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Bok Geo-Il

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1946-    ) South Korean author who turned to full-time writing after a business career in the early 1980s. A graduate of the College of Commerce at Seoul National University, Bok's first novel Bimyeong-eul Chajaseo ["Looking for an Epitaph"] (1987 2vols) posited a complex but well-realized Alternate History in which the politician Itō Hirobumi survives an assassination attempt in 1909, thereby preventing the colony of Korea from ever gaining independence from Japan. In a twist redolent of Philip K Dick's The Man in the High Castle (1962), the protagonist realizes that he is living in an unnatural Pocket Universe, that Itō should have died in the "real" world, and that this impasse can only be resolved by Time Travel to complete the assassin's failed mission. The story was filmed as 2009: Lost Memories (2002), to Bok's great dismay; he successfully sued to have his name removed from the credits.

As with his later Yeokssasogui Nageune ["Traveller in History"] (1991), Bok courts controversy through unwavering engagement with unpleasant truths and dirty Politics, such as the implication that the modern existence of sovereign South Korea rests on the act of a terrorist. He gained further notoriety in 1998 with his modest proposal (see Jonathan Swift) that South Korea should adopt English as its national language and give up its native currency in favour of the American dollar. [JonC]

Bok Geo-Il

born Asan, South Korea: 1946

works (selected)

  • Bimyeong-eul Chajaseo ["Looking for an Epitaph"] (Seoul: Munhakgwa Jiseongsa, 1987) [published in two volumes: pb/nonpictorial]
  • Yeokssasogui Nageune ["Traveller in History"] (Seoul: Munhakgwa Jiseoingsa, 1991) [pb/nonpictorial]
  • The Jovian Sayings (Singapore: Stallion Press, 2014) [trans by the author of text unpublished in Korean: pb/]


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