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Book Talk: "Your Utopia"Courtesy of Algonquin Books, edited

Book Talk: "Your Utopia"

Presentation Room (1st Floor, YRL)

Filled with author's inimitable blend of horror, absurdity, and dark humor, and set in near and distant futures that reflect our deepest fears and desires, the stories in YOUR UTOPIA take place in different, off-kilter yet sometimes uncannily familiar settings. They are sometimes creepy, sometimes somewhat revolting, sometimes droll, and sometimes, perhaps unlike Cursed Bunny, surprisingly tender. In “The Center for Immortality Research,” a low-level employee runs herself ragged planning a gala for donors, only to be blamed for the chaos that ensues during the event in front of the mysterious celebrity benefactors hoping to live forever. But she can’t be fired—no one can. In “A Song for Sleep,” an AI elevator in an apartment complex develops a tender, one-sided love for an elderly resident. “Seeds” traverses the final frontier of capitalism’s destruction of the planet—but nature has ways of creeping back to life. Readers will experience a variety of possible fates for humanity, from total demise via a disease whose only symptom is casual cannibalism to a world in which even dreams can be monitored and used to convict people of crimes.

With YOUR UTOPIA, Bora Chung hopes to provide readers with a collection of stories that explore the limits of humanity to re-discover what it means to be human. Like all other works of science and speculative fiction, YOUR UTOPIA is ultimately about human beings: who we are and what we will be as the Anthropocene era reaches its peak and eventual demise.  

Bora Chung writes fiction and translates Russian and Polish literature. She has an MA in Russian area studies from Yale University and Ph.D in Slavic literature from Indiana University. Cursed Bunny, a collection of short stories, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022 and became a finalist for the National Book Awards in 2023. Bora likes dark and magical stories and stories about strong women who fight to survive in an unjust and violent world.

Christopher Hanscom is a professor of modern Korean literature in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. He is the author of Impossible Speech (2024) and The Real Modern (2013), as well as coeditor of The Affect of Difference (2016) and Imperatives of Culture (2013).

Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies

22 Apr 24
4:30 PM -

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