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A Fantasy Feast: An Anthology of Korean Fantasy Short Stories by Kim Choul-gon et al.

  • onOctober 20, 2014
  • Vol.2 Winter 2008
  • byLee Hak-young
An Anthology of Korean Fantasy Short Stories
2008
357pp.

Fantasy novels inhabit mysterious realms where reason and common sense no longer govern and modern science can no longer explain. Therefore, the stories in this collection challenge readers’ common sense with vampires, monsters, dragons, and magicians. However, a fantasy novel is a world that was cultivated by a seed of reality within a culture ripe with imagination. The stories in this collection reveal that Korean fantasy novels have a unique style which is a mix of myths, occult, science fiction, and romance, both from Western traditions and narrations, as well as tales and mysteries from Eastern traditions.

Introspection on human greed and selfishness is a theme that flourishes particularly well in a culture rich with imagination. Borrowing motifs from the Greek myth of Pygmalion, “Ivory Lady” follows Galateia, a beautiful woman created through human cloning. Like the myth, she receives life by human hands, but the researchers ruthlessly kill her when she starts showing signs of maladjustment.

“Canary” and “Breeding” are stories about vampires who, respectively, desperately try to turn back into normal human beings, and vampires who are chased by human vampire hunters trying to steal and sell their blood. In “Voice,” a goblin with a grudge against an arrogant, young student, later steals the voice of the student’s son. Stories like “Wind Dreamer” and “The World is Robbed” testify to the violence of human civilization. “Wind Dreamer” depicts the pressure of a powerful group that tries to monopolize a flying stone, an imaginative material, while “The World is Robbed” depicts the future of humankind based on parallel dimension theories. With this collection, we can see how Korean fantasy literature is being fed by a wild and varied imagination.