Read an Exclusive Excerpt of Snowglobe by Soyoung Park, translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort

In a world of constant winter, only the citizens of Snowglobe escape the bitter cold—but Snowglobe hides dark and dangerous secrets at its heart.  A groundbreaking Korean novel translated into English for the first time that is perfect for fans of Snowpiercer and Squid Game!

Check out the exclusive announcement and a sneak peek on Entertainment Weekly. Continue reading an early excerpt of Snowglobe below…


by Soyoung Park, translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort


“Hi, sweeties!” Mom calls, waving at us from a corner of the power plant’s central hall, where she’s chatting with some friends.

The sight of her makes me feel lighter. We don’t get to see a lot of each other—there are a total of four shifts at the plant, assigned by lottery; and as a first-shift worker, she’s here from six a.m. to four p.m. every day.

I wave back and make a beeline for the stack of free  TV Guides on the nearby newsstand. TV Guide is a weekly magazine that provides the upcoming program schedules for the hundreds of Snowglobe channels available for viewing every day, and thus is essential for daily life. Honestly, depending on the week, the slim volume can be even more entertaining than the shows themselves. Reading about which new programs are about to premiere and which series are ending is always captivating, regardless of whether or not I tune in to them.

“Yes!” I exclaim under my breath as my eyes alight upon this week’s special  feature—an interview with Cha Seol, director of The Goh Haeri Show, also known as the person I admire the most in the entire universe. I thumb the corner of the magazine, weighing my options. It’s tempting to just devour the whole article right now, but another part of me wants to wait and savor the pages in the comfort of my room at the end of a hard day’s work. I tuck the magazine away in my parka’s internal chest pocket, choosing the latter. A few moments later, though, I find myself reaching for it again.

“I’ll just check out the Tips,” I say to myself, taking out the guide. The Tips section, with its weekly career advice for aspiring actors and directors, is my favorite section of the magazine.

“Hey, Jeon Chobahm, are you even listening to me?” Ongi’s voice interrupts my focus, instantly annoying me. I lift my eyes to his scowling face. “I said, don’t you ever speak to that woman again, do you understand?” he says, reaching toward the stack of TV Guides for his own copy. As much as I want to throw a retort back at him, it isn’t worth it to make a bigger deal of the incident, so I just brush him off.

“God, you need to relax, Jeon Ongi,” I say, looking back to the Tips.

A minute later, I’m pulled away again by the plant supervisor’s shout. “Hey, Jeon Ongi, you lazy lump!”

I glance up. The man is standing by the loading dock across the hall, looking constipated, as usual. “What are you doing?” he yells, more loudly. “Get over here and start unloading!”

Ongi takes off like a rocket. “On my way, sir!” he shouts in reply.

The two of them go through this routine daily. I’m snickering when someone slaps me on the back, chirping, “Jeon Cho!”

I turn to see my friend Jaeyun flashing her toothy smile at me.

“Jaeyun! You’re back!” I cry, delighted. “How was your tour?”

“Good! I made it back in one piece,” she says, then continues wearily, “The storm raged for three days straight.”

Jaeyun is a train engineer on the Ja-line, one of the fourteen railways that comprise the freight network that extends, like arteries from a heart, from Snowglobe to the outer settlements. It’s via the railway that food and other essential supplies are distributed throughout the open world, as well as occasional nonessential items mail-ordered by those able to pay a stiff premium. Deliveries are dropped off at the power plant of each settlement along the routes. From the Gah-line to the Ha-line, train engineers are selected from towns situated at the line’s terminus—settlements on the fringes of civilization, like my hometown settlement. Jaeyun, who is only a few years older than me, has held the position for six years now.

“Did you know that the TV in the engineer’s cab turns off in bad weather?” she says, rolling her eyes. “So here I am, staring at nothing but the infinite tracks ahead, all alone in my cab without anything to distract myself with. The wind is screaming. Snow’s blowing everywhere. And as if that’s not enough, thunder is sounding right above my head. The next thing I know, I’m on my knees, praying for the first time in my life.”

She pauses to shudder for emphasis, but I know her dramatics are mostly for my entertainment. In truth, she’s one of the bravest people I know. She wouldn’t be doing what she does, otherwise. But I play along.

“Oh, man. You have to tell Ongi about it when you see him,” I say. “The wimp thinks he wants to be a train engineer.”

In fact, the only reason Ongi is volunteering as a warehouse hand is to keep a close eye on all things rail-related. With Jo Woong, the other engineer of the Ja-line, nearing retirement, the supervisor is said to be scouting about for his replacement.

“Ongi?” Jaeyun says, surprised. “I thought he wanted to stay close to home.”

I give her a blank look. If he does, it’s news to me. When I’m silent, she continues, “Considering your grandmother’s health? Who’d take care of her when you go off to film school, if Ongi has to spend half a year away from home on a train? He should stick around, for her sake.”

Oh, film school . . . I shrink into myself, the stock line in the stock rejection letter I received a week ago all too fresh: While your skill set and potential are impressive, we regret to inform you that we are not offering you admission . . .

