Books

Your Utopia by Bora Chung review – finding poignancy in speculative fiction

A short story collection that brings wry humour and tenderness to horror and speculative fiction

Your Utopia by Bora Chung is out now (Honford Star, £14.99)

Korean writer Bora Chung was nominated for the International Man Booker prize two years ago for Cursed Bunny, her first translated short story collection, and her new collection, Your Utopia, shows a similar blend of speculative and horror fiction, the darkness blended with a sharp-eyed and critical comedy. 

In the opening story, ‘The Center for Immortality Research’, the author envisages the vagaries of bureaucracy continuing for eternity, while ‘A Very Ordinary Marriage’ reimagines the usual banality of a husband and wife drifting apart, twisting it into a story of aliens, doppelgangers and coercive control. 

The title story is the standout, a poignant account of an AI left on a planet where human life has disappeared, forming a bond with another intelligence as they struggle to survive. The deadpan sharpness of Chung’s prose gives the stories a critical depth and sincerity that makes this a wonderful
collection from start to finish. 

Doug Johnstone is an author and journalist.

Your Utopia by Bora Chung is out now (Honford Star, £14.99). You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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