Author Archives: Jason Erik Lundberg

About Jason Erik Lundberg

Author, editor, anthologist, sushi lover: Strange Mammals, Red Dot Irreal, BNSSS, Fish Eats Lion, Bo Bo and Cha Cha, etc. Founding Editor of LONTAR.

Notes on “The Spurned Bride’s Tears”


Issue #5Gord Sellar’s striking novelette, “The Spurned Bride’s Tears, Centuries Old, in the Rain”, was just published as the anchor story in LONTAR issue #5, and he’s assembled some notes on what inspired him to write it:

During the winter of 2010, I spent approximately two months in Indonesia (with much of that time spent in Depok, an exurb of Jakarta), where my then-girlfriend—now my wife—was studying Bahasa Indonesia, the official national language of the country. Indonesia’s not an easy place to be, at times: Jakarta’s traffic is pure insanity, and I got the worst food poisoning of my life there. But the place had a powerful effect on me: rereading the story at some remove, I find Depok rushing back into my mind with vivid, overwhelming immediacy.

One interesting thing about Jakarta is that, despite the nation’s official semi-secularity, and the overwhelming popularity of Islam there, the’re a certain amount of Hindu cultural material that still is very visible in Jakarta (let alone over in Bali, where Hinduism is still commonly practiced). Hinduism in Indonesia (as in much of Southeast Asia) predates the arrival of the now-dominant religions of Islam (in Indonesia) and Buddhism (in much of the rest of Southeast Asia) by a significant margin. Angkor Wat depicts scenes from Hindu, not Buddhist, religious narrative. The Ramakian of Thailand is a localized remix of the Ramayana. It got me thinking about Hindu cosmology underlying modern Indonesian religious practices and identities: what if the Indian model of the afterlife—reincarnation for as long as people need to work out their karmic and dharmic balance—were correct, despite the majority of Indonesians adhering to a different model of the afterlife today?

Read the rest of Sellar’s entry at his website. And read “The Spurned Bride’s Tears, Centuries Old, in the Rain” in LONTAR issue #5.


LONTAR #6 Lineup


LONTAR issue #5 is now out in the world, and should be appearing in bookstores soon. You can already order it directly from Epigram Books, and the ebook will be up at Weightless Books in the very near future.

I am also happy to announce that the contents of LONTAR issue #6 have been finalised! This jam-packed sixth issue presents speculative writing from and about Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos. Inside these pages, you’ll find:

We are now reading for issue #7, to be released in Autumn 2016, so if you want your work to be considered, send it to us via the Submittable portal. If you’re still waiting for a reply on your submission, please be patient and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Cover and Contents for LONTAR #5!



Presenting the cover and contents for LONTAR issue #5!

This issue of LONTAR presents speculative writing from and about Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Inside these pages, you’ll find:

  • an ancient and fatal karmic reunion in Jakarta by award-winner Gord Sellar;
  • the true origin of the Merlion by Singapore Literature Prize winner Amanda Lee Koe;
  • a young man’s literal transformation into an island by award-winner Ng Yi-Sheng;
  • a far-future Malaysian fairy tale by Kawika Guillermo;
  • a gentle aquatic apocalypse from novelist Erica Verrillo;
  • an enlightening visit with a forest monk in northern Thailand by Italian journalist Massimo Morello;
  • a comic on the price of technological hubris by Benjamin Chee;
  • and speculative poetry by Tania De Rozario, Joel Donato Jacob, Lee Jing-Jing, Daryl WJ Lim, Christina Sng and Sokunthary Svay.

We’re sending the issue to the printer in a couple of weeks, so it should be available in mid-October in bookstores all over Singapore, on the Epigram Books website, and as an ebook through Weightless Books. We’ll be launching L5 along with L4 at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival in November, and many contributors from both issues will be on hand to discuss their writing and sign copies.

LONTAR Contributors in PSF-X


PSF-XCongratulations to all of the announced authors for Philippine Speculative Fiction X (Vol. 10), including LONTAR contributors Victor Fernando R. Ocampo (L2, L6), Eliza Victoria (L4) and Kate Osias (L1, L4); the anthology is edited by Dean Francis Alfar (L3) and Nikki Alfar (L3), and looks to be an especially strong volume in an already impressive annual series.

The full table of contents is as follows:

A Long Walk Home – Alexander M. Osias
A Report – Sarge Lacuesta
A Small Hope – Gabriela Lee
For Sale: Big Ass Sword – Kenneth G. Yu
Children of the Stars – Francis Gabriel Concepcion
Fisher of Men – Razel Tomacder
Hunger – Lakan Umali
IT Girl – AJ Elicaño
Lamat – Noel Tio
Marvin and the Jinni – Raymund Reyes
Mechanical Failures – Jose Elvin Bueno
Mene, Thecel, Phares – Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
Night Predators – Joseph Montecillo
Oblation – Richard Calayeg Cornelio
Santos de Sampaguitas – Alyssa Wong
Soulless – EK Gonzales
The Dollmaker – Joel Pablo Salud
The Last God of Cavite – Andrew Drilon
The Owl and the Hoopoe – Renz Torres
The Run to Grand Maharlika Station – Vincent Michael Simbulan
The Target – Eliza Victoria
Thunderstorm – Cyan Abad-Jugo
When the Gods Left – Kate Osias

LONTAR #4 Reviewed at Tangent


lontar4-smTangent Online has reviewed LONTAR issue #4! It’s mostly positive, but really spoilery, so if that sort of thing bothers you, best buy the issue first.

