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In an anthology that spans from India in the west to Hawai‘i in the east, and as far south as Australia and New Zealand, 24 authors bring you an exciting range of tales set in the past, present, and future.

Discover characters like the Moon Rabbit from Chinese mythology, a kitsune from Japanese mythology, and the aswang from Filipino mythology.

Find out what arises when a struggling Malaysian student seeks help for her studies in Chinatown, and what happens when the garbage in the Pacific Ocean is seen as a valuable treasure.

Futures imagined stretch from amazing advances in technology to depressing dystopias.

Read these stories and so many more in Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction.

Featuring stories by:
Brett Adams, Jo Wu, Kris Williamson, Recle Etino Vibal, Tabitha Sin, Ailia Hopkins, KZ Morano, TR Napper, Terence Toh, Kawika Guillermo, Barry Rosenberg, Eeleen Lee, Jax Goss, Jo Thomas, Daniel A. Kelin II, Fadzlishah Johanabas, Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, Dominica Malcolm, Aashika Nair, Celeste A. Peters, Agnes Ong, Rebecca Freeman, NJ Magas, and Tom Barlow

252 pages, Paperback

First published April 29, 2014

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About the author

Dominica Malcolm

9 books38 followers
As a writer, editor, and publisher at Solarwyrm Press, Dominica Malcolm focuses primarily on diverse characters and settings, sharing the stories that are often ignored by mainstream media. Much of this interest grew out of her five and a half years living in Malaysia, where she became more innately aware of the issues that stem from lack of diversity.

Though born and raised in Australia, and having spent half her twenties in Malaysia, Dominica is now based in California, where the majority of her time is taken up by improv and acting pursuits. She hopes to take her interest in diversity to the world of filmmaking.

With such a wide range of creative pursuits, she has made short films in Australia; music videos in Malaysia and Hawaii; and performed stand-up comedy in Australia, Ireland, and Malaysia. You can find videos of all of these things (and more) on her YouTube channel.

She also has a blog where she writes about her travels, creative pursuits, and diversity in the media (or lack thereof).

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Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for K.C. Finn.
Author 41 books372 followers
February 15, 2014
No messing around here. You MUST read this book as soon as it comes out. Anyone who likes anything even slightly science fiction will ADORE these stories. I am privileged enough to have been granted an advanced review copy of this anthology which gives me ample time over the next few weeks to now rave about it to everyone I know.

Amok is collection of short stories in the genre of speculative fiction, so covering sci-fi elements, dystopia, fantasy and paranormal, but these stories are set within the culture of Asia-Pacific countries, Australia, Malaysia, China and Japan to name but a few (there are SO many more). Every story in this anthology was highly enjoyable and totally unique. Kudos to every single author: I am honoured to have read your work and entered into your culture for a moment in time. I wish I had the time to discuss them all here, but for the sake of this review I will limit my commentary to my personal top 5.

5: Where The Fireflies Go by N.J. Magas
I'll admit as I was getting near to the end of the book, I thought I'd already picked my favourites from it, but then this story happened. The perspective in this tale was unlike anything else in Amok, it leapt from the page as a visual and cultural feast of fantasy, both dark and light and truly fascinating.

4: When The Rice Was Gone by Dominica Malcolm
I am already a fan of Dominica's work, but this story really hooked me in. In such a short amount of pages there is a rich world created that is easily pictured and genuinely disturbing, plus a fascinating representation of an unconventional relationship which is totally believable considering the dire circumstances of the speculative world that's been developed.

3: Dreams by Tabitha Sin
This story had to go in my top 5 because the horrific imagery of it has stayed in my head for days and days after reading it. Any author who can consume my thoughts and have me thinking back to that tale over and over again deserves a serious mention. A tragic and beautiful story that gripped my heart and imagination.

