The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] Space opera romance set against looming war

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : June 8, 2024 - 16:01

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"The Proposal" by Bae Myung-hoon (Book House)

"The Proposal"

By Bae Myung-hoon

Book House

A leading voice in the Korean science fiction scene, author Bae Myung-hoon has revised his 2013 novella “The Proposal” after 11 years. In an extensive revision, the author rewrote almost every sentence, updating descriptions and expressions to align with contemporary sensibilities.

The book comprises 12 intimate letters sent by the narrator, "I," who is a space-born operations officer serving in the army near Jupiter, 180 hours away from Earth, to a lover living on Earth.

"I" does not hesitate to undertake the 180-hour journey to Earth to pay his girlfriend a short visit. Although "I" struggles with Earth's gravity, he still thinks it will be worth living on Earth if they can be together, and vaguely dreams of the day he can move to Earth.

However, the war in the middle of space must take place first.

Long ago, Earth built and dispatched a fleet near Jupiter, convinced that an alien fleet would attack as prophesied in ancient texts. The identity of the enemy remains unclear, and amidst suspicions of rebellion, the inspection forces are constantly monitoring the army.

The story reflects on the distances that separate us -- both physically and emotionally -- and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, ever striving to overcome these divides.

“The Proposal” is to be published in English in September, translated by Stella Kim, who also translated Bae’s sci-fi political satire “Launch Something!” Bae’s “Tower” is also available in English, translated by Sung Ryu.