The review focuses solely on the issue’s fiction: “Fade” by Eliza Victoria, “A Century of Loneliness” by Andrew Cheah, “The Tango” by Kate Osias and “No Other City” by Ng Yi-Sheng. (Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Yellow Card Man” was previously reviewed at the site, presumably during its first publication.)

The money shot: “A relatively new publication, LONTAR nonetheless publishes high-quality works by award-winning authors. Diverse and under-represented characters and settings are a mainstay of LONTAR‘s fiction, opening the genre to fresh themes and voices, and introducing readers to the rich culture and atmosphere of Southeast Asia.”

Read the review here.

LONTAR story in World SF anthology


Apex Publications has just announced the list of authors for The Apex Book of World SF 4 coming out next month (edited by Mahvesh Murad), and I’m very happy to note that “Setting Up Home” by Sabrina Huang (translated by Jeremy Tiang), which originally appeared in LONTAR #3, will be reprinted in the volume! Congratulations to Sabrina and Jeremy!

Further congrats to contributors Zen Cho (L1) and JY Yang (L3) for their inclusion as well! We’ve got some very talented voices in speculative fiction on this side of the world, and it’s gratifying to see them continue to be recognised.

Recent Publications from LONTAR Authors


Issue #4To celebrate the release of LONTAR #4*, we thought it would be a good idea to pimp the latest non-LONTAR publications by our amazing contributors.

1. Paolo Bacigalupi (L1, L4) has just released his seventh book, The Water Knife, published by Knopf, which is also his second novel for adults after The Windup Girl. It’s already received rave reviews from the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Public Radio and others.

2. Zen Cho (L1) has a highly-anticipated historical fantasy novel coming out with Ace/Roc (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK and Commonwealth) in September, called Sorcerer to the Crown. The book has already been praised by Naomi Novik, Charles Stross, Ann Leckie, Justine Larbalestier and Aliette de Bodard.

3. Kate Osias (L1, L4) has a new children’s book called The Triangle Man and the Flightless Diwata from CANVAS, and a story in the forthcoming anthology The SEA Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia called “The Unmaking of the Cuadro Amoroso“.

4. JY Yang (L3) has three short stories available: “A Sister’s Weight in Stone” in Apex Magazine, “Red is the Color of Mother Dirt” in Athena’s Daughters, Vol. 2, and “RE (For CEO’s Approval) Text for 10th anniversary exhibition for Operation Springclean” in Bahamut Journal no. 1. She also has two flash fiction pieces out: “Cold Hands and the Smell of Salt” in Daily Science Fiction, and “Letter From an Artist to a Thousand Future Versions of Her Wife” in the Queers Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of Lightspeed Magazine.

5. Shelly Bryant (L2) has a new poetry collection called Pine the Passing, published by Alban Lake.

6. Joses Ho (L4) has a flash fiction piece called “Glow” at LabLit.

7. Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (L4) has authored a new poetry collection, The Wrong/Wrung Side of Love, jointly published by Glass Lyre Press and Squircle Line Press. His poetry and fiction have recently appeared in The Bend, Drunken Boat, Esquire (Singapore), The Missing Slate, Singapore Poetry, as well as the 30/30 Project from Tupelo Press. He has an essay and interview forthcoming in Jacket2, and his responses to the Proust Questionnaire will appear in the next issue of QLRS. As Poetry Editor at, Desmond also runs the Lounge Chair Interview Series. Forthcoming from Ethos Books is his hybrid work, Babel Via Negativa, to be launched at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival; also be launched at the festival is Eye/Feel/Write, a limited edition anthology edited by Desmond of ekphrastic texts written by 20 distinguished writers, in response to artworks exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum and National Gallery Singapore.

8. Daryl Yam (L2, L3) has “Thing Language” in QLRS 14:2, and “The Poems of Horvalla” in the forthcoming anthology In Transit edited by Yu-Mei Balasingamchow and Zhang Ruihe. He was also the guest prose editor for Cha: An Asian Literary Journal issue 28. His poetry is also out: “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” at The Substation Love Letters Project (2014/2015), and “Evening Poems” forthcoming in Of Zoos issue 4.1.

9. Jerrold Yam (L2, L4) has a new poetry collection called Intruder, published by Ethos Books.

10. Paolo Chikiamco (L1) has a story in The SEA Is Ours called “Between Severed Souls”. He’s also regularly updating the site of comic studio Studio Salimbal.

