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Snowglobe

Translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort
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In a world of constant winter, only the citizens of the climate-controlled city of Snowglobe can escape the bitter cold—but this perfect society is hiding dark and dangerous secrets within its frozen heart. A groundbreaking Korean novel translated into English for the first time!

The Hunger Games meets Squid Game in Soyoung Park's dystopian thriller Snowglobe” –Entertainment Weekly

Enclosed under a vast dome, Snowglobe is the last place on Earth that’s warm. Outside Snowglobe is a frozen wasteland, and every day, citizens face the icy world to get to their jobs at the power plant, where they produce the energy Snowglobe needs. Their only solace comes in the form of twenty-four-hour television programming streamed directly from the domed city.

The residents of Snowglobe have everything: fame, fortune, and above all, safety from the desolation outside their walls. In exchange, their lives are broadcast to the less fortunate outside, who watch eagerly, hoping for the chance to one day become actors themselves.

Chobahm lives for the time she spends watching the shows produced inside Snowglobe. Her favorite? Goh Around, starring Goh Haeri, Snowglobe’s biggest star—and, it turns out, the key to getting Chobahm her dream life.

Because Haeri is dead, and Chobahm has been chosen to take her place. Only, life inside Snowglobe is nothing like what you see on television. Reality is a lie, and truth seems to be forever out of reach.

Translated for the first time into English from the original Korean, Snowglobe is a groundbreaking exploration of personal identity, and the future of the world as we know it. It is the winner of the Changbi X Kakaopage Young Adult Novel Award.
The Age of Snowglobe

In the living room, Grandma is sunk in her chair in front of her favorite TV show, a heavy quilt draped over her lap. I look down at the weather ticker scrolling away along the bottom of the screen.

-­50°F

That’s a three-­degree drop from yesterday. A snow-­cloud icon trails the temperature, suggesting flurries throughout the day, and Grandma pushes herself out of the chair, shuffling to the electric space heater with the kettle in hand. My brother, Ongi, appears in the living room, wearing his standard morning look: a toothbrush in his mouth and a scowl on his face.

“I wish I were still in school!” he whines, because schools close in temperatures below -50°F.

“Just brush your teeth, please,” I respond flatly, which comes out garbled as I’m still brushing mine, and turn back to the TV. As usual, Grandma has it on Channel 60, the station that airs Goh Around round the clock.

“No! Hear me out,” Ongi persists, stepping in front of me and ratcheting up the grievance in his voice. “I was sixteen ten months ago when I was in school. I’m still sixteen today, but just because I graduated, I’m now expected to endure this brutal temperature?”

His face is blocking my view of the TV. What does he want me to do about the weather? “Stop spraying toothpaste all over the floor, would you?” I snap, suddenly irritated.

Ongi is my twin brother born exactly ten minutes before me. He likes to pretend to be older and wiser, which is no end of laughable. He should know well by now that I only came second to make sure he got out safely—­kind of like a captain being the last one off the ship. I’ve been taking care of him since we shared a womb.

Grandma, back in her sagging chair, swivels her head in our direction. “Ongi, my sweet,” she calls. “Don’t act like a baby in front of your girlfriend.”

Ongi’s eyes bug out, and he races to the kitchen sink, where he spits out the mouthful of foaming toothpaste with extra force.

“Grandma!” he cries. “Jeon Chobahm is not my girlfriend!”

Grandma has dementia, and she’s been confusing me with my brother’s nonexistent girlfriend for some time now.

I leave Ongi to stew and head back into the bathroom, where I turn on the wall-­mounted faucet and fill the tin basin under it. When I scoop up the frigid water and rinse my mouth, the cold sends a shocking jolt through my teeth down to my jawbone, which immediately begins to ache. My hair is next. I’m staring into the basin, steeling myself against the brain-­chilling assault to come, when Grandma appears at the door with the kettle in her hand, a plume of steam escaping its spout.

