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[New in Korean] Even in city overrun by mold, humans dream of stars, sunsets

Nov. 5, 2023 - 13:27 By Hwang Dong-hee

"Ground Explorers" by Kim Cho-yeop (Publion)

"Ground Explorers"

By Kim Cho-yeop


Best-selling science fiction writer Kim Cho-yeop has published her second full-length novel in two years.

While her first novel, “Greenhouse at the End of the Earth,” which sold over 150,000 copies, told a story about plants taking over the Earth, her latest dystopian sci-fi novel, “Ground Explorers,” deals with fungi.

Fungal spores that spread madness to humans take over the Earth, driving humans into dark, musty underground cities to survive. While underground, Tae-rin hopes to reach the Earth's surface more than anyone else. She wants to become a “ground explorer” and explore the Earth’s surface like her teacher. While taking the dispatcher exam, she hears a strange voice inside her head.

The novel tells the story of the dispatchers who explore the fungus-covered Earth and eventually discover a surprising truth. Tae-rin goes through rigorous training and tests to qualify as a dispatcher. She finally ascends to the longed-for surface and undertakes an epic journey. She dreams of sunsets and stars, even under the surface where she cannot see the light.

One of the leading voices in Korea's sci-fi literary scene, Kim, who has many young generation followers, is now gaining popularity in China as well. Her short story collection, "If We Can't Go at the Speed of Light," won two sci-fi literary awards in China: The Galaxy Awards and The Nebula Awards in the translation category, in October and May, respectively. She is the first non-Chinese author to achieve this feat.

"Greenhouse at the End of the Earth" will also be adapted into a drama.

New in Korean