2: Bright Student by Terence Toh
I have a personal connection to this story as will any young student who has felt the crippling pressure of the pursuit of academic success. Here the idea of success at the expensive of one's welfare is dealt with in an amazing paranormal fashion. So much vivid imagery and a strong cultural and social message that resonated within me. Unmissable.

1: In Memoriam by Fadzlishah Johanabas
I need more from the keyboard of Johanabas! The cultural setting of this tale is an area I know absolutely nothing about and have never encountered before. To be honest at first glance I didn't expect to like it. How wrong could I get??? In Memoriam was a stunning, heart-wrenching tale with a fascinating narrative structure that keeps you desperately flipping the pages. It's ending is so incredibly powerful and an important one for people to consider. This story is also highly impacting as it's so close to reality, things like this could well be sitting in our future and that's an insightful and compelling thing to read about.
Profile Image for Rumaizah Bakar.
Author 6 books19 followers
February 21, 2014
When I received the review copy of this book, I did not anticipate the exhilarating ride that I had signed up for. Diving into these WORLDS, from the warm fairy tales of childhood, to the alternate present which seems familiar, to the distant terrifying future, was simply, AWESOME!

I have to say that Amok is the most satisfying anthology I have read in years, and it will stay with me for a long time. I can see that much care has gone into these pages, from stories to techniques to prose.

This is a collection of shorts in the genre of speculative fiction - defined as science-fiction, fantasy, or horror, set in the real world, with elements that go beyond our current most-agreed-upon view of the world. Many pieces in this book are unique and bring their own surprises, which was why it took so long for me to write this review.

I could not decide on a personal top five favourites, or even a top ten. I shall, nevertheless, share the gems I found.

LOVE AND STATUES by JAX GOSS is an enchanting tale on a tourist’s last night in town when romance blossoms. Short and sweet, it pulled me in from the first sentence, as if the stage immediately lit up and the characters came alive.

Three stories address the unexplored power of memory where human beings defy nature and play a cruel trick to remember, to forget, or to remember differently:

DREAMS by TABITHA SIN features the possibility to recreate the memory with a loved one in better time. Can sorrow be buried underneath footage of the past? This highly emotional piece highlights a unique bond in danger of being shaken by reality.

IN MEMORIAM by FADZLISHAH JOHANABAS showcases life in a desired future where you may choose to forget someone, for whatever reason. There is a stark contrast between the cold white setting and the heart-wrenching action that was about to take place and the main character’s burst of emotions. The non-linear narration took some getting used to, but after some flipping back and forth, it became fun.

BRIGHT STUDENT by TERENCE TOH introduces a potion that allows the main character to magnify her memory capacity to process and remember unlimited facts in exchange of her shadow. Why do we need our shadows? And as someone who still has nightmares of sitting for examinations long after graduation, I can relate to the desperation in the main character and her sequence of actions, starting from her strange encounter at Petaling Street.

Three Asian fairy tales unveil multiple facets of love in various forms among captivating characters:

KITSUNE by KZ MORANO portrays the strong desire to hang on to true love against obstacles, even to the extent of compromising the chance of a normal life and relationship. This haunting piece was inspired by a Japanese folklore in the spirit of the fox.

LOLA by SHENOA CARROLL-BRADD conveys a heartbreaking account of a girl’s last day with her grandmother during the Japanese occupation period. An innocent encounter with a Filipino mythical creature leads to maturity and understanding, and it left me thinking long after I finished reading.

In MOON RABBIT by JO WU, a character from a Chinese mythology bravely leaps into modern time and attempts to fit in. It is simplicity and complexity rolled into one, and I feel the loneliness, and then the contempt, of the moon rabbit.

Four stories are set in post-apocalyptic worlds or an unfortunate future where characters try to hang on to the glimpse of hope in their struggle to survive:

WHEN THE RICE WAS GONE by DOMINICA MALCOLM is set in a bleak South Korea where the last meal of bibimbab brightens up the day. I was intrigued by how slowly the writer revealed the unusual relationships between the three main characters during the course of the story.

