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The Great Storyteller (Web Novel) - Chapter 201: One Step Forward (1)

Chapter 201: One Step Forward (1)

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

“How would you like to name it?”

“Oh.”

“You haven’t thought about it, have you?”

“No.”

After some discussion, Juho and Nam Kyung left the botanical garden in order to get some food. Walking past the tropical plants, Juho wondered, “What if this place burns down?”

“Should we make the title something relevant to fire?”

“Sounds good.”

“All right. Let’s see… Arson, flames…” Nam Kyung said, thinking out loud, even mentioning several phrases from the novel.

“I’m not sure,” Juho said after brief contemplation.

As flame began to engulf the entire garden, the unfortunate plants started burning away, unable to run away from the fire. Then, amid the black smoke, the green leaves moved about before falling to the ground, one by one. The thing that both fire and trees needed was water.

“Evaporation.”

“What was that?”

“How’s that sound? ‘Evaporation'”

It was the process of liquid turning into gas, and it gave an image that something was fading away. Juho felt like it would suit the ending of his novel quite well.

Then, rolling the word around in his mouth for a little while, Nam Kyung tilted his head. Although it wasn’t half bad, it still lacked impact. Yun Woo tended to be modest toward his own work, so Nam Kyung shared his opinion, “I keep thinking ‘Sublimation.'”

“Sublimation?”

“Yes, give me a moment.”

Then, Nam Kyung took his phone out and looked up the definition of the word: A phenomenon which elevates to a higher degree.

(Editor’s note: In English, this is the archaic definition of the word, but if you look up the word, all other, more current definitions apply as well, which is very clever.)

“So, it’s often used in describing art. It means to change, so it suits your novel well.”

“You think so?”

“The way I see it, it suits the overall vibe of the novel without any problem. It really accentuates the elements of uncertainty and mystery.”

While Juho contemplated the idea, Nam Kyung took the opportunity to appeal the title, which he was seemingly quite fond of, to the young author.

“It would also serve as a device to keep the readers from having an overly negative view of wrestling with self-identity, so it balances out the novel, which is full of doubt and lies. There’s a holy aspect to it too, so it gives that subliminal touch. ‘Sublimation.’ It fits the ending of the novel just right.”

Juho listened quietly to the editor, who was mildly excited.

“It would also feel like your writing has evolved even further since ‘River.’ I think this is also the perfect opportunity to show those pricks up for thinking Yun Woo wouldn’t be able to outdo himself past ‘River.’ Just imagine, ‘Yun Woo sublimates his burden as an author into an art.'”

“I’m not sure how I feel about that.”

“No, no. So-to-speak.”

“Well, let’s think it over while we eat, shall we?”

Just like that, after a discussion over a meal, ‘Sublimation’ was decided as the title of the new novel.

“Now, time to have some fun with revisions,” Nam Kyung said before they parted ways at the entrance of a park, implying that they should shoot for the stars.

‘Language of God.’ It was a novel about four companions who left on a quest to meet God. A full-length novel, their grand journey had been printed, translated, and spread throughout the world. Many had bought the book, reading, discussing, feeling, and sharing it.

The readers of ‘Language of God’ naturally found themselves asking about the author, and eventually started looking for answers themselves. The easiest way to go about this was to look within the book. The ‘About the Author’ page. However, as readers overseas opened the book in order to learn more about the author, they only found themselves riddled with even more questions. Debuting at the age of sixteen, and still writing at the age of eighteen. Then those readers moved on to the internet, where a plethora of information about the author was readily available. However, most of the information was far from accurate or reliable. Yun Woo was a Korean author who became known for pure literature before attempting genre novels. There was no information regarding his appearance or the sound of his voice. He was also known as the Kelley Coin Translator, and there were a number of his pieces that were yet to be translated. His most recent short story had been received extremely well in Korea. The senior translator of Fernand, a large American publishing company, was known to be a fan of Yun Woo, and his books had made bestseller lists across the globe, including the US, France, and all across Europe.

“At the same time, there are those who don’t recognize Yun Woo’s work as literature.”

