“Wonjjang,” “Dhuluma,” “McWar,” and “The Broken Path”

Well, here’s my done/to-do list in terms of creative writing:


  • checked the feedback from Lime on “Wonjjang and the Madman of Pyonyang”: some good feedback, plus some basic disagreement on politics. From a Korean point-of-view, this story seems to have a very right-wing bent, though to me, it’s not so much aligned with either “right” or “left.” If the so-called Korean left gets more of a drubbing, well, it’s on their watch and under their policies that North Korea developed the nukes that inspired this tale. Anyway, I made some changes lessening the likelihood for misinterpretation of things that don’t seem offensive to foreign readers, but Koreans might take the wrong way. (Offhand things like the age of the protesters at the airport, and a couple of comments Jang Won’s mother makes.) The story is now essentially ready to mail out. I’m considering a specific market for it, but I need to wait to hear back on what I’ve already sent there, so it will be a few weeks.

To do:

  • Dhuluma No More, Brothers, and the Rains Will Come Again” needs a good tidying-up. It’s the Nth draft of this story, but much-compressed and with more believable science and tech (even if there is some bad science in it, it’s recognized by at least one character as such), a rather different setup, and a far more hopeful ending. After some tidying, this baby’s going to the Mundane SF call for Interzone.
  • McWar is a story that I have been considering for the Mundane SF call for Interzone as well. Because it was so long, I hadn’t looked into whether or not multiple submissions from one author are allowed — there’s nothing on the call site saying either way. But in review (and thanks to incisive criticisms) I’ve realized that enough of the story is extraneous that it could actually be less than 5,000 words in the end. So I guess I should look into it!
  • “The Broken Path” needs some cutting and editing. This one’s for Fantasistent’s call for Asian fantasy submissions. The deadline’s in December, which means I have some time, but since I’m also planning on doing another story — something set in the Taiping era in China, I think — I would like to get revisions done. Again, lots of extraneous stuff that could be cut, especially from the beginning.

That’s my to-do list for now. I also have an installment of my column that is overdue at the moment. But first, I have to go do some editing of someone else’s writing. Off to do that.

3 thoughts on ““Wonjjang,” “Dhuluma,” “McWar,” and “The Broken Path”

  1. “From a Korean point-of-view, this story seems to have a very right-wing bent…”

    To be honest, from an American (but anti-imperialist) perspective, even without knowing any of the local context, that story’s bent seemed fairly right-wing too–I alluded to it in my crit of the story, and we’ve had the general discussion on this blog–but we’ve had this argument before, and that political disagreement certainly didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the story, which was still one of my favorites of yours. And, again, note that I’m just talking strong disagreement here, not offensiveness. (Hell, I love Frank Miller comics, and I couldn’t possibly disagree *more* with the implied social commentary there.)

  2. I should add too that when I said the political disagreement didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the story, I don’t just mean the exuberant pulpy superhero stuff, although that’s obviously a factor. I also enjoy satire as a form, even when it’s aimed at targets that I like.

    (I mentioned Frank Miller before. Some of the satirical stuff in “Dark Knight Returns”–like liberal media pundits calling Batman a “fascist” and getting upset that he doesn’t read people there Miranda rights–is hilarious, despite the fact that I find the underlying ideology deplorable and disturbing.)

  3. Huh. Well, first off, I think part of what gave it that appearance was that it is satire. I pretty much lampooned everyone and everything in it, which seemed to appear as just negativity to Lime. On top of that, the overt politics of the piece weren’t so much “right wing” as very critical of the Korean “left wing” — though, mind you, what “right” and “left” mean in Korea is rather different than what we mean, at least as far as I understand it.

    I suspect that my being critical of the Sunshine Policy (which, let’s face it, isn’t seeming to do so hot now, and certainly wouldn’t in a world with superpowers), and of anti-American sentiments makes the story seem anti-left wing. That North Korea is presented as a villain, and not just a victimized brother to the north (pushed into a corner by the USA) is also somewhat anti-“left” here, I suspect. I mean, President Roh actually said of Kim to Bush, “Yeah, he’s a bad guy, but we don’t have to say it in public.” Not when visiting North Korea for a hastily-planned, empty-promise filled “summit” has fallen to the level of a political stunt pulled to garner votes in the upcoming election. (And everyone I’ve discussed it with has been unimpressed with the range of issues discussed.)

    The other problem is that I don’t have anything overtly anti-right wing in the story. That actually is an omission. One change I think I’m going to make is to have Director Lee and Keun Dwaeji have a past of working for one of the historical dictators, and people disliking it.

    I do find it funny how this story is seen as so right-wing, when to me it seems much more, I dunno, just critical of a certain foolhardiness on the left-wing. It must be that absence of mockery of the right wing that gives that impression. Though I have to confess, I’m not really dedicatedly right-wing or left-wing myself — I dislike, and distrust, both, since bastards usually end up leading on both sides — but my sympathies are to the left, because of the greater benefits to the majority of the population when lefty ideas aren’t carried too far.

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