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Korean Publishers

 

Hubble

The Happy Imagination of Tomorrow

 

2021.08.02

 

We are living in an era where Sci-Fi has become mainstream. The genre grew exponentially in Korea compared to 5 years ago, and the readership has become younger. Hubble, the Sci-Fi brand of publisher East Asia Books, stands as a leading publisher in Sci-Fi literature in Korea, hosting and organizing the Korean Science Literature Award. Following is an interview with publisher Hubble, which creates Korean-style Sci-Fi books that add stories of the marginalized such as the socially weak and minorities, to traditional Sci-Fi and interprets them from various perspectives.

 

Logo of publisher Hubble

 

Please introduce yourself to overseas publishers.

 

Hi, I’m Kim Hak-Je, the lead editor at Hubble. We borrowed the name “Hubble” from the Hubble Space Telescope. Just like how the telescope observes “stars’ past” 100 million light-years away, publisher Hubble aims to become a telescope that observes the “future of Korean Sci-Fi” and the “universe between the readers and us.” Hubble was founded in 2016 along with the establishing of the first Korean Science Literature Award, the one and only literary award for amateur Sci-Fi writers in Korea. Our representative titles are If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light and A Thousand Blues. which were loved by 200 thousand and 50 thousand readers, respectively. Both are the debut works of writer Kim Cho-Yeop and Chun Sun-Ran at the Korean Science Literature Award. Along with such success cases, the award is increasing the scale of prizes in line with its growing reputation. In addition, Studiodragon, one of the greatest drama production companies, will be joining them from this year.

 

What is the screening standard of the Korean Science Literature Award hosted by Hubble?

 

The award gives full responsibility to the juries. Hence, we only have an indirect influence on how the juries are selected. We don’t have a particular criterion or standard for choosing the juries – we tend to invite writers and critics recognized in the Sci-Fi world. Yet, as we will be hosting the award with Studiodragon from this year and on, we are thinking of recruiting people prominent in the film and drama industries. Studiodragon also does not interfere with the screening.

 

What is the export status of Hubble’s works?

 

The publication rights of writer Kim Cho-Yeop’s If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light were exported to Japan, China, Taiwan, and Spain, while those of Chun Sun-Ran’s A Thousand Blues were exported to Japan and Germany. The one that was actually translated and published was If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light, with the Japanese title わたしたちが光の速さで進めないなら. And Hubble also recently participated in the Online Publishers Roundtable hosted by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. In the course of exchanging thoughts with literary people from around the world, we could see that many of them were highly interested in Korean Sci-Fi and especially Hubble, the publisher at its center. We expect Hubble to export more works, including the aforementioned two titles taking this opportunity.

 

 

Publisher Hubble aims to become the telescope
that observes the “future of Korean Sci-Fi” and the “universe between you and us.”

 

 

What is the reason Hubble chose to specialize in Sci-Fi among all other genres?

 

Publisher East Asia is renowned for transforming science as a genre into liberal arts. As it was the first publisher to realize that the generational discourse is eyeing scientific thinking, it could see that literary discourse was also heading towards science. And as publisher East Asia had a firm foundation of science writers and readership, it could launch a Sci-Fi brand relatively without difficulty.

 

What does publisher Hubble think is the appeal of Sci-Fi genre literature?

 

Let’s begin with how the Sci-Fi boom in Korea began in the first place. Sci-Fi in Korea has met a new readership. If it was mainly the 40s reading Sci-Fi works, it is the 20s and 30s, women, today. As the new readers came from the existing literary world, the “Sci-Fi boom” can be referred to as the “readers’ shift from traditional literature to Sci-Fi.” The female readers in their 20s and 30s have been yearning for language that represents the socially weak and minorities, including women. The literary world responded to their demand to a certain extent, but as they directly discuss the indifferent reality, they were not an adequate “tool for solidarity.” Meanwhile, Sci-Fi can indirectly touch upon such topics through the virtual world derived from the physical world. So, even though Sci-Fi books talk about the apathetic society just like traditional literature, they might sound softer, as they have a filter called the virtual world. We think that such softness of Sci-Fi books was found attractive by female readers in their 20s and 30s. In other words, we believe that the appeals of Sci-Fi today come from the genre’s nature which makes it adequate as a language of solidarity and sympathy against social discrimination and violence.

 

Is there a fun way readers can enjoy Hubble’s books?

 

Many readers pick the cover designs when they think of publisher Hubble. Before the rise of the Sci-Fi boom in 2019, Sci-Fi was regarded as a groundless and childish genre. Such stereotypes made it hard for us to interact with readers. No matter how good the work could be, it is useless if there are no readers. So, we first had to handle the stereotype surrounding “Sci-Fi fiction.” The solution we came up with was realizing the world view of Sci-Fi in the cover design. If traditional literature expresses a human’s inner self with writing style and sentences, Sci-Fi uses its scientific world view as the window. We believed that if we show the extraordinary worldview unique to Sci-Fi collaborating with famous illustrators, we might be able to at least clear the false understanding that the genre is just dreamy. And fortunately, the readers were positive about this strategy. Hubble will continue our efforts in cover designs. Even the tiny illustrative details on the cover are all related to the work. If you read the story and compare it with the cover design in between, you might be able to find more fun reading it.

 

Please recommend to us some of your popular books.