NO NAME ISLAND by KAWIKA GUILLERMO sees the habitat on a primitive island destroyed when man plays God and fear pushes a person to entrust a loved one to a stranger. It was uplifting to see how a native girl matures, accepts her destiny and clings to her heritage.

In AND THEN IT RAINED by REBECCA FREEMAN, a single woman and child strive to make a life for themselves in a barren world which is no longer comforting, and then, a dashing stranger walks in, bringing hope with him. The main character's courage is admirable.

OPERATION TOBA: 2049 by KRIS WILLIAMSON addresses the beauty of second chances and making tough decisions when the clock is racing. This is a fast and intense story of love and priorities.

And last but not least, the following story:

TARGET: HEART by RECLE ETINO VIBAL jumps into the dark world of an aspiring cupid. When love has been prearranged, does it become less meaningful? I like the handmade weapon used in the story.

After the experience, I just had to get hold of the paperback version. So, it’s definitely a must read, worth every minute invested.

I look forward to reading more works from these writers, especially on a bigger premise.
Profile Image for Jo.
Author 18 books15 followers
August 18, 2014
I am thrilled that an anthology that focuses on Asian and Pacific culture exists, showcasing a unique blend of nationalities that range from East Asia to the Southeast and to the Pacific Islands. As one of the contributors to this book with my short story “Moon Rabbit,” it is an absolute honor to be among so many talented wordsmiths who are obviously engaged in the cultures and subjects they choose to explore and build worlds around.

"Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction" is a must for all sci-fi, fantasy, and horror lovers. There are many characters that readers unaccustomed to Asian folklore may be unfamiliar with, such as the kitsune from Japan and the aswang from the Philippines, but this potential unfamiliarity do not detract from the plots. There is something in here for everyone, though much of the stories delve into dark, heart-wrenching, even violently graphic topics and descriptions. But never fear, the light of humanity and empathy is sprinkled throughout the stories, and there is always something to smile about as you realize how human, how real, and how subtly humorous, these subjects are.

As much as I would like to touch upon each of the twenty-four stories, allow me to share the few gems that I had the pleasure of reading.

“Operation Toba 2049” by Kris Williamson, Malaysia
I found myself wondering what in the world Ria’s mother was doing to keep her so busy and stay at work until I came to the end. It felt so real, the dire situation and the method of evacuation the government imposed on the people. I felt as though the apocalypse was truly happening, especially upon reading the final page.

“Target: Heart” by Recle Etino Vibal, Philippines
What a unique take on cupids. There were such detailed, meticulous descriptions of the usage of slingshot and its deceivingly simple mechanisms and structure. For instance, I would never have though of small, spherical stones to have less air resistance than jagged ones, but reading that particular passage made perfect sense. I also shuddered at Damian’s heartlessness, such as the sentence on page 43: “The bursting of feathers or sputtering of blood was also more fun than the shattering of glasses.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the twists. They say love can be deadly, but I never saw it in such a sinister light until now.

“Dreams” by Tabitha Sin, Hong Kong
Beautiful, heartbreaking, and haunting descriptions of the yearnings for a dead lover. I fell in love with the gorgeously gruesome, poetic imagery and sensibilities of lost love, and the use of a sleeping drugs in vain attempts to reunite.

“The Volunteer” by TR Napper, Vietnam and Thailand
The setting is a war that takes place about a hundred years after the Vietnam War. I enjoyed the integration of the theme of war crimes, a little weaving of the history of China-Vietnam relationships, and the Nuremberg defense. My favorite scenes involved the Thai waitress--I had a feeling she was up to something, and was glad to see that my predictions were accurate.