Snowglobe’s Film Academy is the most prestigious educational institution in the world, producing top-ranking directors year after year. The rejection letter is the second of its kind I’ve received, the same as the one I got last year.

I squirm on my feet as Jaeyun, clueless, flips through TV Guide and finds this week’s special feature. The boxed copy containing Director Cha’s quick bio, which I already know by heart, jumps out at me. She was one of those brilliant people who was accepted into the academy on her first try, and graduated with the highest distinction to boot.

“You’re not going to treat me like a stranger when you become this famous, are you?” Jaeyun teases me, jabbing me lightly with her elbow.

Fighting back the shame rising up inside me, I deadpan, “Of course I am. What do you think?” and the two of us burst into laughter.

I try to enjoy the moment, pushing the rejection letter from my mind. After all, what matters is that I will create the most amazing show of all time, the kind no director has ever produced before. As long as I know that, I can’t beat myself up over the when of it. What’s a few years’ delay in the great scheme of things? Nothing. At least, that’s what I have to tell myself. Because if I stop believing in my future, I’m afraid I won’t be able to endure the punishing monotony and hopelessness of my so-called life. Not for another minute.


“Second shift! Get moving!” the supervisor shouts, and the two hundred or so workers scattered around the hall begin shuffling toward the gigantic motor in the center.

“Come on!” he urges. “Hustle!” He starts his obnoxious marching clap, the rhythm of which we follow to position ourselves at the workstations: human-sized hamster wheels connected to the central motor. Those of us with odd ID numbers begin the shift by walking inside the wheels, while those with even ID numbers begin the shift sitting just outside the wheels, working the hand cranks attached to the wheels’ stub axles. As the wheels turn, their kinetic energy is harnessed through a mechanical amplifier coupled to an electromagnetic energy harvester, whose output subsequently turns the central motor to generate electricity. Simply put, power production depends entirely on human physical labor, without which our world would screech to a halt. There wouldn’t be freight trains or commuter buses, not to mention electric kettles that can heat up ice-cold water in minutes for a hot cup of cocoa. Forget hot cocoa. The stench of all the sweaty, unbathed laborers alone would pose a serious public health hazard.

I start my shift inside the wheel, doing a kind of speed walk to sustain the minimum speed of 4 miles per hour required to power the wheel’s built-in TV screen. My need for entertainment aside, a sleeping screen is sure to draw the supervisor to my wheel like a paper clip to a magnet, and then I’d have to suffer his insults up close.

—Where’s your sense of community?

—If you’re not willing to contribute to society, why don’t you just walk out there and freeze to death?

. . . and so on and so forth.

I put on the headphones attached via a cord to the TV and click the remote to Channel 60—The Goh Haeri Show. It’s my go-to choice for when I want to turn my mind off. Having seen all the available episodes aside from a few, I can let my attention drift in and out and still keep up with the show’s general narrative.

“Those who work at a pace of exactly four miles per hour”—the supervisor’s voice pierces through my headphones, jarring me—“are the type of losers with no ambition, no drive, and no future prospects. The dregs of society.”

Turning my head, I’m jolted to see him right there by my wheel, a megaphone raised to his mouth.

“How can one be so content with doing the bare minimum? Would it kill you to be of use to society?” he thunders. Leaning sideways against the handlebar, he stares at me with open contempt.

Would it kill him to be just a little bit less obnoxious? I think. Suddenly, Miryu’s face rises before my eyes. I wonder if the supervisor would have the guts to talk to her this way. Fat chance. Trying to ignore his glare, I replay the exchange with Miryu this morning in my head. Whose mail is she waiting for? Her estranged family’s? Or something from one of her exes still living in Snowglobe?

“Turn up the heat, all of you!” barks the supervisor, finally pivoting on his heels and marching away from me. “At this rate, we won’t even be able to pay for the streaming service!”

A collective groan goes up at that particular threat. Still, it delivers the desired effect. Everyone picks up the pace, moving a bit more vigorously.

Most of the electricity produced by laborers like us in the open world is sent to Snowglobe, where it powers the lives  of the actors who dwell within the domed superstructure. In exchange, they share their lives with us in the form of reality shows.

The whir and vibration of the central motor intensify. It isn’t long before my sweat-soaked thermals begin clinging to my skin.

“Folks, it was only a couple of generations ago that the pit toilet was the norm.” The supervisor’s amplified voice descends from the second floor this time. Here he goes again. I fasten my eyes back on the TV screen and crank up the headphones’ volume.

Christmas being only two days away, Channel 60 is marathon-showing every Christmas-themed episode of The Goh Haeri Show. Presently, four-year old Haeri is playing quietly with her doll, a diamond bracelet adorning her tiny wrist. Her mom, sitting by her side and watching her play, wants to know if Haeri likes the bracelet, her Christmas gift. Haeri says nothing. In fact, she doesn’t even appear to hear her mother.

