Yeye’s Girl by Ohne Re

  When I was three and a half, my yeye drank pesticide and killed himself. To understand why, you first have to know this: from the day I was born, Yeye loved me dearly. He fell in love with me, he said, as soon as he saw my tiny face. And on that very day, he asked my parents to move in so that he could watch me while they worked. In China, it is common for one grandparent or …

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Flowers by Baylee Snedden

Over the summer, my brother and I had our own “glitch in the matrix” experience when we decided to test reality with the app “Randonautica”, a game based on quantum energy and our manifestations. We were very skeptical of the stories other people have had from the game and didn’t believe that an app could actually read our thoughts and take us to a location matching them. The first set of coordinates we received was based on my thought of …

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Interview on Zhiguai with Yi Izzy Yu and John Yu Branscum

*Thanks to Sarah Dodd of Samovar, Monica Kuebler of Rue Morgue Magazine for the interview opportunities from which some of the above materials are excerpted **** What drew you to working with zhiguai? We’re big horror and weird literature buffs, particularly of the East Asian variety, and particularly in a metaphysical key. Everything from Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Sion Sono movies to Junji Ito and Yuki Urushibara manga, as well as the surreal prose nightmares of Can Xue and the weird …

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A Literary Predecessor to Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite

Hordes of critics weighed in on the themes and aesthetic strengths of Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite when it won a 2020 Oscar for Best Picture, and one also for writing and directing. One interesting aspect of the film though was under-discussed. That was how it continues a long East Asian tradition of literary work that explores frauds, illusions, and things not being as they appear, or feign, to be. Don’t believe us? Check out this hilarious, surreal, and disturbing flash nonfiction …

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An Early Chinese Alien Abduction Tale by Ji Yun

*a nonfiction account as recorded by Ji Yun (1724-1805), Imperial Librarian and Investigator of the Strange, and translated by John Yu Branscum and Yi Izzy Yu; notes on Chinese alien abduction and fairy lore are at the bottom of the piece: One day I received a letter that was written in my language but seemed to be written in a foreign one. The thoughts it expressed were odd, confused, and almost impossible to decipher. The letter’s poor quality especially surprised …

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Franz Kafka’s Passion for Taoism

“The actual reality is always unrealistic,’ said Franz Kafka. ‘Look at the clarity, purity, and veracity of a Chinese coloured woodcut. To speak like that—that would be something.’”—Gustav Janouch, from his memoir Conversations with Kafka *** Franz Kafka (1883–1924) is revered for such short, expressionist pieces as “The Metamorphosis” and “The Penal Colony,” and longer works like The Trial. This is true not just in the West but across East Asia where writers from Haruki Murakami to Can Xue credit …

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The I Ching and Computer Binary Code

“I wonder whether, perhaps without realizing it, we seek out the books we need to read. Or whether books themselves, which are intelligent entities, detect their readers and catch their eye. In the end, every book is the I Ching. You pick it up, open it, and there it is, there you are.” ― Andrés Neuman “The situations depicted in the Book of Changes are the primary data of life — what happens to everybody, every day, and what is …

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The First Chinese SCI-FI Story by Lie-Zi, 4th Century BCE

The world’s oldest Chinese sci-fi story? It’s a robot story written by the Taoist philosopher Lie Zi written in the 4th century BCE!! It goes like this: “In the year 1023, the artificer Yan Shi presented a marvelous invention before the fifth king of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty, King Mu. It was a life-sized automaton. To the king’s astonished eyes, the figure walked with rapid strides, moving its head up and down, so that anyone would have taken it for …

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Keanu Reeves’ Ghostly Encounter

Excerpt: “I’m probably like six, seven years old, [and] we’d [just] come from Australia. [My] nanny, Renata, is in the bedroom, my sister is asleep [and] I’m hanging out. There was a doorway and all of a sudden this jacket comes waving through the doorway, this empty jacket — there’s no body, there’s no legs, it’s just there…” Reeves’ narration of the ghostly encounter begins at the 1:06 mark:

Mental Telegraphy by Mark Twain aka: Samuel Clemens (1891)

  Now I come to the oddest thing that ever happened to me. Two or three years ago I was lying in bed, idly musing, one morning – it was the 2d of March – when suddenly a red-hot new idea came whistling down into my camp, and exploded with such comprehensive effectiveness as to sweep the vicinity clean of rubbishy reflections and fill the air with their dust and flying fragments. This idea, stated in simple phrase, was that …

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