Save the date! The book launch for Sam Yoo's debut novella SMALL GODS OF CALAMITY is March 4, 20-24 at 7:30pm CST. Registration is required.
Small Gods of Calamity
by Sam Kyung Yoo
A tightly woven blend of myth, magic, and the ties of a found family.
Ghosts that speak in smoke. Spirits with teeth like glass. A parasitic, soul-eating spirit worm has gone into a feeding frenzy, but all the Jong-ro Police Department’s violent crimes unit sees is a string of suicides. Except for Kim Han-gil, Seoul’s only spirit detective. He’s seen this before. He’ll do anything to stop another tragedy from happening, even if that means teaming up with Shin Yoonhae, the man Han-gil believes is responsible for the horrifying aftermath of his mother’s last exorcism. In their debut novella, Sam Kyung Yoo weaves a tale of mystical proportions that’s part crime-thriller, part urban fantasy.
About the Author
Sam Kyung Yoo is a queer/ace author and third-degree black belt taekwondo instructor from Massachusetts. They graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English, creative writing, and film studies, but have since abandoned academia to write stories about ghosts, East Asian folklore, and sad robots. Their work has been published by Fantasy, Neon Hemlock Press, Strange Horizons, among others. You can find them online at samkyungyoo.com.
Praise for Small Gods of Calamity
“Atmospheric, layered, and rich with emotion, Small Gods of Calamity is a satisfyingly fresh spin on supernatural noir.”
—Premee Mohamed, Nebula award winner and author of And What Can We Offer You Tonight
“A thrilling five-star read delving into the delicacy of Korean Shamanism and the horror of evil spirit possession.
A detective by day but a spiritualist by night, Han-gil is used to the ridicule of his fellows, but none of it matters when only he can see a pervasive evil worm possessing a young woman. And he knows it well because the same evil spirit is responsible for his mother’s death. But upon his investigation, he runs into the very person his mother died to save: Yoonhae. Both children at the time of Yoonhae’s possession, as adults, their past haunts them as they must join forces to track down this new threat.
This ethereal glide into Korean shamanism combined with a sensory exploration brings to life a paranormal horror that delivers hope. Kyung Yoo’s writing vividly portrays the spiritualist’s world tinged with terror. A dark and delicate descent into this insidious world’s evil spirits. Something in the soul aches at the pain Han-gil and Yoonhae share, yet between them is a bond stronger than the regrets of their past. A thoroughly recommended read for fans of the show Tress and paranormal horror in this character-driven, soul-snatching read.”
—E.J. Dawson, author of Behind the Veil
“An expertly-layered detective mystery filled with folkloric spirits, rich atmosphere, and a pulsing, emotional core, Small Gods of Calamity stays riveting from intriguing opening to beautiful conclusion. Yoo’s unforgettable debut is a wonderfully queer exploration of grief, trauma, and reckoning with the past that will leave your heart aching in the best way.”
—Kelsea Yu, Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author of Bound Feet and It’s Only a Game
“A refreshing urban occult detective story about imperfect heroes and confronting the roots of trauma. It is a tale of aching quiet beauty led by broken souls, yet it is also one of warmth and reconciliation.”
—Ai Jiang, Nebula finalist and author of Linghun and I Am AI
“A gripping, absolutely un-put-downable novella. Yoo hooks you from the first page to the last with a riveting supernatural murder mystery that plays out partly in our everyday world and partly in the perilous world of spirits and ghosts. In the midst of soul-destroying danger and darkness, the main characters are infused with a bright and gentle light, and I hope this isn’t the last time I get to meet Detective Kim Han-gil.”
—Maria Haskins, author of Wolves & Girls and Six Dreams About the Train
“Yoo’s unique take on spirits and possession, coupled with an array of complex characters, makes this one of the best urban fantasies I’ve ever read. It is a poignant tale about the price of being a hero and how salvation can be found through the people you least expect.”
—Marina Garrido, reviewer for The Sinister Scoop and Associate Editor for Hedone Books.
“Sam Yoo’s must-read book is a party for the senses, not to be missed! From page one, this book lifts the reader up and draws us along a spirit-infused journey that is taut and exciting, and gives us an urgent appetite not only to see what happens but to root for Han-gil to succeed in exorcising the evil before more innocent people die.”
“A beautifully intimate mystery, and Yoo’s magic is a persistent sensory delight, offering a banquet of sights, sounds, and scents that hum beneath every scene.”
—Moses Ose Utomi, author of The Lies of the Ajungo
About the Cover Artist
Bio: Riotbones is a queer illustrator and comic artist from the Philippines with a passion for exploring all things haunting, dark, and tender—whether it be through the stories of men, monsters, or anything in between. Specializing in narrative work and illustration, they’ve worked for various magazines, books, TTRPGs, and video games, but are drawn in particular to horror and fantasy.