I’ve seen this episode before. At this point in the show, Haeri has been mute since the Halloween party a few months prior, where she had a terror-induced seizure following an encounter with someone dressed as a ghost. Though I know that Haeri regains her speech and her smile by spring, these episodes always break my heart.

The camera zooms in on little Haeri’s angelic face.

“The pit toilet was every little kid’s nightmare.” The supervisor’s voice works itself through my headphones once again, overlaying the scene on my TV screen like some sort of absurd voice-over. “And for a good reason! Do you know how many people fell into those pits of waste during their midnight visits?”

Though I’m not especially squeamish, it’s disorienting to be so rudely jerked back into the world of the pit toilet while my eyes are resting on Haeri’s dreamy life. Without my permission, the image of the closed-off pit toilet at our own house flashes through my mind. In the background, the supervisor rambles on. He never stops.

“How would you have liked it if you’d had to peel down your pants and squat over the steaming pit in fifty below? Would you have frozen your ass off or what?”

Before the advent of the electromagnetic energy-harvesting technology, electricity was an incredibly rare commodity. No access to it meant there was no way to prevent frozen or burst pipes, making indoor plumbing a dream for common people.

“What a time to be alive!” the supervisor intones. Producing an apple from his vest pocket and raising it to his mouth, he adds, “Do you know how lucky we are?” Without waiting for an answer, he crunches into the fruit.

Every day, each worker gets a ration of fresh fruit and vegetables, which are grown in the greenhouse inside the power plant. The cost of maintaining such a greenhouse is deducted from our paychecks, of course. Today’s lunch included exactly one-eighth of an apple. But not for the supervisor, apparently.

“Lucky? Ha! He must have gotten all our shares of luck, then. Gobbling up a whole apple just for himself,” Mom grumbles inside her wheel, adjacent to mine. Darting a quick glance around us, she leans toward my wheel. “Is what Ongi told me true?” she whispers. “You spoke to that woman?”

She is referring to Miryu, of course. That woman. That monster. That wraith. All just a few of the monikers people have adopted so as to avoid speaking her true, vile name.

“Yup,” I say, trying to sound casual. “It was really nothing, though. Mr. Jaeri wouldn’t let her on the bus, so she asked me to stop by the post office to see if she has any mail.”

Mom gasps, her eyes wide with alarm.

“Sweetie,” she exhales. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that woman is?”

She looks ready to lunge for my remote and switch my screen to The Jo Miryu Show as proof. At home, the show is banned for its scandalous, violent content, which my mother has deemed inappropriate for developing minds. She doesn’t know that Ongi and I already binged the entire series—seasons one through seven—in secret, over ninth-grade winter break while she was at work and Grandma was napping.

“I know, Mom,” I assure her, thinking back to the emotionless look on Miryu’s face in one episode, when she’d leveled her gun at the man she’d fallen head over heels for in spite of herself. How does a person do that? What went through her mind as she pulled the trigger? I know Mom would kill me if she could hear my thoughts right now, but I can’t help myself—the questions bubble up on their own.

And it isn’t just Miryu I consider. What would I have done, had I been her director? How would I have handled an actor like Miryu? What kind of decisions would I have found myself making—not just as a director, but also as a human being? Would I, too, have continued to work on a show filled with savage acts of betrayal and murder? Say what you will, but the show’s ratings record remains to be broken years after its final episode aired.

The image in my mind switches to one of Miryu’s acclaimed director, Cha Guibahng, receiving his National Medal of Arts for her show. But in the next moment, his solemn face morphs into my own, and suddenly it’s me standing before the sea of flashing cameras, the same gold medal glimmering on my chest. My pulse quickens at the vision, and I feel a surge of energy through my legs turning the wheel. Before I know it, I’m running. Sprinting.

One day, I’ll break out of this icebox, this tomb of deprivation and bleak uniformity. I’ll get to Snowglobe, where I’m certain my story is waiting for me—a story which I, and I alone, can bring to life. Inside my wheel spinning to nowhere, I can already see myself there.



After my shift, I head for the post office, practically sailing down the long, narrow plaza that connects the central motor hall with the plant’s main entrance. Essential businesses and services, like the post office, grocery store, laundromat, health clinic, and pharmacy, line the sides of the plaza, all a drab gray that makes them blur into each other. Even the post office is just another hole in the wall—nothing like the shiny, candy-apple-red buildings in Snowglobe. But what does it matter; we’re lucky to have a post office. Without it, we’d lose touch with friends and family who aren’t nearby, and mail-ordering anything from Snowglobe would just be a dream. High postage rates mean the place is rarely busy, though, and ordering anything from Snowglobe is a rare luxury.

Still, every year, Mom splurges on our birthday cake, which she orders from a special bakery in Snowglobe. The gorgeous cake, made to order by the pâtissier—an actor, of course— travels all the way to our post office by train. Thinking about it makes my heart swell; me and my brother will be lighting candles and hearing our family sing “Happy Birthday” in just a few days.

“Hi, Chobahm!” Suji says from behind the counter, the grin on her face so giddy it makes it seem like she’s been waiting for me all day long.

