- Publisher: Empress Wu Books
- Publication Date: 2021
- ISBN: 9781953124012
WEIRD TRUE TALES, HORROR STORIES, AND OCCULT KNOWLEDGE
"A new and wholly fresh mother lode of 'true weird tales,' ... the only real comparisons to Shadow Book's treasure trove of bizarre stories, full of humour, horror, suspense, magic and mystery, are Japan's Kwaidan, the Thousand and One Nights, and most certainly Pu Sung-ling's Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio." ―Fortean Times
"While not a novel—and technically not even fiction—The Shadow Book of Ji Yun remains one of the most spectacular and riveting Chinese books in translation available to English language readers. The tales range from the beautiful and inspiring to the eerie and frightening; from the feasible to the impossible. And every single one of them is incredible." ―Books and Bao
"This is a collection of tales which, taken together, leads to the realization of just how weird, complex, and interconnected the world can be." ―Strange Horizons
"Written more than two centuries ago, Ji Yun's 'true weird stories' prove that humanity's greatest fears are timeless." ―Rue Morgue
Imagine if a national political figure like Benjamin Franklin was also a paranormal investigator, one who wrote up his investigations with a storytelling flair that reads like a combination of M.R. James, Lafcadio Hearn, and Zhuangzi—with a dash of the bureaucratic absurdism of Kafka sprinkled in, alongside a healthy dose of H.P. Lovecraft’s weird antiquarianism. In China, at roughly the same time that Franklin was filling the sky with electrified kites, there was such a figure. He was Special Advisor to the emperor of China, Imperial Librarian, and one of the most celebrated scholars and poets of his time. His name was Ji Yun (纪昀).
Beginning in 1789, Ji Yun published five volumes of weird tales and ghost stories that combined supernatural autobiographical accounts with early speculative fictions. Combining insights into Chinese magic and metaphysics with tales of cannibal villages, sentient fogs, alien encounters, and fox spirits; as well as accounts of soul swapping, haunted cities, and the “jiangshi” (the Chinese vampire), there is no literary work quite like that of Ji Yun.