Dehiscent, by Ashley Deng

18 Jul 2023

The Book

Pages: 92
Age Group: Adult
Published on 1 Aug 2023
Publisher: Tenebrous Press
Available on:


 As the world's climate swings rapidly between oppressively hot and freezing cold, the remnants of civilization huddle in small communities to scrape together what they can to survive.

All except the Zhu family.

Yi has lived in her ancestral house her entire life, sheltered and safe from the scarcity that plagues her community. Her family enjoys a secret life of running water, electricity, and an abundance of food.

But as Yi seeks a way to share their fortune, she learns the terrible secret of the Zhu house.

DEHISCENT is an Eco-Horror tale of a future that has practically arrived, and the humanity that lurks in the most inhuman of places.  

My Review

Dehiscent is a weird novella, written by Ashley Deng, and published by Tenebrous Press. At this point, I shouldn't be surprised that I'm having problems fitting a novella from Tenebrous into a genre; it has been a tendency during the year. I guess we could call it eco-horror or cozy horror, as it shares some elements that are part of those genres; a unique novella almost deserves its own genre.

In a not so far future, the world climate swings rapidly between oppressive hot and extreme cold, with the remains of humanity living in small communities that survive scrapping what they can to survive.
All of them, except the family Zhu, whose ancestral house just provides what the Zhu needs. In a world of scarcity and privations, Yi has lived all her life in an environment with an abundance of food, water, and electricity.

Yi goes to a small settlement to have classes with the rest of the children of the community, starting to understand that their situation is exceptional in comparison with the rest. Moved by her good heart, she decides to try sharing some of the resources the house gives the family.
But those good intentions will lead her to finally discover the secret behind the house, and how those resources are produced; the price is not low and must be kept in secret.

Deng has managed to create a great setting, which is horrifying by itself with how close humanity is coming to this kind of scenario with extreme weather; ecohorror is a literary tendency that should grow in the next years.
The family atmosphere is really nailed, taking into account the differences between the traditional Chinese family and the West ones. We are all the time conscious there's something wrong with the house, something subtle, but that we cannot really name it until Yi makes the discovery.

A thought-provoking novella, a great piece of horror; Deng has written something unique but excellent. If you are looking for that, Dehiscent will be the perfect book for you. Preorder it!

The Author/s

Ashley Deng

Ashley Deng

Ashley Deng is a Canadian-born Chinese-Jamaican author of dark fantasy and horror. She holds a BSc in biochemistry, specializing her studies toward making accessible the often-cryptic world of science and medicine. When not writing, she is a hobbyist medical/scientific illustrator and spends her spare time overthinking society and culture. Her work has appeared at Nightmare Magazine, Fireside Magazine, Augur Magazine, and others. Her climate horror novella, DEHISCENT, is available August 2023 from Tenebrous Press.