A thirty-eight-year-old Korean man living in Los Angeles was reading a book while lying down in his room, written by none other than the Korean-born, genius author, Yun Woo. It was ‘Language of God.’ Despite the weight of the book, the man was quite fond of it. As a fan, the fact that there was more to read was something to be grateful for. The weight was proportional to how much of the author the man got to know, and how much he got to experience of the world the author had created. Living in Los Angeles, the thirty-eight-year-old Korean man was a fan of Yun Woo, as well as an avid fan of ‘Language of God.’

“Why don’t you recognize him as an author?” the man asked his friend, Jay, who identified himself as being anti-Yun Woo.

Then, with his mouth full of nachos, Jay said, “He’s too young.”

Although it was a simple answer, it was undeniable since the author was actually young.

“But his writing is just out of this world.”

“That’s what I hear. Even critics had a lot of good things to say about him.”

“Yet, you don’t recognize him as an author because?”

Then, a faint trace of annoyance appeared on Jay’s face.

“Why are you so obsessed with that?” I can’t stand that kid. He’s a show-off.”

“Who is?”

“Yun Woo.”

It was an absurd and delusional statement coming from a place of jealousy. As the man stared at Jay intently, Jay explained himself in a hurry as if pricked in the heart, “Look, it’s not like he’s never won any major awards or anything. Besides, what you’re saying right now is like calling a burger with a greasy patty and limp pieces of lettuce the best dish in the world, and offering it to me. Sure, it’s tasty, but the taste is about the only good thing there is about the burger. It causes all sorts of diseases. As for me, I happen to know restaurants with three Michelin stars that make healthier and better-tasting food.”

At his friend’s answer, the man contemplated something genuinely, thinking, ‘How do I get this arrogant bastard to shut up?’

“So, Yun Woo’s no different than a burger to you?”

“So-to-speak.”

“You just managed insult burgers and Yun Woo at the same time.”

“Yep, and I hate them both, equally as much,” Jay said, the chewing sound reverberating throughout the room. He had mentioned something about an award.

“Speaking of awards, are you planning on only reading books written by award-winning authors?”

“I was just answering your question, man. You’re the one who asked why I didn’t recognize him as an author.”

“Are you saying that authors who don’t get any awards are not even real authors?”

“No way. That would just make them authors who haven’t won any award.”

“Well, lucky for you, I happen to know just the remedy for that narrow-minded mentality of yours. You know what you need? You need a dose of Yun Woo’s books. Once is all it takes.”

“No, thanks.”

Although Yun Woo was an eighteen-year-old, bestselling, genius author, he had never won any major awards overseas. Despite having written titles like ‘Language of God,’ ‘Trace of a Bird,’ and ‘Sound of Wailing,’ he had never won an award outside of Korea.

“Well, for your information, he did win awards. In fact, he’s the youngest winner of two major literary awards in Korea.”

“In Korea.”

“Are you talking trash?”

“Maybe a little.”

At Jay’s less-than-likable attitude, the man gave in to his frustration and shouted, “Because he’s still young! Do you know what the age of the youngest winner of a literary award is in this country? Forty-eight! Yun Woo is only eighteen, and OF COURSE they wouldn’t give one to him! This world hates new things, after all. Everyone raves about evolving and moving forward, but in reality, they’re all just busy trying to look good on the outside, am I right!? Damn it!”

Then, the book in the man’s hand fell to his thigh. He had drawn a circle on the page he had been reading, which explained the difference between discrimination and difference. The difference in wealth, position, appearance, and things people were born with. They all changed over time.

“All the literary awards that are recognized worldwide are all from the west, anyway. Not to mention, all of the judges are Americans. Do you have any idea how hard it is for an Asian to win that award? I’m sick and tired of scandals that have to do with literary awards! If they are going to judge based on race, gender, and nationality, what’s the point in voting? Why don’t they just call the author they feel like giving the award to and give it to them? This is the twenty-first century we’re living in, yet how is it that there’s not a single Asian author who’s won the Annular Award, let alone become candidates? Think about it! Isn’t it strange? And you talk about the award being recognized worldwide? About burgers? He’s never won any major awards? Who are you to talk like that!? What kind of award have you won, huh!?”

“Whoa, whoa!”

Having been envious of the young author who had succeeded in life at an early age, Jay raised both of his hands and backed off. The Annular Award, commonly known as The Fantasy Literary Award, was one of the four major, international science fiction literary awards given to authors by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Along with a trophy, the winners were given the opportunity to raise their sales across the globe by an astronomical margin.

