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Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Eliane Boey Sum




What inspired you to start writing?

I was always a reader and didn’t take the chance on my own writing until quite recently. Once I got started, I was hooked on creating worlds–and imaginary friends–and I couldn’t stop.

What draws you to the horror genre?

The way it forces you to face terror in the real and the absurdity and discomfort underneath the mundane.

Do you include Asian and/or Pacific Islander characters and themes in your writing with purpose, and if so, what do you want to portray?

I am Southeast Asian, and pretty much all my stories and novels are cast from the region. My story, Hunger is about a ghost’s first hungry ghost festival in Singapore. I had a lot of fun writing The Last Gold Single which is a gothic story set in the Malaysian Highlands and is about memory and music. And Carrier, my novella in my first book Other Minds, is a space horror that confronts the monstrosities we build.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?

To always read the terms and conditions! I think it’s also taught me that I’m a chicken haha.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? How do you think it will continue to evolve?

Speaking as a writer who’s a bit more in SF, I think we’re seeing more themes of tech and control (by governments and companies) in horror. But that could also be my reading bias.

How do you feel the Asian and/or Pacific Islander communities have been represented thus far in the genre and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?

I think the genre can only benefit from more stories from the community.

Who are some of your favorite Asian and/or Pacific Islander characters in horror?

My favorite character will always be Song Lian in Raise the Red Lantern, which I think is a gorgeous Chinese gothic film. In books, Wenqi in Ai Jiang’s Linghun is an unforgettable one!

Can you recommend some Asian and/or Pacific Islander horror authors for our readers to check out?

Definitely read Ai Jiang, Angelia Liu, Thomas Ha, Wen-Yi Lee, and Cassandra Khaw.

And to the Asian and/or Pacific Islander writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?

Keep writing your local stories and experiences, I can’t wait to read them.

Eliane Boey Sum (she/her) is a Chinese Singaporean writer, and a member of the SFWA, with stories in Clarkesworld, the Penn Review, Weird Horror, and others. Her latest book, Club Contango is a technothriller that pits space labor organizations against AI. Her previous work, Other Minds, is a duology of cyberpunk and space horror novellas.


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