“Bright Student” by Terence Toh, Malaysia
As a university student, I empathized with all the agony that Yi Ling felt as she was going through her exams. Schools in Asia are notorious for their exams, methods of teaching, and rate of suicide, even for something as small as a report card of one D among ten A’s.
Toh’s writing is absolutely engaging and clever. I felt absorbed in the shop with the mysterious, sinister boy and forbidding objects, and Yi Ling’s feelings and experiences after the transaction. Holy cow, that exam scene was absolutely frightening and disturbing. This piece accurately demonstrates the desperation and lengths ambitious students will take for good grades.
The scientific definition of light woven into the story was also a clever touch.

“In Memoriam” by Fadzlishah Johanabas, Malaysia
The jarring descriptions made me feel as though I was plunged into the hospital and the myriad descriptions of the surgery right there with Alia, a grieving mother who lost her sullen teenage son to a horrible accident. I felt my heart shatter a bit upon reading the ending.

“When the Rice Was Gone” by Dominica Malcolm, South Korea
What a wonderful blend of post-apocalyptic and mythical fantasy elements. I could really feel the bleakness of the situation the characters were in, and I enjoyed the fact that bisexuality was woven into a couple of the characters’ personalities, proving Malcolm as a champion of not only racial diversity in writing, but also for sexual diversity. I absolutely loved the twist, and stories with mermaids, especially when done well, make me happy.

In short, I cannot wait to receive my contributor hard copy of this anthology and relish the tangibility of pages and ink that do all of this great writing justice.
Profile Image for E A M Harris   .
133 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2014
This is a rich collection of twenty-four stories; rich in diversity of setting, of speculative ideas, and of character.
There are a lot of stories here that I loved and only a couple that didn’t appeal to me. There were also a few I felt could have been shortened – but this might just be a reflection of my dislike of description.
The editor defines speculative fiction as “real world settings in the past, present, or future, with science-fiction or fantasy elements.” and the stories chosen reflect this closely.
The settings are spread widely in the Asia-Pacific area and move from the present to the not very distant future. However, the science-fiction and fantasy elements are all in residence on variants of modern or recent Earth; there are no alien planets or sword-and-sorcery fantasy cultures – though there is some sword-without-sorcery.
This doesn’t mean the ideas are limited. The story-worlds described may be recognisable as derived from ours or from our folklore, but each has one or several differences that fuel the events. Some of them are very way out, but some are horribly possible. How do people deal with making a cupid, quarrelling over a mountain of rubbish, half the world disappearing in a flood, or a special dimension for healers? Even the vampire and the mermaid have unexpected features.
Though the speculative ideas are central to the stories, these are basically tales about people. In them we meet, as central characters, parents and grandparents, a blind schoolboy, students, a shopkeeper, a soldier, a gangster, a couple of ghostbusters, a kung fu master, and several pairs of lovers. Even the moon rabbit and the garden ornament are ‘people’.
Some face a variety of enemies – among them an empire building European, a Filipino aswang, big corporations up to their usual (and unusual) evilness and a sea-witch.
Others have to deal with the aftermath of a major war, the pain of losing a child, their own inability to believe the unlikely, and love lost in some odd ways.
All lovers of speculative or quirky fiction should find something for them here.
Profile Image for ShingetsuMoon.
731 reviews20 followers
February 17, 2017
This was a wonderful collection of short stories ranging in genre from sci fi, dystopia, fantasy, to horror and paranormal. Each story is set in an Asia-Pacific country as the title of the book suggests and the country the story is set in is shown at the beginning of the story right under the title. Short comments and info about the author and where you can find them online follow each story.

There were a lot of standout pieces in this anthology and I am so happy I picked it up to read. It reminded me a bit of the anthology Steampunk World which is a good thing. There are so many different and diverse stories out there to tell. Some took advantage of the country origin setting more so than others. While some used the sci fi or dystopian elements of their stories better then others.

Each story offered something unique and there were very few times when I found myself bored or wanting to skip ahead to the next story.

Very well put together anthology and a great group of short stories from various authors. Must have for those who enjoy anthologies and short stories.
Profile Image for Margaret.
11 reviews3 followers
July 5, 2014
To be honest I really really wanted to like all the stories in this book but some felt a little rushed in their execution or their worldbuilding was not too convincing.

