Who’s There? (A Collection Of Stories): Dimas Rio
Reviewed By Elizabeth Wilson
As a horror fan, I love reading books steeped in an unfamiliar culture. You are not only entertained, but educated and enlightened as well. As a stranger to certain beliefs, rituals and landscapes, an even deeper sense of unease is felt… even if their place in context is mostly understood.
Dimas Rio has created a thought-provoking collection of horror short stories, set within the culture of Indonesia, and it is an excellent introduction (or further exploration, for those familiar) of the supernatural/preternatural within that setting. These are tales of revenge, unhappy and tragic truths, grief, mythology made all too real, and deep unending pain.
‘Who’s There?’ is the chilling story of Adam and his fiancé Gita, on holiday before their upcoming wedding. Feelings of unease build to eventual devastation. I found the fate of Adam and his soon-to-be wife terribly tragic, despite the uglier side of their unhappy personalities; their lives written so sympathetically by the author. The claustrophobic nature of their existence is deeply felt, despite the beautiful place they find themselves in.
‘At Dusk’ is a creeping experience of childhood terror that emerges when a mystery author is interviewed by a writer for a high school magazine. It is a very visual read, rich with astounding lore, and the building sense of imminent threat is masterfully done.
‘The Wandering’ has a somewhat shady security guard working late at night, having to deal with some strange happenings during his shift that he is unable to ignore, which reveal a terrible act has taken place. It is the longest story in the book, with a strong sense of foreboding and intrigue. It’s ever-evolving plot keeps you on your toes, and its characters are not always as they seem, making for an intense dynamic.
‘The Voice Canal’ sees a young man’s friends concerned for him, as he seems to be speaking to the dead. This is my favourite story; beautifully and respectfully told, bittersweet, and remained with me long after I had read it.
‘The Forest Protector’ follows a mother and her son travelling across town. Pain, fear, and confusion drive them onward towards an unknown future. This is a very dark tale of trauma that is deeply moving and disturbing. Shifting the perspective from son to mother, as the truth unfolds, keeps this piece feeling very intimate.
I highly recommend Who’s There? as a must-have anthology, especially if you love very intense Asian horror short stories. Its cover art is striking, its stories both imaginative and haunting, all five touching upon the vulnerability of humans to fear, disappointment, pain and loss. Thanks to Dimas Rio for having this book adapted so that English speaking readers can experience it!
Who’s There? A Collection Of Stories
A woman went missing a week before her wedding. A man recalling his nightmarish encounter with the devil. Letters sent from beyond the grave. A call from loved ones who since have passed. Limbs that have a mind of their own.
These ghostly tales of revenge, greed, and desperation writhe and squirm in the dark corners of modern day Indonesia. Rich in cultural undertones that are uniquely Asian, these stories are in equal part grotesque and poetic, irreverent and spiritual, unusual and universal.
Drawing on local folk tales of vengeful banshees, dusk-dwelling monsters, and other forms of the undead, this collection of five short stories will transport readers to the deep, dark abyss where demon forever resides: the human mind.
Elizabeth Wilson is an artist and writer from South East Melbourne, Australia. Her work is inspired by the horror in everyday life, the power and beauty of the natural world and childhood nostalgia. She makes mixed media art from dolls to wall hangings, some of which have their own little stories, and is an author of four zines (coming to Kindle in 2020), and a gothic art book called ‘Mulberry Manor’ which is about to go into print and be made available via Kindle.
Her art can be purchased at: elizabethscuriosities.square.site