cover image Counterweight


Djuna, trans. from the Korean by Anton Hur. Pantheon, $24 (176p) ISBN 978-0-593-31721-1

South Korean sci-fi luminary Djuna makes their English-language debut with a tremendously propulsive thrill ride that would be at home on shelves beside such heavyweights as Doctorow, Stephenson, and Dick. On a former resort island, South Korean megacorporation LK has set up a factory city that powers the construction of LK’s space elevator. LK’s External Affairs spymaster, Mac, is kept busy finding anyone who might pose a threat to this mission. Choi Gangwu, a low-ranking LK employee obsessed with the space elevator, doesn’t seem terribly interesting to Mac when he turns up on a captured terrorist’s intel list—until Mac meets him. Choi Gangwu himself doesn’t know why, but he has fragments implanted in his brain of another personality, which belongs to the most important man in the world: LK’s recently deceased president, Han Junghyuk. Now Mac must protect Choi Gangwu from everyone who wants Han Junghyuk’s secrets—and find out what Han Junghyuk would defy death to see accomplished. Hur’s translation is zippy and often quite funny as the cinematic plot unfolds, packing in both twisty cyberespionage and deep questions about legacies, AI, and the price worth paying to do something truly great. English-speaking readers have been missing out. Agent: Jinhee Park, Greenbook Literary. (July)