Isabel J. Kim is a Korean-American speculative fiction writer based in New York City. She is a Shirley Jackson Award winner and her short fiction has been published in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other venues. When she’s not writing, she’s either practicing law or co-hosting her internet culture podcast Wow if True—both equally noble pursuits.

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Isabel J. Kim has the following works available at Clarkesworld:


FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 198 – March 2023

Start at the cleave of it, not at Zed’s meat death or Ep’s centuries-long destruction, but at the moment that Zed halves his own mind and walks away. Or as was reported in the internal memorandum, the moment when Pilot-Commander Zeta San Tano killed himself at his infinite post on the M.K.S. Epsilon, leaving behind […]

Calf Cleaving in the Benthic Black

FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 194 – November 2022

The technical term is “generation ship cascade failure.” Cryogenic collapse. Millennium drive breakdown. Failed ship-in-a-bottle revolution against the corpostate hegemony. I call all the outcomes whalefalls, though. Because that’s what they are: the carcasses of something that used to be alive, floating slowly down through the black. I guess that makes me one of those […]

Termination Stories for the Cyberpunk Dystopia Protagonist

FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 190 – July 2022

Cool and Sexy Asian Girl stands outside the convenience store under the striped awning and waits for the rain to stop. The rain is never going to stop. Cool and Sexy Asian Girl would need to go to a different city for the rain to stop, a city not built on phosphorescent fluorescence and slick […]

The Massage Lady at Munjeong Road Bathhouse

FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 185 – February 2022

Kim Jinah has worked at the Munjeong Road bathhouse for six years. She’s scrubbed the tiles of the large baths. She’s manned the counter that sells squeeze packs of shampoo, baked eggs, and cold drinks. Jinah is now a massage lady. It’s not a glamorous job. Jinah stands in her old underwear and scrapes the […]

Homecoming is Just Another Word for the Sublimation of the Self

FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 174 – March 2021

You are waiting for your instance in the basement of the Shinsegae Department Store. This was as good as an amusement park when you were a kid; it was a wonderland of delicious food stalls and a typical weekend haunt because your grandfather lived two blocks away. Your grandfather is dead. Your instance gave you […]