Like Smoke, Like Light: Stories

· Mythic Delirium Books
3 reviews

About this ebook

Publishers Weekly Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror title of 2023

“Ogawa’s debut collection of 17 speculative shorts stuns with its delicacy … Harkening back to the oldest folk and fairy tales and raising pointed questions about how humans value and devalue each other, this is a showstopper.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Her work is unexpected, often horrific, and always enthralling. Weaving Japanese folklore in with the new, the weird, and science fiction horror elements, Ogawa’s body of work is prolific and evergreen.” —Thea James,

A monster wearing the stolen dress of a deceased mother agrees to help the woman’s orphaned son. A girl whose blood can cause hallucinogenic visions makes a daring escape from the merchants who traffic her. In a society where people are prized for their jewel-hued skins—indigo, silver, amber, emerald—one girl endures brutal bruises to shine brightest of all, while another, her eyes sealed inside a featureless helmet, risks death to retrieve colors from the outside world. In the future of that culture, one where androids serve with brimming resentment and artificially altering one’s skin color can be a crime, the most ordinary in appearance can prove the best detectives, and the most subtly effective rebels. On a far distant space station, another android encounters a goddess humans forgot.


“At pure surface level, these works appear rooted in the fantastical and magical, but as soon as you think you’ve found your footing and understand where you are, Ogawa warps your perception almost imperceptibly until the world is completely unfamiliar again.” —Haralambi Markov,


Like Smoke, Like Light, the debut collection of short fiction from Japanese author Yukimi Ogawa, gathers seventeen tales that Locus Magazine has described as constructed in a “wild—but still grounded, feeling more like SF than fantasy—fashion.” As novelist and poet Francesca Forrest writes in her introduction, “Ogawa is a remarkable light in the science fiction and fantasy firmament,” who “writes unsettling stories that are by turns horrifying and touching.” This book “give us space and time to think about how we really feel about tricky questions—like what makes a monster” and how loving families can be found when one accepts “the forms they choose to wear.”

Cover and interior illustrations by Paula Arwen Owen

More praise for Like Smoke, Like Light

“Inventive, fantastical, and original; Ogawa transforms mythology, ghost stories, and the tropes of science fiction into fresh, new visions.”

—A. C. Wise, Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy award-nominated author of The Ghost Sequences

“Yukimi Ogawa’s first collection reveals her as a superb talent. These unsettling, sometimes harrowing journeys lead always toward grace and strange beauty.”

—C. C. Finlay, winner of the World Fantasy Award and author of the Traitor to the Crown series

“These luminous stories—playful one minute, tragic the next—feel like the folklore of some alternate reality world. Often, they explore themes of how our identity is linked with our physicality … how others perceive us, and the ways in which that outside perception affects how we perceive ourselves. Yukimi Ogawa’s tales are as enchanting, heartbreaking, and gorgeous as the characters they revolve around.”

—Jeffrey Thomas, Bram Stoker Award finalist and author of Punktown and The Unnamed Country

Ratings and reviews

3 reviews

About the author

Yukimi Ogawa lives in a small town in Tokyo where she writes in English but never speaks the language. She still wonders why it works that way. Her fiction can be found in such places as Clarkesworld, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons. In 2021, she was finally translated into Japanese. Like Smoke, Like Light is her debut collecton of short fiction.

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