The fantasy / supernatural stories (such as Terence Toh's BRIGHT STUDENT, KZ Morano's KITSUNE and THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT by Barry Rosenberg) worked better than the science fiction ones, which were more or less futuristic projections. The exception is Eeleen Lee's YAMADA'S ARMADA, which convincingly depicts a futuristic Southeast Asian City which reminded me of the sterile dystopias depicted in "Her" or "Gattaca".

But overall, this is a good book by writers who show much potential.

Profile Image for Osie.
Author 22 books7 followers
April 22, 2014
I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of the upcoming anthology, Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction, and I must say that I am impressed. Amok presented with a great lineup of strange stories, all of which push the limits of the imagination (as all good speculative fiction should.) Also, many of the tales incorporated native folkloric and mythological elements into them—a detail I particularly enjoyed.

Amok consists of 24 short stories, all set in Asia and the Pacific Islands, and all are in the speculative fiction genre. The editor, Dominica Malcolm, says in the introduction that she sought to have a diverse cast of characters in the anthology, and she has delivered. Each of the stories is unique and distinct from one another.

I noticed that many of the stories feature an impending natural disaster. Perhaps this is because of the nature of island life or coastal areas where tsunamis are a real threat. I imagine that the 2004 tsunami that devastated Indonesia is not forgotten and continues to lurk in the back of the mind of authors in the region.

The last four stories of the anthology are, in my opinion, the best of the collection.

Agnes Ong’s “The Seventh Month” takes the reader into the gritty world of a Malaysian gangster. The story takes place during the “Ghost Festival” that falls during the seventh month of the lunar calendar, a time when spirits are believed to wander the streets at night.

In Rebecca Freeman’s “And Then It Rained” a young woman must survive as well as care for her little brother in a post-apocalyptic Australia reminiscent of Mad Max. It is most certainly not a knock off, though, as Freeman’s world feels much more realistic, and the characters have a much greater depth than those in the movies. I would love to see this one turned into a full length novel.

NJ Magas’ “Where the Fireflies Go” is a superb tale of ancient Japanese mythological beings battling to survive in the modern world. The ceramic creatures that appear only as outdated statues akin to garden gnomes are in actuality guardian spirits dedicated to protect the home of whoever owns them. After the old man who cared for them dies, his estate is scheduled to be bulldozed, but worse than that, a “bone demon” is making its way from the cemetery to eat the body of their dead master. This is easily one of the best stories in the anthology.

Tom Barlow’s “The King of Flotsamland” takes place on a garbage island in the Pacific Ocean. A lone man has been stationed on it to protect the trash from a corporation that plans to harvest the entire island for profit. A faceoff ensues and the protagonist slowly realizes that this trash heap is the only place he has ever really called home.

A few of the other stories are definitely deserving of individual mention as well. These are some of my other favorites:

Jax Goss’ “Love and Statues” is a great, albeit very short, story that captures some of the romanticism of poet Robert Burns, whose statue plays an important role in the tale. A young man sits in a garden at night to see for himself if the statues come to life at night, like the exchange student he had a crush on told him.

Terence Toh’s “Bright Student” is another of my favorites from the collection. A student makes a deal with a mystical shop-owner in order to get an elixir that will make her excel at school, and all he wants in return is her shadow.

In KZ Morano’s “Kitsune”, a small town boy makes the mistake of moving to the big city with his were-fox/vampiric girlfriend. Unfortunately, she doesn’t take to the change of scenery well.

Fadzlishah Johanabas’ “In Memoriam” is the saddest story in the book. In the near future a mother wants to forget the car accident that took her son away. But in order to do so she will have to forget more than just the accident, much more.

All in all, Amok was an interesting read that I would recommend.
April 16, 2014

I received a copy of this book in exchanged for a honest review. In no way did the author or publishing company influence my review.

