Many thanks to Tammy Sparks for picking my story “Waiting with Mortals” as one of her top five from The Apex Book of World SF 3, and for thinking that all of the stories “have not only an other-worldliness about them, but at the heart of each one, you’ll recognize the ups and downs of simply being human.”
Waiting with Mortals by Crystal Koo.
The neon in Hong Kong is like the past: an image of blurred points of light, and haste and shallow focus where the only certainty is a vivid experience eventually misremembered.
Koo’s writing is so beautiful, and this strange ghost story tells the tale of a group of ghosts who have not yet “crossed over,” but instead spend their days inhabiting the bodies of the living. Ben is a ghost who still pines for his friend J.G., a girl who is slowly losing herself by letting ghosts take over her body. A powerful and emotional story.
Also to David Marshall, who sees the book as something that can work against literary parochialism and the stories well-written and thoughtfully provocative: “What’s particularly fascinating is the degree to which the stories written in English show significant differences in vocabulary choices, syntax and attitude from North American norms. That’s as it should be.”
“Waiting with Mortals” by Crystal Koo takes us into the world of ghosts who have yet to cross over. Some ride the mortals as passengers, displacing the living whether by force or consent — there are different deals available. In each case, it’s for the ghost to work out what holds him or her on the mortal side of the equation.