“Watch out, dear,” she says, and stoops to carefully tip the kettle over the basin. “I made this hot water for Ongi, but he wants you to have it instead.”

I watch as she sticks her hand in the basin and swishes the water around to even out the temperature. Over the rising steam, her face is aglow with pride and joy that her grandson grew up to be such a considerate young person—­a true gentle­man who knows how to care for his girlfriend. Meanwhile, said young man is washing his hair at the kitchen sink, howling as he dips his head under the frigid stream. I can’t help but laugh at his antics as Grandma shuffles back toward the door with the empty kettle.

“Thank you, Grandma,” I say.

She stops in her tracks. Turning around slowly, she searches my face for a long moment with her watery eyes.

“You sound just like my granddaughter,” she says in a voice full of longing. Then she turns back around and heads out the door for her worn chair.

In the mudroom, Ongi and I struggle to pull on our heavy snow boots. It’s made all the more difficult by the layers of insulated clothes—­tops, pants, and tights—­we have on under our thick snow bibs. Next come out parkas, expedition-­weight mittens, and ski masks. Then, finally, the hoods go up, and we’re ready.

“We’re off, Granny! See you later!” Ongi calls toward the living room in his usual upbeat tone.

But as he turns the doorknob, Grandma’s urgent voice stops us short.

“Wait! My goodness, Ongi! Chobahm is on TV!” she cries.

Ongi and I exchange a look as she coos at the TV. “Aww . . . Chobahm! My sweet baby girl.”

I don’t have to look to know that it’s Goh Haeri on the screen. Ongi refuses to acknowledge it, but the beloved actress and I look very much alike. We even share the same birthday, and for what it’s worth, it so happens that we’re both lefties. But no one, except for Grandma, would ever mistake me for her, what with my rough cheeks perpetually inflamed from daily exposure to bone-­dry, subzero air, and my coarse hair cropped short for quick washing in frigid water. In contrast, Haeri’s porcelain skin, rosy cheeks, and trademark long, shiny hair radiate her Snowglobe pedigree.

About Snowglobe. With the world now at an average annual temperature of -­50°F, Snowglobe is the only place with a temperate climate—­the only location with warmth and color—­in the whole world. It’s a special settlement that was built atop a geothermal vent and is enclosed in a gigantic weatherproof glass dome. But not just anyone can live there. Its lucky residents are actors, whose unscripted lives are recorded in real time and edited into shows, which are then broadcast to the open world for entertainment. Goh Haeri isn’t just an actress, she’s a megastar, and she’s just been named the new weathercaster—­one of the most coveted jobs in Snowglobe. She’ll set the record as the youngest weathercaster in the history of the settlement.

I turn a flat gaze to the TV screen. Dressed in a stylish suit, Haeri looks like she was born to fill the position.

“Hi, it’s Goh Haeri,” she greets the viewers in a buoyant tone. “I’m so excited and honored to be serving our community as the new weathercaster. Make sure to tune in to News at Nine on New Year’s Day!”

She treats us to her perfect smile, and then the camera cuts away.

I wonder, not for the first time, if I’ll ever be able to meet her in real life. If my hair grew in proportion to my desire for a life in Snowglobe, I could shave my head bare every night and I’d wake up the next day with it sweeping the floor. Sometimes I wonder if my intense longing for the place might be responsible for Grandma confusing me with Haeri—­as though she can see my soul yearning to flee this godforsaken icebox in favor of Haeri’s life in Snowglobe.

Ongi turns back to the door, clucking his tongue in ­distaste.

“What?” I hiss, glowering back at him.

“If only you hadn’t talked so much nonsense about how you might be Goh Haeri’s lost twin and—­”

“Stop.” I cut him off with a cuff to the ribs. I can feel the color rising to my face at the memory. “Unless you want to dig your way out of a snowbank!”