This collection of short stories is absolutely wonderful. I liked some stories better than others, but for the most part I enjoyed them all to some level.The author of The Moon Rabbit, Jo Wu, is the one who contacted me and her’s turned out to be my favorite (I promise I didn’t plan that!) I loved it because it reminded me so much of Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, which many of you know I am totally obsessed with. All the stories were short (hence the name) interesting and easy to read. I loved how they mixed the fairy-tales and myths with modern and futuristic plots and themes. This made them more interesting to me, and helped make the stories more understandable. They also cover a lot of areas on the globe, including India, China and Australia. Also, many types of people, (different races, genders, etc.) are included in the stories, so that already makes it different than most books today.

My only problem was that some of the stories were a little too quick to the point. I would have liked more description and world building in a couple, but of course in short stories, you miss out on some of that.

I recommend Amok to anyone looking for a book to read little by little over time, or who’s interested in some lesser-known myths.

(I also love that cover!)
Profile Image for Sian Jones.
300 reviews5 followers
January 14, 2015
Some of the stories could use a skosh more craft-related polish, but that in no way stood in the way of my enjoyment (which I don't often say; usually I'm pretty hung-up on craft). The diversity of place and culture present in these stories is really remarkable. I want more stories like these in the world.
Profile Image for Megan.
182 reviews8 followers
April 10, 2019
As others have noted, it is very difficult to rate anthologies due to the range and quality of the stories included. However, I enjoyed the majority of these stories as quick reads. A couple missed their mark with me and have largely faded from memory already. On the other hand, two of three hit home and have etched their stories in my brain.

Particularly enjoyed:

Target: Heart by Recle Etino Vibal - a wonderful re-telling of the cupid myth in a capitalist society.
Kitsune by KZ Morano - a dark, compelling, character introduction.
Bright student by Terence Toh- I think this was one of my favourite stories in the collection. What lengths a student will go to in order to pass an exam in an ever pressurised world. Good use of ancient mythos transposed onto a modern world.
In memoriam by Fadzlishah Johanabas - a heartbreaking read, one of the longer pieces in the collection but divided into diary entry style sections so does feel too long.
The Healer by Aashika Nair - this mystical story started in the middle, explored just enough to whet the appetite and still managed to have a satisfying ending that left the eating eating too know more about the world.
Caves of noble truth and dangerous knowledge by Celeste A. Peters - a tail of Chinese knowledge being protected from British colonial greed inspired by a true cave of knowledge uncovered in China which proved a great many advancement previously thought to have been developed in the West were, in fact, Chinese in origin.
Where the fireflies go by NJ Magas - protective spirit guardians facing down enemies even as the modern world disrespects and disregards them

Annoyed by ending:
When the rice was gone - a fairly good story and one I mostly enjoyed (particularly the polyamorous MMF triad) until the end but the final sentence "Seoul was destroyed by a vengeful, genocidal mermaid" just jarred me right out of the story and made me giggle. Previous to that line the mermaid had been described and alluded to well, it was obvious what she was, there was no need to state the obvious.

Just annoying:
Operation Toba 2049 was one that missed the mark for me, particularly as I've recently had a child of my own, the mothers actions just do not make any sense. When I read the author's bio at the end and realised that Kris used Male pronouns it, sadly, made a lot more sense. The character of the mother is one dimensional, her dilemma (if she experiences one) is barely discussed and she makes her choice with seeming ease. It rings false on several levels.