 

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If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light, A Thousand Blues, Gipa

 

Kim Cho-Yeop’s novel collection: If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light
If We Cannot Move at the Speed of Light played a major role in the Sci-Fi boom in Korea in 2019, loved by 200 thousand readers until today. The collection includes the winning work of the Korean Science Literature Award in 2017 and runner-ups. The charming point of the collection and the keyword that represents seven short novels is “sympathy and solidarity.” Abnormal people, losers, and those stigmatized as minorities appear in her stories. However, as they are not alone, they grow their communal imagination together. The imagination of solidary they struggled to preserve expands into the imagination of the entire world. Such a storyline asks readers what makes us thrive in a world filled with hatred and discrimination.

 

Chun Sun-Ran’s full-length novel: A Thousand Blues
Beloved by 50 thousand readers up to date, A Thousand Blues is the work that continued the Sci-Fi boom in Korea until 2020. It won the grand prize in the 2019 Korean Science Literature Award for full-length novels. The keyword and charming points of this book are also “sympathy and solidarity.” Yet, as the solidarity it talks about is of animals, robots, and species beyond humanity, its topic encompasses many issues such as animal rights, going beyond human rights. In a world where minors and the weak are marginalized, the protagonists show themselves how not to leave anyone behind and rather go together. The strong solidarity of those in the shadows makes readers feel strong happiness.

* K-Book Trends Vol. 30 – Interview of writer Chun Sun-Ran

 

Park Hae-Ul’s full-length novel: Gipa
Gipa won the grand prize for full-length novels in the 2018 Korean Science Literature Award. The keyword and appealing points of this work are “Changiparangga (poem to honor Giparang, a “Hwarang (also known as Flowering Knights, an elite warrior group of male youth in Silla, an ancient kingdom of the Korean Peninsula)”)” and “Sci-Fi mystery.” As a thriller-mystery featuring cases that take place on a super luxurious space cruise where only perfect human beings work as staff rather than poor machine-humans, the story’s motif came from “Changiparangga,” an old Korean folk song in a poetry style written during the Silla Dynasty. To the question “Can scientific advancement really improve the quality of life?”, the world view of Gipa replies that it can’t be positive. However, at the same time, it shows hope in this world through the characters that struggle and thrive together.

 

Please introduce and recommend Hubble’s new titles.

 

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We Have Decided to Leave This Planet, Word is Coming Down, Faces of the Night

 

Chun Sun-Ran and 4 others: We Have Decided to Leave This Planet
This is a women’s Sci-Fi anthology published on March 8, International Women’s Day. Four of the authors are former winners of the Korean Science Literature Award. The keyword and the appealing point encompassing the five short stories are “feminism” and “planet.” Each of the five stories is a shining story where women live as their own amazing beings anywhere they are. Sci-Fi imagination is added to expand their space into the outer universe going beyond the planet Earth.

 

Oh Jeong-Yeon’s short story collection: Word is Coming Down
This is the first short story collection of writer Oh Jeong-Yeon, the winner of the runner-up award for short- and medium-length stories of the Korean Science Literature Award in 2017. She has quite a unique career – she studied video management and preservation in five cities, four countries, and three continents. The keyword and charming points that penetrate the seven short stories are “sentiments of strangers” and “feminism.” The “strangers’ sentiments” inside the writer are transformed into beings floating around the universe alone. The collection consists of stories where such begins obtain the gravity of mind and live on their life in a new place they settle.

 

Hwang Mogua’s short story collection: Faces of the Night
This is the first short story collection of Hwang Mogua, who won the grand prize for short- and middle-length stories of the 2019 Korean Science Literature Award. The writer has been working as an assistant illustrator for comics in Japan for 15 years. The keyword and the charming point of the six short stories are “the history of Korea and Japan” and “realization of memory.” All the stories in the collection have the unique jaunty style of Japanese cartoons, but inside, there are people who have lost their faces to the shadow of history and memory. They appear in front of us with Sci-Fi technologies, and the violence and oppression of the victims of historical incidents continue as our sorrow today.

 

 

We are planning to present works that break down the boundaries that we think are dividing realms.

 

 

What are your future plans?

 

As the answer to the question you asked earlier about the screening criteria, we said that Hubble hopes to become a language of sympathy and solidarity that goes beyond genres, generations, and national borders. So, as the plan for that, Hubble is preparing two new fiction series. One is a Korean fiction series titled “Chowal (meaning transcendence).” With the goal of surpassing the genre’s limitations, we are preparing to present Sci-Fi stories written by traditional literature writers or those of other genres who have never written a Sci-Fi story before. Another one is titled “Warp,” which is a foreign fiction series. Aiming to progress beyond the era’s limitations, the series will be showcasing Sci-Fi that suits the taste of current Korean readers, not that of the American readers from the past. We will first successfully launch the two series transcending the boundaries of genre and generation, and then prepare other series that even go beyond national borders.
Publisher Hubble has been presenting the freshest works to domestic readers through SFnal, a yearly collection of Sci-Fi stories released each year worldwide with the fastest translation along with the one and only Sci-Fi literary award for amateur writers “Korean Science Literature Award.” Also, we are thinking of making works that break down the boundaries that we think are dividing realms through Chowal and Warp. We ask for your continuous support. Thank you.

 

 

Website  hubble.page
Blog blog.naver.com/dongasiabook
Facebook ko-kr.facebook.com/dongasiabooks
Twitter  twitter.com/in_hubble

 

 


Organized by Lee Ji-Hyeon

 

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#Hubble#East Asia#Sci-Fi#Korean Science Literature Award#Science
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