11. Jeremy Tiang (L3 translator) has two stories out: “Meatpacking” in Drunken Boat no. 21 Union Folio, and “Beijing Hospital” in Asia Literary Review. His translation of Yu Qiuyu’s The Book of Mountains and Rivers will be released later this year by CN Times Books.

12. Ng Yi-Sheng (L4) also has a story in the anthology In Transit, called “Between Flights”.


* As a reminder, the print version of LONTAR #4 ($14.90 SGD) is available directly from Epigram Books, and at Books Kinokuniya and Select Books; the electronic version (ePub or Mobi: $2.99 USD) is up at Weightless Books, where you can also get a one-year subscription!

Lots of LONTAR News!


Issue #4As the title says, there have been lots of recent developments with LONTAR, so let’s dive right in!

1. The first one is that issue #4 (Spring 2015) is now out and available! You can order the print version ($14.90 SGD) directly from Epigram Books, or buy it at Books Kinokuniya; or if you want to purchase it at your favourite bookstore, ask them to order it for you!

If you prefer the electronic version (ePub or Mobi: $2.99 USD), you can pick up the ebook from Weightless Books.

And don’t forget that you can read a sample for free!

2. Weightless Books is also now offering a one-year subscription to the ebook issues of LONTAR! It’s one US dollar off the cover price, and you’ll get an automatic email notification once a new issue is available. (Back issues are, of course, still available for purchase as well.)

3. Issue #4 was also recently featured at The Straits Times and Singapore Poetry (where Ng Yi-Sheng’s story “No Other City” was also excerpted).

4. We’re very happy to welcome Adan Jimenez to the LONTAR staff as Comics Editor, starting with issue #5 (Autumn 2015)! We’ve been wanting to include short sequential art stories from the beginning, and Adan is incredibly knowledgeable about comics in general, and comics being produced in Southeast Asia specifically. We’re really looking forward to seeing the graphic narratives he’ll bring to our pages.

5. LONTAR is now a proud member of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP). We’re extremely jazzed to be part of an organisation that also boasts membership by A Public Space, Black Clock, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review, and a number of other innovative and respected journals.

6. In case you hadn’t noticed, the LONTAR website has been revamped! It was overdue for an overhaul, and we hope you’ll find that it’s much easier to navigate. So take a look around! If you have feedback, please send it to the query email address on the About page.

7. The editors are all hard at work this weekend finalising the contents for issue #5 (forthcoming in October), so expect an announcement very soon!

Cover for LONTAR #4!



Presenting the cover for LONTAR issue #4!

We’re sad to be no longer be working with Sarah and Schooling on the art direction, but our in-house designer Yong Wen Yeu has done an excellent job continuing the retro-futuristic feel of our cover art that has thus far made LONTAR such a distinctive-looking literary journal.

We’re sending the issue to the printer this week, so it should be available in late May in bookstores all over Singapore, on the Epigram Books website, and as an ebook through Weightless Books. Yet another issue that I’m incredibly proud of, and I can’t wait for y’all to see it too!

LONTAR and the Locus Awards


I am very excited to note that this is the first year that LONTAR has been listed on the Locus Awards ballot, under the Best Magazine or Fanzine category. It’s a terrific honor to be included. For those who may be unaware, Locus is the trade journal for the science fiction and fantasy community, and they have covered news of the publishing field, with extensive reviews and listings of new speculative fiction books and magazines, since 1968. The annual Locus Awards are a prestigious recognition of the best science fiction and fantasy produced each year, voted on by the magazine’s readers. (“Reader” here is specifically open, meaning that anyone can vote, not just subscribers.)

Not only is LONTAR eligible for Best Magazine, but the stories we originally published in 2014 are also eligible as write-ins for Best Short Story:

From Issue #2

  • “The Tiger in the Forest Between Two Worlds” by E.C. Myers
  • “What Is Being Erased” Tiffany Tsao
  • “Entanglement” by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
  • “The Floating Market” by Eliza Chan

From Issue #3

  • “Setting Up Home” by Sabrina Huang (trans. Jeremy Tiang)
  • “Resort Time” by Ben Slater
  • “Mother’s Day” by JY Yang
  • “An Unexpected Stop” by Nikki Alfar

“The Apartment” by John Burdett from issue #2 is also eligible in the Best Novelette category.

Likewise, I am eligible for Best Editor, and Math Paper Press and Epigram Books are both eligible for Best Book Publisher, but the priority here is to shine the light on our contributors and their fantastic works of fiction.

Both issue #2 and issue #3 are now available in ebook format from Weightless Books (and #1 and #2 are bundled for free when you buy #3, this week only). Please consider picking up the issues and then giving the stories some love. (Poetry, reprinted fiction, and nonfiction is not eligible, but you should read them too!)

The deadline for voting is 15 April, less than a month from now, so if you’ve enjoyed what we’ve been doing here at LONTAR, please take some time and vote accordingly. Thank you!