The Magical Roots of Malaysian Horror Fiction In English

Eeleen Lee has a new article, The Magical Roots of Malaysian Horror Fiction In English, over at the Portal:

In contrast to its colonial manifestations,  contemporary Malaysian horror in English is a vibrant and dynamic field made up of prolific Malaysian writers. The best known national name is Tunku Halim, who specializes in extreme horror and dark fantasy. Halim debuted in 1997 with a short story collection, The Rape of Martha Teoh and Other Chilling Stories, and a novel, Dark Demon Rising, which was inspired by Endicott’s An Analysis of Malay Magic . In 1999 Halim published more macabre short fiction in BloodHaze: 15 Chilling Tales, that includes the Fellowship of Australian Writers prize-winning metafictional story “This Page is Left Intentionally Blank”. 44 Cemetery Road (MPH Publishing, 2007) compiles the best of Tunku Halim’s stories written from 2000-2006. International readers can find the darkly humorous “Biggest Baddest Bomoh”, a short story from The Rape of Martha Teoh republished in the anthology The Apex Book of World SF (edited by Lavie Tidhar, 2009).

Apart from Tunku Halim’s work, there are other notable Malaysian horror fiction collections written in English. Retired Singaporean minister Othman Wok penned two short story collections that feature supernatural horror stories, The Disused Well (Horizon Books, 2006) and Unseen Occupants and Other Chilling Tales (Horizon Books, 2007). Dark City (Midnight Press, 2006) by Xeus, features horror and suspense stories with a Malaysian urban setting. The most striking of these is the disguised social commentary of “Trashcan Child”, in which the biological mother of an abandoned infant offers its foster mother a supernatural chance for redemption. The popular success of Dark City generated a second volume Dark City 2 (2007).  Horror fiction also earned critical acclaim in The  2009 MPH Alliance Bank National Short Story Writing Competition. One of the shortlisted stories was “The Hunter and the Tigress” by Zed Adam Idris, about an indigenous tribesman who must destroy a shape-shifting spirit that has been imprisoned as a tiger motif painted onto an earthenware plate. – read the full article!


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