If You’ve Emailed Me…

… or left a comment, or tried to call and not gotten a response:

Sorry, but we’ve been moving house!

This means that right now is my brief and perhaps my last internet connection for the next day or two. The campus network’s security system is allergic to Linux, or maybe to having two computers hook up on a shared wireless account, I’m not sure which (or maybe it’s both), so while I’m going to set up the wireless router upstairs, it may not work for me until Monday when the befuddled internet guys get called in to fix it all up. So if I haven’t emailed you back today, I probably won’t tomorrow, but I’ll try get on it Monday. I’ll be in my office all day Monday and Tuesday, awaiting students who want to talk about their midterm essays/projects, and I usually can get decent wireless access there. I have a feeling Monday and Tuesday will be big email days. (Well, once I get a big hunk of editing out of the way.)

As for the move, well, if you’re interested, I feel like blathering about it…

The new place is just one flight up — in fact, exactly one flight up, neither east nor west, into the apartment directly above our old one. We (luckily, after a bit of fit throwing) got some Physical Plant guys to show up as we were told they would, and they moved the heavy stuff — bookcases, my desk, the fridge — upstairs. The rest, Lime and I did. (Mostly I did, but that’s because most of this crap is neither hers nor ours, but mine. Tons of books being the main culprit possession.

Also, we had to run the cat down to the vet. We’d spent most of yesterday moving, and she ended up exploring the new place rather eagerly. The mistake, we fear, was coming back downstairs and sleeping in the old place for one last night: the cat seemed freaked out by seeing her home devoid of furniture, though I think the real culprit was what she ate. Lime figured the cat might adjust more happily if provided with a nice snack, and since she’s loved every soft food we’ve given her before, she busted out one of the sample pouches that was sent along with the cat supplies we’d ordered.

Well, it seems I really can sleep through anything. Such as a cat whining and mewling and throwing up every half hour from about midnight to about 6:00 am. Worse, the cat continued (at a slower pace) after I woke up, throwing up at least twice in the morning while Lime slept. Still, until noon she seemed okay: playful, vocal, and energetic. Well, after lunch, she started to seem weak. She wasn’t eager to drink water, she wouldn’t eat, and when she tried to meow, a hoarse, raspy sound came out — much worse than in the morning, though, which seemed weird to us.

So we took her down to the vet, who used a nebulizer on her — which cleared up a lot — and then gave us some meds for her, plus some very soft food for her to have for dinner. She seems okay now, even before her first hit of meds, though her voice is still very, very hoarse.

Then we got back home and started moving stuff again. I’m now using one of the last things in the apartment — my computer. I’ll be moving these last bits of hardware up in a few minutes, and then, I don’t know, sorting stuff to sort tomorrow. We missed a Yo La Tengo concert for this move — Yo La Tengo! I cannot say how much that hurt! — but all in all, it’s still worth it to be in this new place. It’s smaller — to the tune of one room smaller — but it has a storage room, a much bigger and nicer kitchen, and was remodeled much more recently than our old place. I don’t know, there’s just a much nicer vibe up there. Lime and I finally split our books neatly, so that the living room has all mine — a whole wall of books — and the bedroom has all of hers (half a wall, because most of her books are still in Jeonju).

Speaking of Lime and books, she’s reading Ted Chiang in translation and seems very impressed. I’ll have to write about that: Ted Chiang is the subject of a great deal of attention in SF circles here in Korea. But for now, I’m just going to sign off, so I can relax before midnight comes.

2 thoughts on “If You’ve Emailed Me…

  1. That’s a good question.

    I’m not exactly sure, as I haven’t read the essays I ran across. (Time intensive!) I’d have to guess (note: guess!) these reasons are among those in play:

    1. Ted’s an excellent writer. I mean like, the guy’s the writer’s version of Tiger Woods or something. He produces outstanding work consistently. It’s hard not to attract attention.

    2. He has won a pretty impressive number of awards. In Korea, things like test scores, industry awards, and the like — the external, official confirmations of success or quality — are taken somewhat more seriously than in the West. (Or, perhaps, I should say, official tests and award systems are viewed with less skepticism here than among Westerners. People may have a sense of the process being like those involved in making law and sausage, but I think people still put a LOT of stock into the significance of awards here.) Note that I’m not implying Ted didn’t deserve those awards — he deserves every last one — but that in Korean society, awards are probably likelier to predispose people to see someone as significant.

    3. His work is all short, meaning it’s likelier to have arrived in Korea in translation — though I’d have to check to see how much of his work was translated and published here prior to the full collection. In any case, the shortness would also make reading the work in English more practicable for Koreans (as opposed to a novel-length oeuvre).

    4. His work straddles SF and, well, fantasy or other fantastical genres. I think this gives it a wider appeal to people who aren’t exclusively SF readers (say, fantasy fans), but I think it also makes it more accessible in a society where there are fewer people who are primarily readers of SF than, say, in Anglophone countries. He hits a lot of different bells, if that makes any sense.

    5. The point I’m hesitant to note, but: he’s an Asian-American. While Yoon Ha Lee’s work has appeared in translation (in Fantastique, for example), there’s scarcity of Korean-American genre authors (the other who comes to mind is Minsoo Kang). While Koreans SF fans certainly don’t seem to discriminate — I think they’re eager to get good stuff whether it’s by a white American author, a Japanese, a Caribbean-Canadian, a WASP Brit, etc. — I think the phenomenon of an Asian-American author rising to prominence in the US is likely to heighten interest in his work here.

    So it’s kind of a perfect storm, I guess? I want to note that the points are listed in descending order. I think the quality of his work, its widespread recognition, and its accessibility (in the sense of both #3 and #4) have a lot to do with it. The fact that he’s of Asian descent is far from the only reason, though I do think all those factors combined make it unsurprising he’s attracted so much interest here.

    Being Asian alone, though, isn’t enough. I’m not aware of any major interest in Somtow Sucharitkul’s writing, or in the work of William F. Wu. I’m under the impression Zelazny is also popular here, and Neal Stephenson seems popular too — I think most of his work has been translated, while the surface of Bruce Sterling’s work has barely been scratched. I’m thinking of writing something about how SF gets translated into Korean — the selection process, what factors come into play, and so on. But it’ll have to wait a while.

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