Suji uses a wheelchair because she was born without the use of her legs. Since she can’t work the hamster wheels, she fulfills her civic duty at the post office instead.

I return her greeting and begin to say, “Do you have mail for—” I don’t even get to utter Miryu’s name before Suji thrusts a shiny gold envelope at me across the counter.

“Check out the front,” she says, barely able to contain her excitement.

Puzzled, I turn it over and reveal a red wax seal embossed with the most recognizable logo of them all, that of the Yibonn Media Group. The Yibonn Media Group, which everyone calls the Yibonn, owns, controls, and operates the Snowglobe broadcasting system. In turn, the distinguished Yi family descending from the eponymous founder of the company, Yi Bonn, is commonly called the Yibonns, as opposed to the too-ordinary the Yis, which is a reflection of society’s esteem for the family’s role in establishing the institutional framework that has sustained the Snowglobe order all these years.

“It’s from Yujin!” Suji cries out.

I stare at the logo, my eyes round with surprise. I tilt the card-sized envelope this way and that under the light, taking in its elegant gold shimmer.

“Don’t get choked up yet,” Suji says, rolling her wheelchair back a few feet to a small pile on the floor covered in gray cloth. With a magician’s flourish, she pulls back the fabric, and my jaw drops.

It’s a washtub-sized box full of brownies. I’ve seen brownies countless times on TV, with them being Haeri’s favorite treat and all, but never in real life. And these brownies are adorable—decorated with Christmas trees made out of red and green frosting. A pen in one hand, Suji begins checking off the items on the shipment list.

“Ten bottles of orange juice: check. A box of fresh strawberries: check.”

My nose begins to burn like it does when tears come. Yujin, my best friend, is the first Snowglobe actor to come from our town since Miryu ten years ago. The thought makes my heart swell all over again, and I’m touched that she found the time to send me a note—and all these amazing gifts—only two months after moving to Snowglobe.


“Oh, right,” I murmur, suddenly remembering my mission. “Do you have any mail for Jo Miryu?”

Suji lifts her gaze and gives me a quizzical look. When I don’t correct myself, she makes a sour face. “Who would send anything to her?”

I shrug. She returns to the shipment list, and I tuck Yujin’s card in my chest pocket like the rare treasure that it is.


“Shin Yujin sent you fresh strawberries? A whole box?” Ongi cries in amazement, helping me stow the full sled in the bus’s luggage compartment. Suji insisted that I borrow it to haul the bounty home.

I gesture for him to quiet down, conscious of everyone about to board the bus with us, many of whom have never tasted fresh strawberries.

“How many bottles of orange juice, did you say?” Ongi asks, hushing his voice.

“Nine,” I mouth, leaving out the fact that I gave a bottle to Suji. Fresh strawberries, orange juice, brownies . . . saliva pools in my mouth at the thought of sharing the treats with Mom and Grandma when we get home.


Approaching our stop, I’m surprised not to see Miryu waiting for me. She seemed so desperate. Overhead, the gloomy sky is closing up for the evening, so Ongi and I don our headlamps. I feel a pang of disappointment and turn up my headlight, sweeping the area with its beam again.

“Would you please listen to your older brother?” Ongi says, exasperated. “You will stay far away from that woman. You will!”

He steps into his skis and I grab the sled’s pull rope and attach it to his harness. Ongi has volunteered to be the beast of burden in appreciation of his good luck, and being the big brother of a sister with connections in Snowglobe.

I carefully scan the area one last time for Miryu, ignoring Ongi’s impatient look, and a faint, shadowy form begins to take shape in the murk at the base of a nearby tree. Before I know it, I’m already moving toward it.

“Hey! Where are you going?” Ongi yells. “Come back!”

He rushes after me, but the loaded sled he’s tethered to hampers him and I make it to the tree alone. To my amazement, the dark pile reveals itself to be a person crumpled on the ground. My heart falls. I quickly drop to one knee beside  the figure and turn them over onto their  side,  peeling the ski mask down under their chin so I can listen and feel for breath. And that’s when I’m jolted for the second time in less than a minute. It’s Miryu, blood leaching out of her scalp and crusting on her forehead. Fighting down the dread surging inside me, I bring my ear close to her mouth and nose. She’s breathing.

“Jeon Chobahm! Step away, right now!” Ongi shouts furiously, wrestling with the rope he’s managed to get tangled in.

Turning back to Miryu, I try to rouse her. “Miss, are you okay? Open your eyes, please!”

No response. I give her shoulder a hard shake. “Miryu! Wake up!”

Her eyelids flutter ever so slightly.

“Please! You can’t sleep here!” I shout, and slide my hands under her arms so I can drag her through the snow toward the sled. But the two layers of thick mittens I have on keep slipping and sliding around so that I can’t keep a grip on her, so I peel them off and hold them in my teeth.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Ongi demands. He’s right in my face now, finally having freed himself. But this is no time to argue.

