Strange Horizons — June 18, 2018

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Strange Horizons, June 18, 2018

The Metal Eater of Luminous Smoke” by Minsoo Kang

Reviewed by Mariam Melikadze

Minsoo Kang’s “The Metal Eater of Luminous Smoke” was a very fun read. The writing is reminiscent of a children’s fairy tale, describing a heroic wizard and his two brothers who dare to oppose the evil, tyrannical ruler of the kingdom.

I loved the quirky, fantastical elements of the story, like the grand wizard master Master No Knowledge and the intellectual, Plutarch-reading, Hobbes-quoting metal-eating monster.

While the tone of the story is light-hearted, like many fairy tales, it carries a deeper meaning. The piece appears to be a modern re-telling of the Frankenstein story. And it is very self-aware of this fact, as the monster often compares itself to Frankenstein or the replicants from Blade Runner.

But in its quirky style, it turns the narrative on its head, offering up the next argument in the age-old discussion on the dangers of technological progress.

If the original Frankenstein story is about the limits of science, this story attempts to answer the dilemma by arguing that we should fully embrace, own and nurture our creations, rather than cast them aside or, worse, enact barriers to progress.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read—would definitely recommend!