Skip to main content

Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle

Seoul Survivors
Seoul Survivors is a full-on, non-stop near-future apocalyptic fertility-dystopian scare of a novel. Seriously, it does not let up for a moment. There are three main storylines, that connect and converge at points throughout the novel but are also fundamentally enmeshed together. Sydney has come to South Korea to persue her dreams of modelling. Damien hopes his trip will earn him enough money to escape the end of the world. Mee Hee just wants to live somewhere where she can be safe from constant fear and famine. All three of their lives are touched, for good or ill, by Dr Kim Da Mi, genius and possible saviour of the human race.

Sydney's blonde, Canadian good looks make her a hot property in South Korea. Her rapport with photographer Jin Sok helps her establish a career and a life, neither of which she really had at home. She's in South Korea with her boyfriend Johnny Sandman, a vicious thug who is even more repellent than he seems. Sydney adores being in front of the camera; the buzz, the attention, the energy of it all makes her soar. Freedom beckons and even the Sandman can't keep her caged.

Damien's life was not looking exactly peachy; in fact he'd got to the point where smuggling drugs seemed the best option. He's not exactly a master crim though - his longer term plan is to teach English to young Koreans until he has enough money to get to Canada. He's researched the coming apocalypse and figures he has the safest place picked out. It baffles him that no one else, apart form a few loonies, is taking Lucifer's Hammer seriously. Damien is convinced the meteor is on a collision course with Earth, and he wants to be prepared.

Lee Mee Hee has had the toughest ride of all, literally. The death of her baby son has left her bereft and hopeless until a doctor takes an interest in her and arranges for her to be smuggled out of North Korea. She travels underneath the truck in a tiny enclosed space, the description of which left me feeling claustrophobic and needing air. There's a new life awaiting her, if she chooses it, one with peace and harmony and babies. Dr Kim has a plan to breed a new type of human, one full of compassion and understanding for their fellow man.

Dr Kim has this whole rent-a-womb clone scheme going on, that sometimes seems like the greatest experiment yet but more often just screams LUNATIC. She is so reasonable, calm, beautiful and sage and also completely demented. She's a terrifying character because she so easily sucks you into her plans. She makes sociopathic Johnny look like a Yorkshire Terrier yapping at your heels. Actually, he is a complete narcissistic menace who thinks about himself in the third person. Avoid at all costs is practically stamped across his forehead. They are both brilliant characters though, worming their way through the story, manipulating people and situations. Sydney and Damien are like Hansel and Gretel being led to the house of the wicked witch. Although with Dr Kim it is never entirely clear if she is doing something Very Good or Very Bad.

There are two very different atmospheres in the book. The urban scenes are loud, frenetic, full of people and colour. In Dr Kim's environment it is tranquil, serene, shimmering. I loved the contrast between the two. I also loved how it is set in a future that seems very near; there's some new technology stuff that I think is on the cusp of being real. The issues raised are ones that we're bothered about right now - meteors, cloning, disasters natural and manmade. There are some shocking bits, and towards the end there's something that was very uncomfortable to read. There's also plenty of drinking, clubbing, and shagging too. Like I said, the book is full-on. As I was reading it there was something buzzing around my mind, that it put me in mind of something else I'd read. It wasn't until I read this that it fell into place - William Gibson. It's years since I read Neuromancer, but it's the same excitement and energy I felt. Seoul Survivors manages to talk about lots of serious things within a plot full of tension and drive. Naomi Foyle can really write.

Jo Fletcher Books very kindly sent me a copy of this book for review - thanks guys. It's available right now.

Comments

  1. I too definitely got a bit of Gibson Cyberpunk...at least from the atmosphere of Seoul. I haven't finished the book yet, but I am enjoying it.
    Thanks for your review.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Interview With The Vampire: Claudia's Story by Anne Rice and Ashley Marie Witter

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

'Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone... Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat?
This book illustrates how special a thing it is to have people send you books out of the blue; it's a privilege and a pleasure. I wouldn't have known about this book, let alone read and loved it, if it hadn't landed in my letterbox. I'm …

Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year!
That's 2015 done and dusted, here's to 2016 and let's hope it's filled with love and laughter, friends and fun, books and cake. And really, that's about as far as my resolutions go but I do have a few projects in mind for the coming year and beyond.

This year there are two anniversaries I want to celebrate. The first is the two hundredth anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth on 21st April.
Jane Eyre is one of my most favourite stories of all and I've lost count of the number of times I've read it over the years. I'll be re-reading it yet again come April, but before then I plan to read the other three novels Charlotte wrote starting with Shirley this month. I'm quite keen to read the new Claire Harman biography of Charlotte Bronte too at some point.

The other anniversary is that of Shakespeare's death 400 years ago on 23rd April. I've finally admitted to myself that reading the same half dozen plays over and over isn'…