting plots, Kim Bo-Young has given us a timely reminder that longing and heartbreak can be as infinite as the universe, but also just as lovely." — Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds
"This translation will help fill in some of the gaps in the availability of Korean sf in English, as well as please readers who enjoy lyrical, philosophical sf stories." — Booklist