This Writer’s On Fire: Alice Sola Kim -The Toast

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“At Midnight we parked by Staples and tried some seriously dark fucking magic.” —the first line of “Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying.”

Who She Is

We know her name, we know she writes and possibly is an office manager in NYC, and I have seen her read so I know she’s real (I promise, she was wearing gold sneakers), but there isn’t a lot of info about Alice Sola Kim. She is working on a novel. She has won prestigious fellowships (her Buzzfeed bio says: “She is a recipient of a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation and a MacDowell Colony residency”). Her website feels like a possibility or a portal that requires a secret password. I’m not sure it really exists. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. But everything you need to know is in her essays and stories anyway.

Why You Should Read Her

Whether it’s an essay about Philip K. Dick or a story about monstrous girls, Alice Sola Kim is cutting away that skin on the world and showing us some of the ugly necessary truths: beauty is a white girl, beauty is a lethal disease, love is sometimes sinister, sometimes it gets worse. Sometimes it just gets weird.

Forget all of those trendy arguments about genre (you know you watched Buffy or Game of Thrones or Sleepy Hollow), Kim’s writing is proof that that’s all bullshit anyway. People are people whether they are casting spells, time-traveling or waiting tables while the world dies around them. You know these worlds and these people, these stories. Kim is using the future to warn us about the present and the world we are making right now. About the people we don’t notice, about the parts of ourselves we are willing to trade away for a future that looks more and more terrifying.

Alice Sola Kim is telling you that no matter how different and strange, how monstrous people are, they are also utterly familiar and human. Alice Sola Kim’s people are usually girls and women and often they are not white, which shouldn’t be something to talk about, but it is. They do beautiful and terrible and just stupid things. Sometimes these things they do transform them into supermodels, sometimes monsters. Possibly these are the same thing. There is something hopeful in that. That girls are a threat. If you’re a girl or have ever been a girl, you know the truth in that. But we put a lot of time and energy into ensuring that the threat is taken out of them, us. Kim is trying to remind us that it’s always there. Lurking. That we can be fearsome again; we can be monstrous. We need to be or the world will swallow us.


Where to read her work

Short fiction

“Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying” in Tin House’s Tribes issue and Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant.

(You can also listen to Alice read “Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying” in this podcast at The Catapult.)

“Hwang’s Billion Brilliant Daughters” at Lightspeed.

“Beautiful White Bodies” at Strange Horizons.

“We Love Deena” at Strange Horizons.

“The Night and Day War” in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, #21, November 2007.


Essay, etc.

“Bummed Out And Ugly” an essay about Philip K. Dick and much more at Buzzfeed.

“An Interview with Kelly Link” at Fiction Writers Review.

Alice at Litquake via YouTube.

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