Makes an excellent holiday gift for the discerning reader. Buy a copy for yourself, your loved ones, your friends, random strangers on the street, etc. today!
I am happy to announce that the contents of LONTAR issue #4 have been finalised! This fourth issue of LONTAR presents speculative writing from and about Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. Inside these pages, you’ll find:
- the harsh realities of living as a refugee within a calorie-based economy by acclaimed award-winner Paolo Bacigalupi;
- the uneasy combination of domestic troubles and virtual reality from Palanca Prize winner Kate Osias;
- the unexpected and complete disappearance of Singapore itself from Singapore Literature Prize winner Ng Yi-Sheng;
- a surreal trip through alternate worlds from Philippines Free Press Literary Prize winner Eliza Victoria;
- an eerie meeting with chanteuse Faye Wong during a Malaysian holiday from Andrew Cheah;
- and speculative poetry from Michael Gray, Joses Ho, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Cyril Wong and Jerrold Yam.
LONTAR is the world’s only biannual literary journal focusing on Southeast Asian speculative fiction. In this issue, seven contributors have won major literary awards in Singapore, USA, UK, Japan and the Philippines. The issue is scheduled for April 2015. Also, if you couldn’t guess from the description above, the novelette from Paolo Bacigalupi is “Yellow Card Man,” which was originally published in the December 2006 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, and was a finalist for the Hugo Award; the story serves as a prequel to his celebrated debut novel The Windup Girl, and has now been updated in this version so that it is consistent with the characters and events in the novel. Poetry Editor Kristine Ong Muslim and I are now reading for issue #5, to be released in Autumn 2015, 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.
This is a very exciting day. The print edition of #2 has been a long time coming (the ebook has been out since April), and both the print and ebook edition of #3 mark the beginning of publication by Epigram Books. They were both printed at the same time to save costs, which means that they look and feel very much the same. And all three issues look fantastic together on the bookshelf.
Issue #2 is available now at BooksActually (as is #1), and issue #3 will be at all major bookstores in Singapore within the next couple of weeks. We’re planning on a joint launch for them sometime in December, so stay tuned to this space.
Wow! Dovetailing on the exciting news about issue #3 in the previous post, Weightless Books has just released their list of bestsellers for May 2014, and issue #2 and issue #1 have taken the respective #1 and #2 spots!
Thanks go first of all to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing, for signal-boosting the journal and driving traffic to Weightless; secondly to the readers who have thus far bought the ebook versions of both issues in such great numbers and shown the journal such wonderful support; and thirdly to Gavin, Michael, Andrea, and everyone at Weightless for providing such a great independent alternative for the distribution of ebooks.
If you enjoyed either issue, or both, please spread the word, and rate them on Goodreads (here and here). Small ventures like LONTAR depend very much on word-of-mouth. Let’s keep these sales coming, folks!
We prefer that you buy the issues through Weightless (especially since it’s the only place to find them DRM-free), but if your preferred method is to use the Nook or iTunes ebook stores, both issues are now available in both places (with Kindle, Kobo, etc. to come). Just click through the links on the Buy page to buy them through those venues.
Two big pieces of LONTAR news:
1) As of issue #3, LONTAR will now be published by Epigram Books!
We had a great time working with Math Paper Press for the first two issues, and it was a mutual agreement to part ways. However, I’m very much looking forward to bringing LONTAR into the fiction stable at Epigram Books (where, it should be noted, I am the literary fiction editor), which includes work of the literary fantastic such as Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe, The Space Between the Raindrops by Justin Ker, The Wayang at Eight Milestone by Gregory Nalpon and The Tower by Isa Kamari. Epigram Books is epitomized by high quality and beautiful design, which makes LONTAR a perfect fit.
2) The contents for issue #3 have now been finalized! This issue of LONTAR presents speculative writing from and about Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia and Taiwan.
