“The Country of the Young” appeared in Interzone 219, in November 2008.
If you missed the print edition, Interzone 219 is available as an eMagazine at Fictionwise.
This was the third full story I drafted at Clarion West, for the week when Nalo Hopkinson was our instructor.
(And both Nalo’s and the class’s comments, and some discussion of the biology of aging with my classmate Guy Immega, were a great help to me.)
I’d long been thinking of writing a story set in a post-reunification, corporate-annexed North Korea. A theme I’d intended to work with earlier ended up being set aside, in advance, for the next story I planned to write at the workshop, but that worked out well because it gave me a chance to explore themes in the corporatized North: politics and class, immigration, the glitchiness of life-extension technology and its effect on future immigration, intercultural relationships, and more.
Also, I decided to work very literally with a comment made by Maureen McHugh a few weeks earlier, but I won’t say more as it’s a spoiler for the story.
Reviews and Comments:
“… distinctly my favorite piece in the issue… Sellar has done a superb job on every count. The characters and setting feel alive, three-dimensional, and absolutely convincing. From these, the plot grows naturally—absorbing, meaningful, and free of contrivance. And detail is handled perfectly, showing real-life richness and complexity without ever getting bogged down, and without ever leaving the reader missing crucial information. Kudos, Mr. Sellar, for an excellent story.” — Ziv Wities @ The Fix.
“a sombre tale rich in detail, and a convincing look at how someone can be driven to the extremes of mass murder. Good stuff.” — Lawrence Conquest @ The Barking Dog
“A very realistic depiction of what a growing age difference would do to a marriage, set in a chillingly believable universe.” — Aliette de Bodard (!)