“Unload the sled, please,” I tell him, breathing heavily. “Quick. We need to get her to the plant.” Without waiting for his response, I continue on toward the main road with Miryu, heart pounding. She’s surprisingly heavy. Deadweight. I think I can finally appreciate the full meaning of the word. And thank goodness for the boost of adrenaline coursing through my veins right now.

The plant houses the clinic, but the next outbound shuttle isn’t until daybreak, and Miryu needs immediate medical attention.

“We’ll have to use the sled to take her there ourselves,” I tell Ongi.

“Are you insane?” he erupts, snatching my wrist. “To save a murderer?!”

“What other choice do we have? Just leave her to die out here?” I shout back, letting my eyes cut into him. My vehemence seems to throw him off for a moment, but then he strengthens his grip around my wrist.

“Come on. It’s nearly sixty below,” he says, pleading now. “It’s not safe to be outside for more than half an hour!”

He’s right. Truth be told, I’m not all that confident that I could make it to the clinic within thirty minutes, not while towing a full-grown woman behind me on a sled. Still, I’ll have to try. I’m good on skis.

“That’s why I am going,” I respond, wrenching myself free and snatching the ski poles from his other hand.

Ongi stamps his feet in frustration. “You’ll freeze to death in the middle of nowhere!”

“If Dad had been a chicken like you, we wouldn’t even be here!” I shout back. “Do you know that, Jeon Ongi?”

His face goes blank. That may have been harsh, but I’m too worked up for calm deliberation.

“I’m not going to die today,” I tell him. “There’s too much I want to do; I won’t let it happen. I promise.”

He stares at me. Then, squeezing his eyes shut, he pulls the thick wool hat over his face and screams into it for a long breath. After he’s done, he empties the sled and helps me load Miryu onto it.

“I’ll go home and gear up,” he says. “Catch up with you as soon as I can.” And then he’s off, kicking up snow.

My twin brother is going to save me in case I keel over on the way. I don’t argue with him, not that I have the time. Thirty minutes is all I need. I’ll be fine. I pick up the sled’s tether, then draw a big breath, plant my poles in the snow, and push off with my left foot. The heavy sled makes it rough going at first; but it isn’t long before I get into a steady rhythm.

Whoosh, whoosh—

My skis glide smoothly over the snow as I set off down the road, following in the tracks laid by the shuttle. A thousand thoughts swirl in my mind, but I keep focused on the path ahead. You never know when the odd elk or wild horse might surprise you by jumping into the road.

Every so often, I find myself glancing over my shoulder to look at Miryu on the sled. After all, it’s just me and the ruthless killer out here in the dark, and the thought sends a fresh chill down my spine every time it occurs to me. “Focus, focus . . . ,” I chant aloud to drive away the creeping unease, fastening my eyes on the path before me.

I’m not sure how long it’s been, but the sparsely illuminated road ahead seems to stretch on endlessly. In the beam of my headlamp, trees cast dark shadows on the snowy ground before closing in on me like falling dominoes. Doubt rears up inside me, quickening my breath; and the heavy-duty ski mask I’m wearing doesn’t help. I want so badly to yank it off, but doing that in this temperature would be dumber than dumb.

Pulling a full sled on skis is vigorous exercise, no doubt, and I’m damp with sweat. Still, my body is losing heat faster than it can generate more. My legs seem to be slowing down, and maybe my mind is, too, when the sky—without preliminary flurries or spitting flakes—decides to unleash a genuine squall. Just my luck. I hunch into the wind.

Stuffing back the feeling of doom rising within me, I replay the story Mom likes to tell us.

It was in the early days of Mr. Jaeri’s shuttle-driving career. One morning after a storm, the wheel got away from him and the bus spun across the slick road into a ditch. In his inexperience, Mr. Jaeri kept revving up the engine, which only drove the wheels deeper into the glaze of ice hidden under the snow, further canting the bus at an unnerving angle. Needless to say, the bus couldn’t simply be picked up and put back on the road by Mr. Jaeri and the unlucky riders. To make matters worse, there was only an hour or so’s fuel left to keep the engine alive for heat. After that, the temperature inside the bus would plunge to match the frozen tundra’s, turning it into a walk-in freezer. The chance of another motorist coming by and seeing the stranded bus was close to nil, as the only other vehicle in town was a quasi-ambulance used by the plant’s physician for house calls.

Thankfully, Dad and his heavily pregnant wife, Mom, were among the passengers on that fateful day. Seeing no other way to save his wife and unborn twins, Dad set off for the plant on skis, a trip that would normally take forty minutes by bus.

It was about two hours later that the stiff, frost-rimed passengers, now huddled together for warmth inside the dead bus, heard the approaching sirens. Minutes later, they were evacuated to the clinic for emergency care. It was there that Mom finally saw Dad again, lying in the ICU, his skin gangrened black and blue from frostbite.

Dad had always dreamed of seeing the ocean, so three days later, she hired the ambulance service—at a dreadful fee—to spread his ashes on the beach. That December, Ongi and I were born. Weighing in at 5.7 and 5.5 pounds, we were pretty robust for preterm twins.