But he’s wearing too many layers to be warned off, and he boldly resumes running his mouth. I shove him and he shoves me back, and then we’re snatching at each other and ducking and banging into walls—­until we finally end up laughing too hard to keep fighting and we pull ourselves together, then open the door and step outside.

Fifty degrees below zero. The frozen world welcomes us by snatching the breath from our lungs. My nose instantly freezes and stings, and within a few blinks, ice crystals form on my eyelashes and cloud my view.

“It’s so damn cold,” Ongi says with a full-­body shudder.

From age six, my twin brother and I accompanied each other to school every day for ten years. Since graduation in February, though, our daily commute has been to the power plant.

I look up at the marbled sky, its gunmetal gray promising a second squall in three days. In the bleak world below, squat log cabins dot the white expanses between tall pines, their branches heavy with snow.

Ongi and I start for the bus stop. Our commute to the power plant could be made on foot, but with a brooding sky like this, the bus is safer. We trudge through the knee-deep snow, and before long, my breath turns my ski mask into an icy mess over my mouth and nose—­though better the mask than my face. A few feet ahead, Ongi pauses under a tree and waits for me to catch up. He can be so sweet, I think. But no sooner do I arrive than he jumps up to a branch to send an avalanche of snow down on my head and shoulders, laughing hysterically.

Seething, I scoop up a handful of snow and pack it into a tight ball. He bolts, shouting, “Race you to the bus stop!”

“Wait!” I shout, already on the move. “Jeon Ongi, you cheater!”

Snow grabs at our boots with each sinking step, rendering our best effort at a dash into more of a lurching shuffle.

“Loser does laundry for a month!” Ongi yells.

“Oh . . . You’re so done, Jeon Ongi!”

I struggle through the clinging trap of snow with everything I have. And when we dive for the bus stop, it’s my hand that touches its bent pole first.

“Ha! Who’s laughing now—­” I say victoriously, gasping for breath. Sure, I won by a hair, but a win is a win. I’m bent over with my hands on my knees, catching my breath, when Ongi snatches my arm and jerks me behind him.

Annoyed, I straighten to see him narrowing a hard gaze at a figure ahead. Just another commuter waiting for the bus, so what about it? is my first thought, but then the person turns in our direction, and when she acknowledges us with an awkward dip of her head, neither Ongi nor I return it.
“A thrillingly and ingeniously conceived allegory about where we are, and where we’re headed.” —David Yoon, New York Times bestselling author of Frankly in Love

The Hunger Games meets Squid Game in Soyoung Park's dystopian thriller Snowglobe” – Entertainment Weekly

"Utterly unputdownable, Snowglobe is an out-of-this-world dystopian thrill ride. Soyoung Park has created an addictive, twisty tale perfect for fans looking for the next Squid Game or Parasite.”—Amélie Wen Zhao, New York Times bestselling author of Song of Silver, Flame Like Night

“This book completely consumed me! WHAT A RIDE! Snowglobe is an immersive and utterly addictive dark dystopian thriller that takes the reader deep into introspection about what you’d be willing to do, and who you’d be willing to become, to get what you want. With the eerie, desperate, and exhilarating vibes of Snowpiercer and The Hunger Games, it’s one of the BEST young adult sci-fi books out there, full stop.” —Susan Lee, author of Seoulmates

★ "Transporting and unputdownable; an appealing combination of deep and page-turning." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This fast-paced examination of reality television and surveillance....boasts a cast of resourceful and morally gray teens and teems with anticipatory tension reminiscent of The Hunger Games." —Publishers Weekly

"This debut, a dystopian thriller with a reality-TV twist, is perfect for fans of Squid Game or Snowpiercer." —Booklist

"This biting and thought-provoking YA dystopian tale examines the contemporary obsession with fame and luxury." —Shelf Awareness
Soyoung Park majored in information and communication at university and has worked as a reporter. She is a winner of the Original Story Award and the Changbi X Kakaopage Young Adult Novel Award. She’s the author of the Snowglobe duology. View titles by Soyoung Park

About

In a world of constant winter, only the citizens of the climate-controlled city of Snowglobe can escape the bitter cold—but this perfect society is hiding dark and dangerous secrets within its frozen heart. A groundbreaking Korean novel translated into English for the first time!

