Short Story Review: Where the Fireflies Go by NJ Magas


Sometime it’s hard to finish a book especially one that grabs you picking a new one to read has its worries. What if that new one sucks? What if it’s so bad… argh – it drives me crazy.

I have book piles aligning my stairs, they’re stacked by genres. Whenever it times to choose a new one, I sit on the landing and perform a debate arguing for each book – perhaps its something about the cover, or a few words I happen to read, and often it’s about the books placement grabbing the one at the bottom of the stack – giving it a win although it say at the bottom. For many reasons, I grabbed Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction book called Amok.

I had just finished reading a story about a mythological foxwife a few months back and the cover by Jun Hun Yap featured a woman with a long red tail that reminded me of a larger size foxwife. I opened the book and had stopped on Where the Fireflies Go and read a few lines – the word gargoyles jumped from the page. I love gargoyles.


I too, have a gargoyle keeping watch over my place, I gave him the adequate name of ‘Mr. Gargoyle’ – here’s a snapshot, I was quick and caught him posing with a side tilt of his head, I can never quite get him to turn and look at me directly – he pretends I’m not around, such smugness.

I find it interesting how a short story finds you at just the right moment, and Where the Fireflies Go was one of those time. It’s a tale about Japanese culture surviving in a time where the old traditional practice juxtaposes with the new – where ceramic creatures take a stand against the “bone demon” who has come to consume their master’s dead body. Although the creatures know the estate will be demolished and all remnants of themselves destroyed their last duty of protection is carried through.

It’s the one of the best little tales in the anthology and in all actuality the only one I read. I put the book back into the stacks – perhaps at another time, I’ll grab it to read another.