Today some foreign observers have begun to claim significant changes in the North Korean "socialist realism" literary tradition, such as a broadening of the permissible range of topics and even some concessions to alternative discourses. This article investigates whether the most favored branch of contemporary North Korean literature, namely, "rural fiction," has indeed become a conduit of political liberalization and, if so, to what extent. The author analyzes the core messages that North Korean creative writings about the countryside are disseminating today and considers these messages in relation to the Party's recent directives in regard to agricultural or rural development.