The Hunger Games meets Squid Game in Soyoung Park's dystopian thriller Snowglobe” –Entertainment Weekly

Enclosed under a vast dome, Snowglobe is the last place on Earth that’s warm. Outside Snowglobe is a frozen wasteland, and every day, citizens face the icy world to get to their jobs at the power plant, where they produce the energy Snowglobe needs. Their only solace comes in the form of twenty-four-hour television programming streamed directly from the domed city.

The residents of Snowglobe have everything: fame, fortune, and above all, safety from the desolation outside their walls. In exchange, their lives are broadcast to the less fortunate outside, who watch eagerly, hoping for the chance to one day become actors themselves.

Chobahm lives for the time she spends watching the shows produced inside Snowglobe. Her favorite? Goh Around, starring Goh Haeri, Snowglobe’s biggest star—and, it turns out, the key to getting Chobahm her dream life.

Because Haeri is dead, and Chobahm has been chosen to take her place. Only, life inside Snowglobe is nothing like what you see on television. Reality is a lie, and truth seems to be forever out of reach.

Translated for the first time into English from the original Korean, Snowglobe is a groundbreaking exploration of personal identity, and the future of the world as we know it. It is the winner of the Changbi X Kakaopage Young Adult Novel Award.

Excerpt

The Age of Snowglobe

In the living room, Grandma is sunk in her chair in front of her favorite TV show, a heavy quilt draped over her lap. I look down at the weather ticker scrolling away along the bottom of the screen.

-­50°F

That’s a three-­degree drop from yesterday. A snow-­cloud icon trails the temperature, suggesting flurries throughout the day, and Grandma pushes herself out of the chair, shuffling to the electric space heater with the kettle in hand. My brother, Ongi, appears in the living room, wearing his standard morning look: a toothbrush in his mouth and a scowl on his face.

“I wish I were still in school!” he whines, because schools close in temperatures below -50°F.

“Just brush your teeth, please,” I respond flatly, which comes out garbled as I’m still brushing mine, and turn back to the TV. As usual, Grandma has it on Channel 60, the station that airs Goh Around round the clock.

“No! Hear me out,” Ongi persists, stepping in front of me and ratcheting up the grievance in his voice. “I was sixteen ten months ago when I was in school. I’m still sixteen today, but just because I graduated, I’m now expected to endure this brutal temperature?”

His face is blocking my view of the TV. What does he want me to do about the weather? “Stop spraying toothpaste all over the floor, would you?” I snap, suddenly irritated.

Ongi is my twin brother born exactly ten minutes before me. He likes to pretend to be older and wiser, which is no end of laughable. He should know well by now that I only came second to make sure he got out safely—­kind of like a captain being the last one off the ship. I’ve been taking care of him since we shared a womb.

Grandma, back in her sagging chair, swivels her head in our direction. “Ongi, my sweet,” she calls. “Don’t act like a baby in front of your girlfriend.”

Ongi’s eyes bug out, and he races to the kitchen sink, where he spits out the mouthful of foaming toothpaste with extra force.

“Grandma!” he cries. “Jeon Chobahm is not my girlfriend!”

Grandma has dementia, and she’s been confusing me with my brother’s nonexistent girlfriend for some time now.

I leave Ongi to stew and head back into the bathroom, where I turn on the wall-­mounted faucet and fill the tin basin under it. When I scoop up the frigid water and rinse my mouth, the cold sends a shocking jolt through my teeth down to my jawbone, which immediately begins to ache. My hair is next. I’m staring into the basin, steeling myself against the brain-­chilling assault to come, when Grandma appears at the door with the kettle in her hand, a plume of steam escaping its spout.