The judges of the association consist of preexisting members, and those authors who wished to join the association had to meet fastidious standards, like having published at least three novels in the past, or having sales above a certain amount. Even then, memberships were divided into levels within the association, making it an incredible challenge to obtain even the most basic membership.

Unlike their worldwide recognition, the award was based mostly in the US, and was entirely centered around books written in or translated into English. For that reason, there was never an Asian winner of the Annular Award. And after mentioning the award, which any science fiction fan would know, Jay tried to calm the man down.

“Hey, relax. I was just poking fun at ya. I know that award isn’t the ultimate goal for authors. Besides, even the act of giving out awards itself comes with a world of issues. For example, the Olympics. Referees misjudge all the time, and some results are just blatantly fabricated. Honestly, things like that make me wonder if judging athletes with fairness was ever a priority. But they keep giving out those awards, and glory goes where the award goes. Why? Because in this consequentialist, modern society, getting an award is the simplest, the easiest, and the most convenient way to be recognized.”

There was glory even in false awards, bringing the winner fame and placing them in a higher social position. Perhaps there was no such thing as a false award in this world, only those who shouldn’t be given awards. Those ideas were quite stale, and the man clenched his hands into fists. If he were to admit that those ideas were, indeed, stale, then he, too, would become stale. So, he believed. He believed that ‘Language of God’ had the potential to transcend such laws. In his years of living in the US, he had never witnessed a Korean novel being sold at the rate in which ‘Language of God’ was selling at. The man believed in his favorite novel, written by his favorite author.

“Let’s make a bet.”

“A bet? On what?”

“On something that gives you an advantage. There’s not going to be a trace of fairness, and the chance of me losing should be ninety-nine percent. But as you know, I happen to be the type who places his hopes on the one percent.”

“Well, then, sounds like I’ve got nothing to lose. What’s the bet?” Jay said with a smile. The freckles on his cheeks also moved up as the corners of his mouth turned up.

“I know for sure that Yun Woo’s books, like this ‘Language of God’ here, are fully qualified to win the Annular Award because they’ve been translated into English.”

“Right.”

Although the Annular Award was typically known as an award given out to authors of science fiction, they also considered fantasy novels. On top of that, the award wasn’t just limited to novels, considering even compositions like screenplays and reviews. The moment ‘Language of God’ was translated into English, the man started secretly hoping that the book would win the award. Although it might not have been the case for other major literary awards, the youngest winner of the Annular Award was twenty-three years old. There was a chance.

“I bet that Yun Woo will be the youngest, and the first Asian, and Korean, to be chosen as a candidate for the Annular Award.”

“A candidate? Instead of a winner?’

“It takes time to get there. The evaluation goes on for a while.”

“You’re already gung-ho about this, aren’t you?” Jay said, his smile turning into a mocking snicker. “Well, what’s in it for me?”

“When I win,” the man said, cutting Jay off completely. “If I win, you stand in the middle of a public square and shout “Yun Woo is the best novelist in the world!” three times. Then, I’ll record it and put it up on the internet. Also, you eat nothing but burgers for an entire week.”

“You can’t be serious,” Jay said, his voice filled with interest. “OK. Well, if I win, you’re forever banned from buying, reading, or even making any recommendations of Yun Woo books to me. On top of that, you owe me a meal at a three-Michelin star restaurant.”

“… Isn’t that a bit much?”

“At least I’m not putting you through public humiliation. Why? Are you afraid you’ll lose?”

“Deal.”

Just like that, the two kept an eye out for news of the Annular Award.

Coming back from his morning exercise, Juho realized that he had missed a call while he’d been out. It was from Jang Mi, and when he called her back, the voice on the other end of the line was exploding with joy, sounding happier than Juho had ever heard her. The joy was overwhelming, to the point of the editor being completely incoherent in her speech.

“Could you repeat that?” Juho asked calmly, and after taking a deep breath, Jang Mi said, “You were chosen as the candidate for an international science fantasy literary award!”

“Pardon?” Juho asked again.

At which point, she rephrased her words, “‘Language of God’ might end up getting the Annular Award!”

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