Delightfully Satirical Sci-fi Shorts: U, Robot by Djuna et al.

  • onOctober 20, 2014
  • Vol.4 Summer 2009
  • byJung Yeo-ul

In Korea, genre fiction such as sci-fi and fantasy has been expanding it fan base in recent years. U, Robot is a collection of sci-fi short stories born of the ingenious imaginations of ten leading Korean sci-fi writers. The history of science fiction writing in Korea has only just begun, but the demand for sci-fi among devoted fans and the burgeoning online sci-fi community prove sci-fi to be a promising genre.

The readers are invited to a unique world of imagination through “U, Robot,” a story of a scientist who raises a robot daughter for research purposes but does not consider it as her own child until one day when the robot is kidnapped; in “Universe Layout,” the dreams and despair of one human being who wants to travel to space are interwoven with a game of checkers; and in “Manual,” the end of the world finally does come, but goes unnoticed. In “Department of the Future,” a society receives future information and technology from their offspring living in the future. Tension rises as the Department of the Future discovers a possible nuclear missile attack using the technology of the future.

Far from a display of scientific knowledge or a pursuit of complex scientific theories, these stories arise from ideas that occur in the daily lives of contemporary society. The stories are an allegory of humans today who grapple with numerous conflicts and contradictions that even the most brilliant advances of science technology cannot solve. Through the genre of science fiction, the writers do not criticize science technology itself, but the modern ruling classes that use science to gradually turn human beings into tools. By portraying the dystopia of the future, the stories delightfully satirize the present.