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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 09:33 am:   

Greetings all you extremely talented people. Jeff was nice enough to set me up with this board so I can introduce myself to everyone. I have a book of short stories entitled 'Of Tales and Enigmas' that is tentatively scheduled to come out some time in the middle of this year from Prime Books. They are mostly allegories in the fantastic mode, from extended tales to flash fiction to stories about my native country of Korea. I am currently a graduate student in European history at the University of California, Los Angeles, writing my dissertation on the history of the automaton as a cultural and intellectual symbol in the Western imagination. I am currently on the job market, hoping to land a good tenure track position so I wouldn't have to leave this country when I get my Ph.D. Please everyone wish me luck on this and say a prayer for me if you found that to be useful. Because my father was a Korean diplomat I've lived all over the world, including Korea, Austria, New Zealand, Iran, Brunei, and Germany, among other places. Hope to talk literature, writing, history, and the global experience with all - many - some of you.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 09:34 am:   

Welcome, Minsoo. Although I've already read many of these tales, I'm very much looking forward to seeing them in book form. They're unique and definitely a highlight of the upcoming book schedule for 2004.

JeffV
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 11:11 am:   

Hi Minsoo. Glad to see you have a board! . . . I look forward to seeing your book!
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Richard Parks
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 02:55 pm:   

Welcome!
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Rhys
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 02:37 am:   

The history of the automaton as a cultural and intellectual symbol...

That sounds truly fascinating! Do automatons feature much in your fiction? If so, I'll definitely seek out your work -- I am intrigued by automatons. Especially mechanical (rather than electrical or electronic) ones, with cogs and levers and springs inside...
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 06:06 am:   

Thanks for your welcome everyone.

Rhys (I'm a big fan of your stories, by the way, a real privilege to be communicating with you), in my upcoming collection there are two stories that were inspired by my research into automata symbolism - 'The King and the Statue' which is my reworking of the Pygmalion myth, and 'The Beautiful and Wonderful Machine', about a civilization that is run by a single, inscrutable machine, which came from my reading of Robert Boyle's 1686 treatise 'A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature' in which he refers to the universe itself as a great automaton constructed by God. I am also planning to write an experimental novel about sex-automata which were also inspired by my analysis of such classics in automata literature as Villiers de l'Isle Adam's 'L'Eve future', F.T. Marinetti's 'Poupee Electriques', and, of course, Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'.

Actually, I was thinking that a few years down the line, after I turn my dissertation into a book, I would like to ask writers, like the great ones who frequent these Nightshade discussion boards, to perhaps submit automaton-related stories for an anthology since it seems to be an object of popular interest (I try to provide an explanation for the fascination in my dissertation). Might be a good one for a Leviathan collection, eh, Jeff and Forrest?

I'd happy to email certain chapters from my dissertation for those interested.
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 03:47 pm:   

Hi Minsoo!

I've been meaning to write, both to say hello and to say congratulations on the short story collection, which I'm very much looking forward to reading! Prime really seems to be publishing the best stuff out there.

And perhaps you'll say more about your research at some point? I know I'd love to hear more, and I have a feeling it would be interesting to a lot of the people who frequent Night Shade.

Congrats again,
Dora
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 10:48 am:   

Dora!

Nice to hear from you. I read 'Sleeping with Bears' recently which I thought was wonderful, though I was a little annoyed because I had a similar story idea which I need to trash because you already did such a great job on yours.

On my research, it's been a great deal of fun. I start with a big general thesis, that the automaton, or a machine that mimics living creatures, is one of the richest, most enduring and powerful symbols in the Western imagination, as an object with which to ponder such intellectual questions as the extent to which we, humans, are or are not like machines; how do we exactly function in mechanical terms; is building machines that rival living creatures a supreme act of human genius or an unnatural travesty that is bound to go wrong? I begin by providing a theory of why people have found the automaton such a fascinating object throughout the centuries (it's a rather complex argument which uses ideas from psychology, anthropology, and art theory, but it basically boils down to the automaton as an object that traverses as well as violates normal conceptual division of things into the living - dead, animate - inanimate, natural - unnatural). Then I go on to how the automaton symbolized very different things in different periods - an object associated closely with magic in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; the central symbol in the Enlightenment of the mechanistic worldview; an uncanny object of mystical significance in early 19th century Romantic literature; the machine as a living creature and a vision of the future merging of humanity with machinery in late 19th and early 20th century modernist imagination; and finally the automaton as a serious rival to humans in all the 'revolt of the machine' narratives of the interwar period.
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EricS
Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 06:57 am:   

Minsoo--

Very much looking forward to reading your collection. I've greatly enjoyed the stories of yours that I have managed to catch so far.
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Fred Cipriano
Posted on Saturday, July 02, 2005 - 09:49 am:   

Killing all human's one brain cell at a time.
http://fred_cipriano.datamachine.net/
Fred Cipriano's Prank Calls and Flash Animations.
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Jeffrey Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - 03:23 pm:   

I've just read a bit about your collection and I'm very intrigued!!! A year ago at this time I was in Seoul for almost a week, and I found it fascinating, unforgettable, the coolest city I've ever been to, overall. (I have a novella based on my experiences there coming out in a collection of my own.) I am really looking forward to OF TALES AND ENIGMAS!
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 10:15 pm:   

Jeffrey,
Thanks for your interest, and I hope the book comes out soon - there's been a few delays at Prime, but looks like they are doing an excellent job with it. I'd love to hear about how you came to be in Seoul and what you found coolest about the place. After I fulfilled my mandatory military service back in 1995 - 1997, I wrote a novel about the experience, which I am trying to find a publisher for at the moment. Also, I don't know if you got a chance to visit Gyeongbok Palace while you were there, but I wrote an essay about the strange history of the place which will be in my book, but you can read a slightly different online version of it at http://www.gkn-la.net/history_resources/gyungbok_palace_mskang.htm
Thanks again for you message.

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