“Watch out, dear,” she says, and stoops to carefully tip the kettle over the basin. “I made this hot water for Ongi, but he wants you to have it instead.”

I watch as she sticks her hand in the basin and swishes the water around to even out the temperature. Over the rising steam, her face is aglow with pride and joy that her grandson grew up to be such a considerate young person—­a true gentle­man who knows how to care for his girlfriend. Meanwhile, said young man is washing his hair at the kitchen sink, howling as he dips his head under the frigid stream. I can’t help but laugh at his antics as Grandma shuffles back toward the door with the empty kettle.

“Thank you, Grandma,” I say.

She stops in her tracks. Turning around slowly, she searches my face for a long moment with her watery eyes.

“You sound just like my granddaughter,” she says in a voice full of longing. Then she turns back around and heads out the door for her worn chair.

In the mudroom, Ongi and I struggle to pull on our heavy snow boots. It’s made all the more difficult by the layers of insulated clothes—­tops, pants, and tights—­we have on under our thick snow bibs. Next come out parkas, expedition-­weight mittens, and ski masks. Then, finally, the hoods go up, and we’re ready.

“We’re off, Granny! See you later!” Ongi calls toward the living room in his usual upbeat tone.

But as he turns the doorknob, Grandma’s urgent voice stops us short.

“Wait! My goodness, Ongi! Chobahm is on TV!” she cries.

Ongi and I exchange a look as she coos at the TV. “Aww . . . Chobahm! My sweet baby girl.”

I don’t have to look to know that it’s Goh Haeri on the screen. Ongi refuses to acknowledge it, but the beloved actress and I look very much alike. We even share the same birthday, and for what it’s worth, it so happens that we’re both lefties. But no one, except for Grandma, would ever mistake me for her, what with my rough cheeks perpetually inflamed from daily exposure to bone-­dry, subzero air, and my coarse hair cropped short for quick washing in frigid water. In contrast, Haeri’s porcelain skin, rosy cheeks, and trademark long, shiny hair radiate her Snowglobe pedigree.

About Snowglobe. With the world now at an average annual temperature of -­50°F, Snowglobe is the only place with a temperate climate—­the only location with warmth and color—­in the whole world. It’s a special settlement that was built atop a geothermal vent and is enclosed in a gigantic weatherproof glass dome. But not just anyone can live there. Its lucky residents are actors, whose unscripted lives are recorded in real time and edited into shows, which are then broadcast to the open world for entertainment. Goh Haeri isn’t just an actress, she’s a megastar, and she’s just been named the new weathercaster—­one of the most coveted jobs in Snowglobe. She’ll set the record as the youngest weathercaster in the history of the settlement.

I turn a flat gaze to the TV screen. Dressed in a stylish suit, Haeri looks like she was born to fill the position.

“Hi, it’s Goh Haeri,” she greets the viewers in a buoyant tone. “I’m so excited and honored to be serving our community as the new weathercaster. Make sure to tune in to News at Nine on New Year’s Day!”

She treats us to her perfect smile, and then the camera cuts away.

I wonder, not for the first time, if I’ll ever be able to meet her in real life. If my hair grew in proportion to my desire for a life in Snowglobe, I could shave my head bare every night and I’d wake up the next day with it sweeping the floor. Sometimes I wonder if my intense longing for the place might be responsible for Grandma confusing me with Haeri—­as though she can see my soul yearning to flee this godforsaken icebox in favor of Haeri’s life in Snowglobe.

Ongi turns back to the door, clucking his tongue in ­distaste.

“What?” I hiss, glowering back at him.

“If only you hadn’t talked so much nonsense about how you might be Goh Haeri’s lost twin and—­”

“Stop.” I cut him off with a cuff to the ribs. I can feel the color rising to my face at the memory. “Unless you want to dig your way out of a snowbank!”

But he’s wearing too many layers to be warned off, and he boldly resumes running his mouth. I shove him and he shoves me back, and then we’re snatching at each other and ducking and banging into walls—­until we finally end up laughing too hard to keep fighting and we pull ourselves together, then open the door and step outside.

