My first novella, City of Kaiju, is finally out! Available through Amazon and Books2Read. You can see a preview of the very first chapter here. Help support a fresh new author with a fantastic read this spring season.
Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review The Flowering by Soyeon Jeong.
Today’s short story is The Flowering by Soyeon Jeong, as featured in Clarkesworld. You can find it here. This is an interesting dystopian tale that feels a beautiful as such a story could be. Less doom and gloom and more powerful revolution. So let’s get into this.
The story focuses on two sisters in Korea, one of which is in the Yeongdeungpo prison. This heroine is at the center of a massive revolt one which involves a powerful seed that can disrupt the government’s internal censor system. But can the two sisters bring themselves to admit it?
This was a touching story that, appropriately, was beautiful to read. It didn’t have the typical doom and gloom you’d see from most dystopian stories, what with the abuse, corruption and innocents being murdered. It’s more subtle than that. The people come and go as they please, but the background is a stage for a powerful revolt.
The main dynamic was between the two sisters and was a very character focused series. The plot centered the main lead meeting her sister and reminiscing in her head about the seeds she planted, which were likely developed by her sister when she studied overseas, experiencing freedom for the first time.
The story was quite the experience. When you think of South Korea, you think of them being the opposite of their Northern brothers, a dictatorship that wants to be the center of the world. Not saying South Korea is pure (they recently ousted their PM, I believe, due to corruption), but it’s interesting seeing the “better half” go from something like our Democracy to a complete dictatorship like the north. It’s an interesting idea and no doubt a concern for South Korea. Granted, I know very little about Korea in general, but as a simple American, I don’t want to overstep my boundaries a bit. History lessons are welcome. :3
Anyway, one main item is the flowers designed to tamper with the surevallence systems. An interesting concept to take something naturally organic and turn it into a digital weapon worthy of science fiction. Biotech is reasonably common and this does blur the line between fiction and reality. I mean, I could see something like this in real life someday. Having such power from something that would be natural to the untrained eye does give off an unnerving feeling should such a thing ever come to fruition.
I mean, having such a powerful weapon would be the future of combat and espionage. We’re already being spied on by our every day items, why not natural objects where no one would think twice. It’s almost a double standard when you think about it. The tech would likely be something their enemies would produce, not an average citizen. I’d say their tech could equally be abused.
The writing is unique in that it’s first person as if she’s having a one on one interview with the reader. This would mean that this indeed happened a long time ago and the MC is recalling the tale of how her flower managed to turn the tide for the revolution against their oppressors. She would often deny admitting things and would deflect certain scenarios.
I like this type of narration considering that you wonder what goes on inside of his head and it’a more of a “telling” narration that feels more natural than most I’ve read (including my own :P). If anything, this type of unreliable narrator is probably some of the best I’ve seen. It gives enough information while leaving room to the imagination. It’s really effective. We do get backstory on the revolution and the seeds, but nothing super critical is hidden.
This story is long enough and gives enough information to make such a compact tale become something of a sci-fi thriller. It doesn’t follow the standard dystopia tropes too closely and focuses on an oppressive society that gives its people just enough to live a normal life. Yet deep down, it’a part espionage with a bit of thriller to go with it, all in a short span of 5,000 or so words. It’s really great.
+ Sci-Fi thriller
+ Unique biotech concept
+ Doesn’t follow the typical dystopia formula
+ Great story in a short span
5/5 – Amazing story.
That’s all for today. If you liked this post and want to see more, I have a Ko-Fi page set up. Why spend three bucks on a Starbucks Coffee when you can help support hard-working authors like me? Every bit helps and keeps me going. So thank you, and remember, the inn is always open.