The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Kim Bo-young spends 23 years completing 'Tales of Origin of Species' trilogy

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : July 8, 2023 - 16:01

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"Tales of the Origin of Species" by Kim Bo-young (Arzak Livres)

"Tales of the Origin of Species"

By Kim Bo-young

Arzak Livres

One of the pioneers of science fiction in Korea, Kim Bo-young has now completed her three-part series, “Tales of the Origin of Species,” after 23 years. Her previous collection “On the Origin of Species and Other Stories,” which includes the first two stories of “Tales of the Origin of Species,” became the first Korean science fiction novel to be longlisted for National Book Award in Translated Literature in 2021.

In Kim’s fiction, the post-human world is turned upside down. In this world, soil and oxygen are classified as harmful substances, and robots have come up with their own definition of a living organism: “Life runs on electric energy, contains a chip, and is made in a factory.” Then one robot scientist, K, discovers a form of organic matter that grows spontaneously with oxygen. The three-part novel explores the groundbreaking discovery and the grim situation that unfolds after K and fellow robots succeed in creating plants and humans, while conflicts deepen between the robots that worship humans and those that seek to destroy humans.

In the author’s note, Kim said she began writing the first story in 2000 and completed it in 2005, wrote the sequel in 2005 and completed the final part this year. “So it’s not an exaggeration to say that each of the three stories was written by a different person. I hope you see it as a process in which a person gets older and her perspective evolves,” she said.