Tomas Marcantonio’s story “Choice” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 17 January 2020.
The main concept of this story, that aborted foetuses have been given life without their mother’s knowledge, is both terrifying and harrowing. In fact, I almost abandoned the idea after early drafts. Abortion is a complicated and sensitive topic, and it needs to be treated as such. I disliked Philip K. Dick’s controversial story on the same topic, ‘The Pre-persons’, and was wary of producing something equally insensitive.
What made me persist with the piece was the ongoing debates about abortion laws in certain parts of the world. ‘Choice’ is an uncomfortable narrative, but it’s also a pro-choice piece. Essentially, this story is an allegory for the injustice of a mother’s choice being taken out of her hands. Although ‘Choice’ features complex characters, the only real villain in the piece is the company that took the choice away from the mothers.
The bleakness of this narrative is reflected in the setting: a half-abandoned Pyongyang in a reunified Korea. The unsettling atmosphere of this dystopian city is an eerie backdrop to such disturbing events. Much of my writing is inspired by the Korean peninsula, where I have lived for several years. The ever-complex relationship with the North, combined with the ongoing concerns about a rapidly ageing population, provide endless inspiration for speculative fiction.
The population issue comes into play here as an incentive for the abortion company to deceive families. The main characters’ attitudes towards Korean reunification, meanwhile, provide telling insights into their personalities, which come to the fore at the story’s climax.
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