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Creatures of Near Kingdoms


A bestiary of 75 imaginary animals and plants, native to the SEA.

The Sacred Agarwood longs to be free. Burnt as incense, it smells of spiced honey; of the peel of tangerines; of the snows falling in distant cities. Japanese monks hear the cosmos speak in its smoke. According to the Sahih al-Bukhari, its aroma accompanied the first people to enter paradise.


In Creatures of Near Kingdoms, find 75 imaginary plants and animals, indigenous to Southeast Asia:

Trees with the souls of birds, longing for flight;
Pangolins, as enduring and invulnerable as stone;
Vampire snails, that steal blood from your shadow.


Creatures of Near Kingdoms is a bestiary / herbiary inspired by the landscapes and living cultures of Malaysia, both human or otherwise. A 156-page book of descriptions and stories by Zedeck Siew — modelled after naturalist guidebooks; kitabs of herblore; RPG monster manuals. Lino-cut illustrations and pattern designs by visual artist Sharon Chin on every spread.



” Siew takes local myths and superstitions and stretches them within the inner edges of possibilities … Creatures of Near Kingdoms is an imaginary world built with materials taken from this land. For readers who ordinarily journey to worlds built in distant shores, this proximity is a balm for the imagination. “
– Kathy Rowland, Arts Equator

” An inventive and delightful illustrated bestiary of imagined Malaysian flora and fauna, threaded through with sly humour. “
– Zen Cho, Goodreads

Other Zines

A river kingdom of haunted ruins, ruled by crocodiles.

Essays and fiction about hantu, the monsters of Malaysian lore.

A valley where cats are holy, and timber haunted.

Pirates, princesses, processions. An art zine, inspired by the SEA.

A forest of wandering nomads and god-guarded borders.

Sea battles, spirit masks, centaurs. An art zine, inspired by the SEA.

A highland kingdom ruled by parasitic royalty.

An island full of sorcerers and shipwrecked souls.


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