Date of Award

5-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

English

Program

Creative Writing

First Advisor/Chairperson

Jennifer A. Howard

Abstract

A Guideway through the Land of Ghosts and Other Stories is a collection about ghosts, gods, and other monsters that hide in plain sight. Inspired by Chinese mythology and folktale, this collection consists of three novella-length pieces of fiction and one flash-fiction interlude all set in the same universe. The form is largely inspired by a Chinese classic called Shan Hai Jing, or as scholar Richard E. Strassberg translates the title, Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. Shan Hai Jing is what Strassberg calls a “cosmography” and was intended to depict the world as ancient people saw it, rife with strange creatures and mythological figures that weren’t separated from human affairs by any clear boundary. Aligning with the cosmographical form and ethos, these stories take transformations, crossing boundaries, and category-defying creatures as their subjects. They each follow a character from this universe on their individual journey, traveling with these students of the strange from seaside Californian towns to the land of the dead. Within each novella, forms such as lists and folktales intervene, drawing attention to the collection as a compiled document, and the collection’s final section, the appendices, pulls back to describe the characters’ universe more broadly.

Access Type

Open Access

Justification for Restricting Access

This is a work of creative writing that I intend to submit, in part or in whole, for eventual publication. If not embargoed, literary magazines and book publishers will consider this work already published, thus preventing me from sending it out. I also still want to continue polishing this project in order to prepare it for publication. Embargoing my thesis for five years will give me time to sufficiently revise the work and find a publisher before this project is made available.

Available for download on Monday, March 30, 2026

Included in

Fiction Commons

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