The donor by Brett Adams
Moon rabbit by Jo Wu
Dreams by Tabitha Sin
Bumbye! Said the Candelarios by Ailia Hopkins
The volunteer by TR Napper
No name Islands by Kawika Guillermo
The dead of night by Barry Rosenberg
Yamanda's armada by Eeleen Lee
Love and statues by Jax Goss
Gone fishing by Jo Thomas
Shadows of an ancient battle by Daniel A. Kelin, II
Lola's lessons by Shenoa Carroll-Bradd
The Seventh month by Agnes Ong
And then it rained by Rebecca Freeman
The king of Flotsamland by Tom Barlow
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for hawk.
180 reviews11 followers
Shelved as 'currently-reading-slowly'
January 24, 2022
I'm still looking forward to reading the short stories contained in this anthology...
but was disappointed when I got hold of a physical copy of the book.

initially the contents list confused me - the stories are listed along with author and country... but a couple just stated pacific ocean /an area of it... and i started to understand that the location referred to the location of the story, not the location/background of the author. when I started reading the introduction, it confirmed that it's more accurately an anthology of stories SET IN, rather than FROM, the Asia-Pacific region. the title and description had suggested the former - hence the disappointment.

there are fasure a significant (possibly majority) number of authors from the region included in this anthology, and I'm looking forward to reading those :)
I'm feeling abit more ambivalent about the authors whose relationship to the area isn't clear and/or is absent.
perhaps it could have been useful to be clearer in the introduction the position the authors were writing from, or specifically request authors include some information about their connection to the area they're writing about in their bio/about info. I dunno if I'm maybe being abit picky, but i think this could have been especially important with an anthology that suggests it's representative of the region... and being a region that I think is underrepresented in widely available published fiction.
Profile Image for Sumayyah.
Author 11 books58 followers
May 22, 2017
Not exactly what I hoped for

When I first came across Amok, I was excited, as it bills itself an an anthology of speculative fiction from the Asia-Pacific region. To my surprise, not all of the stories were written by actual Asians. The location of these stories seems to be the key factor (and Asia-Pacific apparently includes Australia). The stories themselves were, for the most part, well-written and entertaining. I simply wish I had known in advance that there would be a mix of authors.
1 review
November 24, 2017
It was okay

It was okay. I was expecting legends but felt mores like short stories that were meant to be traditional books. Was wanting more mythology like.
Profile Image for Kim Killian.
13 reviews1 follower
December 27, 2014
Sometime it’s hard to finish a book especially one that grabs you picking a new one to read has its worries. What if that new one sucks? What if it’s so bad… argh – it drives me crazy.

I have book piles aligning my stairs, they’re stacked by genres. Whenever it times to choose a new one, I sit on the landing and perform a debate arguing for each book – perhaps its something about the cover, or a few words I happen to read, and often it’s about the books placement grabbing the one at the bottom of the stack – giving it a win although it say at the bottom. For many reasons, I grabbed Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction book called Amok.

I had just finished reading a story about a mythological foxwife a few months back and the cover by Jun Hun Yap featured a woman with a long red tail that reminded me of a larger size foxwife. I opened the book and had stopped on Where the Fireflies Go and read a few lines – the word gargoyles jumped from the page. I love gargoyles.

I too, have a gargoyle keeping watch over my place, I gave him the adequate name of ‘Mr. Gargoyle’ – here’s a snapshot, I was quick and caught him posing with a side tilt of his head, I can never quite get him to turn and look at me directly – he pretends I’m not around, such smugness.

I find it interesting how a short story finds you at just the right moment, and Where the Fireflies Go was one of those time. It’s a tale about Japanese culture surviving in a time where the old traditional practice juxtaposes with the new – where ceramic creatures take a stand against the “bone demon” who has come to consume their master’s dead body. Although the creatures know the estate will be demolished and all remnants of themselves destroyed their last duty of protection is carried through.

It’s the one of the best little tales in the anthology and in all actuality the only one I read. I put the book back into the stacks – perhaps at another time, I’ll grab it to read another.
Profile Image for Tanya K.
32 reviews5 followers
October 11, 2015
There were some pretty good stories in this book, and then there were some wonderful and breathtaking fully-realized stories in this book, and then there were some that were just alright -- I split the difference for my rating. But even those had the merit of strong concepts. You must give this collection a try if short SF/fantasy fiction interests you and you are tired of seeing the same influences trotted out again and again.
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