Mom never tells us the story without reminding us that Dad would have done the same thing even if she hadn’t been on the bus with him; that he was the kind of person who would spring to action no matter what the odds, rather than sitting back and waiting for fate to claim him.

The wind hisses and keeps on hissing. I’m frozen to the core now and can’t feel my feet or hands, or anything else, in fact, but I pull myself along, sustained by the image of Mom’s face.

The storm won’t relent, though, furiously whipping snow all around me in bitter, blinding drafts like a monstrous white presence bent on erasing me. Numb with cold, I can’t begin to fathom how many more kilometers it is to the plant, or if we’ll be able to reach it. I glance down, amazed to see my skis still slogging through the snow under me. And it is in this foggy state of mind that I finally see the light of the power plant glowing dreamily in the distance.




I stagger into the clinic. The doctor gasps and her eyes go wide with shock before sweeping over me, then Miryu. A wave of relief, then exhaustion, washes over me. While there’s nothing I want more than to collapse in a heap, that will have to wait. I scrape up the last of my strength and help the doctor move Miryu onto the examining table.

The doctor swiftly goes to work, removing Miryu’s snow-encrusted outerwear. I try to help with Miryu’s thick, fur-lined boots, but my frozen fingers just fumble. In fact, I’m feeling so incredibly drowsy that I might as well be in a waking dream.

“It’s worse than I thought.” The doctor’s voice drifts to me as if from a great distance, distorted.

Glancing over, I see massive bruises on Miryu’s shoulder and leg. An animal attack? Unlikely. Miryu is an expert hunter. On the other hand, there’s no shortage of people with undying hatred for her. Did they finally go ahead and do what they’d been threatening? That, too, is unlikely, considering how scared people are of Miryu. I can’t imagine the average townsperson having the guts to get close enough to inflict this kind of damage.

A grim look on her face, the doctor turns up the heating pad under Miryu. I pull the elk-hide blanket up to her chin. We have to bring her core temperature back to normal.

Later on, swabbing Miryu’s bloodied face with antiseptic-soaked cotton balls, the doctor turns her attention to me.

“If you don’t mind my asking, Chobahm,” she begins, addressing me by my name. Being the only twins in town, Ongi and I have been accorded a level of celebrity since birth. “Why did you decide to help Miryu?”

Did I really just hear her say Miryu’s name? I’ve never heard another adult do that. Registering my shock, she gives me a soft smile. “We’d been pretty close as kids. We even connected a few times in Snowglobe while I was in medical school.”

All institutions of higher education, including medical schools, are in Snowglobe. Therefore, throughout their years of training, medical students are obligated to appear in medical dramas, though not as official actors. In exchange, they receive free tuition. An added benefit of this practice is that viewers at home get to preview their future physicians’ and surgeons’ professional aptitudes and bedside manner.

But why did I help Miryu? I couldn’t say. As I bend down to pick up Miryu’s clothes, which are strewn on the floor, the doctor resumes, “I had no idea back then that the girl was going around slaughtering people left and right,” and there is a tinge of sadness in her voice.

Here it’s important to note that actors don’t get to watch their own shows, not while they actively live and work in Snowglobe. This keeps them away from spoilers that might change their behavior and dampen the viewer’s pleasure. For instance, a husband might be actively cuckolded, but lacking access to his own show, he wouldn’t find out about it before the rest of the world. Brutal, yes. But such is the nature of entertainment TV.

The doctor suggests I warm up with a cup of tea. I peel off my parka and shuffle to the kitchen on my thawing legs, suddenly famished. The cupboard shelves are disappointing, to say the least, with the cocoa powder container sitting empty by a near-empty container of coffee beans. I’m halfheartedly contemplating the tea options—green and olive leaf—when a sharp cry rips through the silent air. It’s Miryu. I race back.

“Shhhh . . . I know, I know,” the doctor says softly. “You’re doing great. Just a couple more stitches.”

I’ve never been sewn or even poked by a needle, but just imagining the pain makes me wince.

Too expensive for use in minor procedures, pain medications are reserved for those in excruciating pain, such as women in active labor. Major treatments and nonroutine procedures are handled at the real hospital in Snowglobe. In other words, common people have to grit their teeth and bear the pain until their luck turns or death releases them.

“B-black . . . The black . . . ,” Miryu mumbles, her eyes darting wildly under her eyelids. Her cracked, cold-bleached lips struggle to issue more sounds. I have to look away to suppress the sympathy rising within me. The woman is shunned by everyone for a good reason. I head back into the kitchen and drop a green tea bag in the mug.

The doctor looks up from Miryu. “You have to take care of that frost damage,” she tells me. “Get the salve in the small blue tub and cover your face with it. Then take it home and apply more every hour. We don’t want scars on that pretty face. I’ll bill Miryu for it.”

It is only then that I wonder what my face looks like. I set down my mug to locate the salve.

“And never pull another stunt like this,” the doctor says. “Have you thought of what losing you would do to your mother?”

