[Books in brief]Fantastique is fantastic for readers of fantasyKorean sci-fi fans are enjoying Fantastique, a monthly magazine devoted to the fantasy, sci-fi and mystery subgenres which was launched this May. Created by Choi Nae-hyeon, former chief editor of Ddanzi Ilbo, an alternative online newspaper with a satiric twist on daily news, the magazine aims to introduce new authors and trends concerning this genre to the public, much like Issac Asimov’s SF magazine or the Japanese publication Excalibur.
During a press conference, Choi stated his vision for Fantastique by saying, “The power to change reality lies in imagination.” Although initially, the magazine has met skepticism regarding its future success, he believes that there is a need for the publishing community to address the demand for subgenre magazines.
The first edition had a special feature written by film directors, including Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook , about “novels or comic books that they would like to write” as well as serials by Korean novelist Bok Geo-il and Djuna, a cult underground movie critic. There was also a short story by Japanese author Miyabe Miyuki, as well as an interview with him, the first with the author in a Korean publication. Miyuki has never been more popular in Japan.
The June issue, with a cover that features Kurt Vonnegut, was dedicated to the late author with essays on his work and a brief review of his major books. In this dedication, there was a quirky section with a “Vonnegut tree,” which traced his influences, starting with Mark Twain.
Homage is also paid to Korean fantasy novels, in a feature titled “Korean Fantasy: A Chronicle of 10 Years of Wandering.” The feature focused on the Korean fantasy genre of the 1990s including books like “Dragon Raja” by Lee Young-do and “The Stone of Time” by Jeon Min-hi.
The editor in chief, Park Sang-joon, also the head of Seoul Science Fiction Archive, has high hopes for the magazine. “One of the reasons Korean culture has not diversified as much as it could is the lack of attention paid to subgenres. With this magazine, we hope to provide an original view of these subgenres and bring ‘entertainment’ back to reading.” By Cho Jae-eun