Fifty degrees below zero. The frozen world welcomes us by snatching the breath from our lungs. My nose instantly freezes and stings, and within a few blinks, ice crystals form on my eyelashes and cloud my view.

“It’s so damn cold,” Ongi says with a full-­body shudder.

From age six, my twin brother and I accompanied each other to school every day for ten years. Since graduation in February, though, our daily commute has been to the power plant.

I look up at the marbled sky, its gunmetal gray promising a second squall in three days. In the bleak world below, squat log cabins dot the white expanses between tall pines, their branches heavy with snow.

Ongi and I start for the bus stop. Our commute to the power plant could be made on foot, but with a brooding sky like this, the bus is safer. We trudge through the knee-deep snow, and before long, my breath turns my ski mask into an icy mess over my mouth and nose—­though better the mask than my face. A few feet ahead, Ongi pauses under a tree and waits for me to catch up. He can be so sweet, I think. But no sooner do I arrive than he jumps up to a branch to send an avalanche of snow down on my head and shoulders, laughing hysterically.

Seething, I scoop up a handful of snow and pack it into a tight ball. He bolts, shouting, “Race you to the bus stop!”

“Wait!” I shout, already on the move. “Jeon Ongi, you cheater!”

Snow grabs at our boots with each sinking step, rendering our best effort at a dash into more of a lurching shuffle.

“Loser does laundry for a month!” Ongi yells.

“Oh . . . You’re so done, Jeon Ongi!”

I struggle through the clinging trap of snow with everything I have. And when we dive for the bus stop, it’s my hand that touches its bent pole first.

“Ha! Who’s laughing now—­” I say victoriously, gasping for breath. Sure, I won by a hair, but a win is a win. I’m bent over with my hands on my knees, catching my breath, when Ongi snatches my arm and jerks me behind him.

Annoyed, I straighten to see him narrowing a hard gaze at a figure ahead. Just another commuter waiting for the bus, so what about it? is my first thought, but then the person turns in our direction, and when she acknowledges us with an awkward dip of her head, neither Ongi nor I return it.

Reviews

“A thrillingly and ingeniously conceived allegory about where we are, and where we’re headed.” —David Yoon, New York Times bestselling author of Frankly in Love

The Hunger Games meets Squid Game in Soyoung Park's dystopian thriller Snowglobe” – Entertainment Weekly

"Utterly unputdownable, Snowglobe is an out-of-this-world dystopian thrill ride. Soyoung Park has created an addictive, twisty tale perfect for fans looking for the next Squid Game or Parasite.”—Amélie Wen Zhao, New York Times bestselling author of Song of Silver, Flame Like Night

“This book completely consumed me! WHAT A RIDE! Snowglobe is an immersive and utterly addictive dark dystopian thriller that takes the reader deep into introspection about what you’d be willing to do, and who you’d be willing to become, to get what you want. With the eerie, desperate, and exhilarating vibes of Snowpiercer and The Hunger Games, it’s one of the BEST young adult sci-fi books out there, full stop.” —Susan Lee, author of Seoulmates

★ "Transporting and unputdownable; an appealing combination of deep and page-turning." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This fast-paced examination of reality television and surveillance....boasts a cast of resourceful and morally gray teens and teems with anticipatory tension reminiscent of The Hunger Games." —Publishers Weekly

"This debut, a dystopian thriller with a reality-TV twist, is perfect for fans of Squid Game or Snowpiercer." —Booklist

"This biting and thought-provoking YA dystopian tale examines the contemporary obsession with fame and luxury." —Shelf Awareness

Author

Soyoung Park majored in information and communication at university and has worked as a reporter. She is a winner of the Original Story Award and the Changbi X Kakaopage Young Adult Novel Award. She’s the author of the Snowglobe duology. View titles by Soyoung Park