What would it do? It would kill her, of course. Mom’s only wish is for us to be safe and happy. I can’t believe I needed someone else to remind me. How could I have been so stupid?

“I’m sorry,” I murmur, my voice dwindling in my throat.

In front of the mirror, I’m stunned to see that my cheeks and nose have taken on various shades, textures, and finishes. I dip a finger in the thick salve and carefully spread it on the damaged skin, tensing at the initial sting. But the sting quickly dulls, giving way to a cooling sensation. And that’s when the thought of my twin brother hits me with the force of a sledgehammer.

“Ongi!” I cry out.

The doctor pivots from the examining table.

“Ongi still isn’t here!” I shriek. “He was supposed to catch up to me!”

With that, I snatch up my parka and rush to the door. I’m halfway out of the clinic when the doctor lunges for me and takes me by the arm.

“You don’t think you’re going back outside, do you?”

“I have to find Ongi! He must be in trouble!”

“Slow down!” she demands, clutching at me with both hands now. “You were damn lucky not to have died out there. You’re crazy if you think you’ll be that lucky again.”

I try wrenching free, but the petite doctor is surprisingly tough.

“Let me go!” I scream, hysterical. “I can’t save her and let my own brother die! Please!”

But the doctor responds by tightening her grip, and I have no choice but to tussle with her.

Then there’s a knock at the door. Both our heads snap toward it.

“Ongi?” I gasp.

But the person walking in isn’t Ongi. Not even close.

“Hello,” the man says, a smile revealing straight white teeth. The rich shine of his full-length fur cloak jumps out at me, along with the fine, ink-black suit underneath. No one from this town wears anything but dull, thickly insulated boots, but the leather wing tips capping his long legs have a brilliant shine. And his face under the lush fox-fur hat . . . There’s something richly familiar about him. I’ve seen him before, I’m sure of it.

“You must be Ms. Jeon Chobahm,” the man begins. “I’m coming from your mother’s house. Your brother told me where to find you.”

My brother? This man saw him at home? All the fear and tension drain out of me, and I turn to the doctor. She shoots me a relieved smile, then narrows her eyes at the man, as if she, too, is trying to place him.

“Do you have a minute, Ms. Chobahm?” the man asks, his eyes fixed on me like I’m the only one in the room. He hasn’t so much as given the doctor an acknowledging glance, let alone noticed Miryu on the bed in the corner.

“Do I know you?”

He smiles. “The director of the film school is waiting for you outside, Ms. Chobahm.”

A long moment ticks by; then I hear myself echo him, “Director of the film school?”

A thrill shoots through me.



Exiting the clinic, I follow the man down the darkened plaza toward the plant’s front entrance.

“She’s waiting around the corner,” he says. “Out in the cold?”

The man smiles and opens the heavy door for me. The supple shine of the leather glove hugging his hand screams Snowglobe. Then I know.

“Cooper Raffaeli?” I gasp.

It’s him: the leading man of a hit show that ended two years ago!

“Bingo,” he chimes. And with a self-deprecating laugh, he adds, “The biathlon champ who’s as tough as tofu.”

All jokes aside, he looks pleased to have been recognized. In fact, he appears genuinely content, far more at ease than he was on-screen.

In Snowglobe, Cooper was a professional biathlete who competed in races that combined cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship. In the final round of each race, death row inmates were brought in as targets, a practice that Cooper could never make peace with. Each victory came with enough guilt to crush any sense of triumph, but he persevered. Episode after episode, fans everywhere tuned in to witness the almighty athlete’s psychological unraveling, while empathizing, crying, and torturing themselves right alongside him.

I can’t believe it’s him standing before me in the flesh, the Cooper Raffaeli.

“We used to watch your show every Wednesday and Thursday during supper!” I say, my voice jumping with excitement.

Those of us toiling away in the open world live through our favorite TV shows, riding the rise and fall of the characters’ fortunes as if they were our own. That’s how we escape the burden of our own bleak existence, if only for a while: by immersing ourselves in the lives of those who get to live where the sun shines. And their failures, in particular, be they financial troubles, ugly divorces, or the most wrenching heartbreak, can inspire in us an odd kind of peace, a sense that the world may be an equitable place after all.

“Didn’t you move out of Snowglobe when the show ended?”

“That’s correct,” Cooper says. “But I got lucky. It turns out Snowglobe needs lots of people—not just actors.”

I release a squeak of awe. Then, floating on the thought, I trip over my own ankle like a fool, but Cooper, he of the catlike reflexes, catches me by the elbow and forestalls my face-plant. I cut my eyes away from him, trying to hide the grin spreading across my face.

Two more sets of double doors and then we’re outside. The storm seems to have slackened. Through the lingering flurries, I see a black limousine gleaming on the curb. As with the brownies, I’ve never seen one in real life until this moment. On TV, though, I see limos all the time, mainly depositing actors at the Yibonn estate for events.

With a gloved hand on the limousine’s glinting door handle, Cooper leans close and whispers, “Just don’t act too surprised.” A wink.

