"Flux happily offers a moving appraisal of lives buffeted by personal and systemic traumas; a deep dive into the good, the bad and the ugly of self-serving corporate culture; and no shortage of “wait, what the heck just happened?” thrills." -- The New York Times Book Review
"Brazen, exhilarating, fun, and surprising! I couldn't predict where this novel was going, but I was definitely along for the ride." -- Ling Ma, author of Severance
A blazingly original and stylish debut novel about a young man whose reality unravels when he suspects his mysterious employers have inadvertently discovered time travel—and are using it to cover up a string of violent crimes . . .
Four days before Christmas, 8-year-old Bo loses his mother in a tragic accident, 28-year-old Brandon loses his job after a hostile takeover of his big-media employer, and 48-year-old Blue, a key witness in a criminal trial against an infamous now-defunct tech startup, struggles to reconnect with his family.
So begins Jinwoo Chong’s dazzling, time-bending debut that blends elements of neo-noir and speculative fiction as the lives of Bo, Brandon, and Blue begin to intersect, uncovering a vast network of secrets and an experimental technology that threatens to upend life itself. Intertwined with them is the saga of an iconic ’80s detective show, Raider, whose star actor has imploded spectacularly after revelations of long-term, concealed abuse.
Flux is a haunting and sometimes shocking exploration of the cyclical nature of grief, of moving past trauma, and of the pervasive nature of whiteness within the development of Asian identity in America.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A young man’s dream job turns into a nightmare in this stylish and unsettling science fiction mystery from debut author Jinwoo Chong. Brandon is having a bad day when he loses his marketing job at a major magazine, but things definitely get worse when he steps into an empty elevator shaft. Luckily for him, he somehow walks away with only minor injuries—and receives a job offer to work for Flux, a mysterious company developing cutting-edge clean-energy technology. There’s just one catch: Once a month, Brandon has to let his new employers scan his brain. As Brandon’s concept of reality begins to crumble, we’re treated to flashes of odd, nonlinear storytelling and entertaining pop-culture references. Chong has created something truly special here: a quirky, fascinating story that’s both of the moment and utterly unique. Flux is mind-bending sci-fi at its best.
Three timelines converge in Chong's mind-bending debut, a subtle and moving exploration of grief and pop culture. After eight-year-old Bo's mother dies in a traffic accident, his mind keeps flashing to scenes from his favorite TV show for comfort. Brandon, 28, loses his job, falls down an elevator shaft, and emerges with a mysterious new employment opportunity. And Blue, 48, temporarily recovers the ability to speak after almost two decades of being mute to give a tour of the abandoned corporate building where he blew the whistle on the deaths of three employees. Woven throughout are detailed essays on fictional '80s show Raider from the analytical but relentlessly forgiving point of view that only a superfan could have. How do these disparate pieces fall into place? Time travel, partly. The author slowly and cleverly illuminates the connections between the show and the characters, highlighting the regret and loss all three have experienced. Chong writes with such subtlety and skill that readers won't realize the true nature of the speculative mystery at play until they're already waist-deep in these interlocking narratives. The result is a gorgeous speculative gem for fans of Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone's This Is How You Lose the Time War. Agent: Danielle Bukowski, Sterling Lord Literistic