Recently i was kindly given a review copy of a forthcoming very interesting sounding anthlogy, A Thousand Beginings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Champan. I was delighted to find a short story by the very creative Alyssa Wong, a Multi Award winning fantasy writer. I loved two Short Stories of Wong upon which I have previously posted, “God Product” and especially “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”, a Nebula and a World Fantasy Winning Short Story.
Each of the stories in the anthology is a reimagining of a classic Asia myth, legend, or folk belief.
“Olivia’s Table” by Alyssa Wong is a retelling of the Chinese legend of an annual feast for Ghosts.
As the story opens Olivia is heading for what was once a prosperous town in the American West which went into decline once the silver mines were worked out. Now the town survives on tourists who come to see Wild West Shows. The big day of the year is the annual ghost feast. As Olivia comes into the town she sees the ghosts, most have marks of the violent deaths of the old west. Her mother for many years cooked all the food for the ghost feast and was an exorcist. We learn why ghosts do not move on. Wong gives a wonderful description of the ghost feast. From her descriptions of the ghosts we can see the dark dangerous history of the old west. We get to know Olivia and her family history, her troubled same sex relationships.
This is a very good story. It can, as far as I know, be read only in the anthology but on her webpage you will find links to several of her stories and her essays. I look forward to reading more of her work and watching her career develop.
Alyssa Wong lives in Chapel Hill, NC, and really, really likes crows. Her stories have won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story, the World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, and the Locus Award for Best Novelette. She was a finalist for the 2016 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her fiction has been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award. Her work has been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Nightmare Magazine, Black Static, and Tor.com, among others. Alyssa can be found on Twitter as @crashwong.. from her webpage.
I hope to read more stories in the anthology.