Is this a dream? Or did Cooper Raffaeli really just wink at me? Ongi’s not going to believe me when I tell him.

Cooper finally swings the door open, and I stoop to peer inside. I’m a bit surprised to see that the interior is only half the size of its elongated exterior, if that. But more importantly, there is no director of film school waiting for me. Puzzled, I climb in anyway, sinking into a plush seat behind the darkly tinted privacy window that separates the driver’s compartment from the passenger’s. A few moments later, the driver’s-side door opens, and I twist around in my seat to see Cooper settling behind the wheel. Just as I’m wondering if we’re driving to another location to meet the director, there’s a soft whir, and I turn back around to see the wall in front of me slowly rolling up, revealing a set of shapely legs belonging to someone sitting opposite me. Through the clear material of long boots, I can see slim, fine-boned feet pedicured with emerald polish and intricate, hand-painted designs. The big toe on each foot is further adorned with a cubic zirconia of a deeper emerald shade, taking the splendid nail art to yet another level. The clear knee-high boots, the elaborate nail art, the emerald color scheme . . . Everything is straight out of this year’s Snowglobe spring fashion look book.

“How do people live here?” wonders the disembodied voice of my fellow passenger.

She has yet to be fully revealed, but I can now see a sleeveless cream-colored bouclé dress that brings to mind a little lamb. She hugs her bare arms against the frigid air that I must have ushered in with me. After a few more seconds, the wall has lifted completely, and with a soft smile, she introduces herself. Unnecessarily.

“But you already know who I am, don’t you?” she says, shaking her signature fiery bob.

Do I know her? Well, yes, I do, as a matter of fact. She is Director Cha, who single-handedly molded Haeri into the superstar she is now. The woman is only my idol, my North Star, that’s all.

“Hi! Hello!” I say, my voice shrill.

She lets out a soft laugh. “It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Chobahm.”

My heart beats frantically at the sound of her voice pronouncing my name. A thousand winks from Cooper wouldn’t even come close to having the same effect.

“I’m sorry about film school this year,” she continues. “I can imagine your disappointment.”

I don’t believe it. She knows things about me! My mind goes blank with reverence and gratitude.

“I . . . yes. A-a little bit,” I stammer. And before I can stop myself, I’m babbling. “But not a lot! I mean, I’m okay because I’ll—I’ll just apply again next year, and the next year. And the next year?”

Ugh! What a dork! How about a cool, mature That’s okay, followed by I’ve been working on a show idea that will have viewers glued to their screens, or You are the inspiration for my lifelong dream of becoming a show director.

But perhaps those truths don’t need to be spelled out. Director Cha gazes at me warmly, as if she already understands all that I can’t articulate.

“That’s great,” she says, pausing to refocus her eyes on me. “But what if you could use your talent to help me out now?”

Help her? Me? I just stare at her, uncomprehending.

“It’s not really a personal favor,” she continues, her voice taking on a more serious tone. “It’s for Snowglobe, or rather, its viewers.”

In all the wild fantasies I’ve entertained about attending film school or sitting in Director Cha’s special lecture, my being of specific use to her never even occurred to me. It takes me a moment, but I give her the only correct response I know. “Of course, Director Cha,” I say. “I’d love to help. Whatever you say.”

A rich smile of satisfaction settles on her face. Then she pitches the next question. “How much do you think you look like Goh Haeri?”

I give her a dumb stare.

“A lot,” she answers for me. “Obviously, it’d take some work—but not too much. A little upgrade here and there, and everyone will take you for Haeri, is what I think.”

What is she trying to say?

“In other words,” she resumes, dragging out the final consonant as she fixes me with her eyes, “I’d love for you to be our new Haeri.”

I’m still trying to register what I’ve just heard when her smile vanishes. “Haeri took her own life yesterday.”

The words go off like a bomb in my ears. I look at her, shell-shocked.

Is this a joke? If it is, she has a sick sense of humor. No. Director Cha had to have misspoken. I need for her to correct herself, and immediately. But she doesn’t. She simply waits for me to register and process the horror.

Goh Haeri, the world’s sweetheart, wrapped in silk and protected from all of life’s sadness and hardship in sun-struck Snowglobe? Killed herself? Why? Wasn’t she going to be our new weatherperson in the new year? Her favorite holiday, Christmas, is only a few days away. It makes no sense! “But I just saw her this morning!” I say. “On TV?”

Director Cha stares at me wordlessly, compressing her quivering lips into a thin line. I can barely breathe. Haeri—my birthday twin who grew up with me on the other side of the screen—gone? The first of many tears breaks free and falls into my lap.




In a world of constant winter, only the citizens of Snowglobe escape the bitter cold—but Snowglobe hides dark and dangerous secrets at its heart.  A groundbreaking Korean novel translated into English for the first time that is perfect for fans of Snowpiercer and Squid Game!

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? The Goh Haeri Show. Haeri is 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.

Did you enjoy reading this exclusive excerpt of Snowglobe by Soyoung Park? Discover more exclusive content here and get social with us at @getunderlined!

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