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FICTION

The Parade of a Surreal Imagination: The Zero G Syndrome by Yun Ko-eun

  • onOctober 20, 2014
  • Vol.3 Spring 2009
  • byJung Yeo-ul
The Zero G Syndrome
2008
296pp.

In the 21st century, Korean society has been roaring with praise for the imagination –brilliant ideas that do away with the tedium of everyday life, keen insight in predicting the future, and the boldness to change reality through imagination. Imagination is considered the panacea for the lethargy of society at large, as well as the key for the education of gifted children. The Zero G Syndrome by Yun Ko-eun feels like the parade of a surreal imagination, perfect for such a society. Nosibo, a 25-year old man who works for a real estate company, is a newsaholic, always thirsting for more news. He is a modern man, addicted to the momentary sensation of pleasure brought by new events. One day, the most dramatic news of his life is reported on: a new moon has emerged. With two moons in the sky, society goes into an uproar, and all kinds of unsettling rumors hover in the air. A unique imagination that poses the question, “What will happen to mankind in the process of the two moons diverging into six?” ignites the plot of The Zero G Syndrome.

In the book, mankind dreams of a new life, even up to the point where there are three moons. People who want to migrate to the moon call themselves non-gravitational, and jump off buildings or leave their homes unannounced in order to leave earth. The society is inundated with violence and runaways, suicide, and disease. Soon, there are four moons. People now begin to see the moons as resources or real estate. When the moons are put on sale, they sell out in no time. The president of the company where Nosibo works steps forward to sell the moon in order to overcome the recession. Nosibo thinks, “No one made thoughtless remarks, and no one made terror attacks. No animal seized the streets, and no larva was found in the sweets. The only news making the headlines was that of the political or of the entertainment world, moving in a mechanical manner. Campaign pledges still ended up as empty promises, and the National Assembly building still bred all kinds of 'gates', large and small. But everything seemed to move according to a fixed scenario. When there was nothing happening in the world, I felt like a nobody and became depressed.”

The reader now realizes that the imagination of Yun Ko-eun, a newcomer, is not about the unknown future, but the here and now. In a humorous way, she depicts the greed and ennui of mankind that will never change, even with six moons. Her imagination is not a means to escape reality, but a healthy struggle to become more deeply rooted in it. 

Author's Profile

Yun Ko-eun (b. 1980) made her literary debut when she won the Daesan Collegiate Literary Prize in 2004. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Table For One, and the novel, The Zero G Syndrome.