Inside these pages, you’ll find:
- the evocation of an alternate ancient Cambodia from multiple award-winner Geoff Ryman;
- an investigative automotive revenge tale from Palanca Grand Prize winner Dean Francis Alfar;
- the mystery of magically appearing furniture from Taiwanese short fiction wunderkind Sabrina Huang (deftly translated by PEN/Heim grant recipient Jeremy Tiang);
- an uneasy exploration of marital discord on the road from Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Award winner Nikki Alfar;
- a quasi-Ballardian take on beach resort culture from Ben Slater;
- the uniquely Singaporean response to a viral outbreak from JY Yang;
- and speculative poetry from Anne Carly Abad, Arlene Ang, Tse Hao Guang, Cyril Wong, David Wong Hsien Ming and Daryl Yam.
The issue is scheduled for October/November 2014, and I can’t wait for you all to see it. Each one keeps getting better and better, and this feels like our strongest issue yet!
I’m now reading for issue #4, to be released in Spring 2015, so if you want your work to be considered, send it to me via the Submittable portal. If you’re still waiting for a reply from me, please be patient and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
The awesome folks at Weightless Books have now made Kindle-ready versions of LONTAR #1 and #2 available on their site! Supplemental to the last post, this is the MOBI format that I was talking about. So if you have a Kindle, congratulations! You can now buy both issues without having to do any conversions first. This is of course in addition to the ePub format that was already there, which works on any other e-reader and Adobe Digital Editions.
So to sum up: MOBI = Kindle; ePub = everything else. Both formats are DRM-free.
Q. Your story takes place near the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. What was it about this region that inspired you to write about it?
This is a case where the story was shaped a lot by my research and ended up far richer than I first imagined. I wanted to do a contemporary version of the Korean folk tale “The Tiger-Girl,” so I started reading up on Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers. It was rather depressing, because there are very few of them remaining in the wild, and particularly in the wilds of Korea. They can be found in the mountains of the north, but they’re absent from the southern peninsula—a shame because the tiger is such an important part of Korean culture.
The more I read about the DMZ, the more fascinated I became, and I decided that if a tiger could still exist in Korea, it would be there; because that territory is largely off-limits to humans, it essentially functions as a gigantic nature preserve. Many references in the story to the DMZ and the cameraman Lim Sun Nam are real, albeit a few years out of date. There’s a free film you can watch online called Tiger Spirit that documents Lim’s quest to find tigers in the DMZ.
Catch the entire interview here!
I’ve had a few queries from people wanting to buy LONTAR about the journal being available and/or readable for the Amazon Kindle. The format currently being sold at Weightless Books is ePub, which is the industry standard for ebooks, but which can’t be read on a Kindle.
ePub can be read by the iBooks app running on Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), Barnes and Noble NOOK and the NOOK app running on iOS devices, Kobo eReader, Blackberry Playbook, Google Books app running on Android and iOS devices, Sony Reader, BeBook, Bookeen Cybook Gen3, COOL-ER, Lexcycle Stanza, BookGlutton, AZARDI, FBReader, Aldiko, CoolReader, Mantano Reader, Moon+ Reader on Android, the Mozilla Firefox add-on EPUBReader, and Okular. Plus maybe some more that I don’t know about.
The Kindle is the only e-reader device that does not read ePub; Amazon uses their own proprietary format, called MOBI, that can only be read on Kindle devices; this is to lock you into their architecture, and make it prohibitive for you to switch e-readers (since you’d have to buy your ebooks all over again). You can use a program like Calibre to convert ePub to MOBI, but the results are never guaranteed, and the formatting can look wonky.
Both LONTAR issue #1 and issue #2 will soon be available on the Kindle, NOOK, Kobo, and iTunes ebook stores, but it will take some time; distribution is currently pending. Plus, I wanted to give Weightless a sales head-start, since they’ve been good to us, and are run by some pretty amazing people.
So if you’re dead set on buying the issues in the Kindle store directly for your Kindle, you’ll need to cultivate patience for a bit. In the meantime, you can buy the ePub versions DRM-free (which will not be the case at the other ebook stores) from Weightless Books and read them on any of the devices mentioned above, or on Adobe Digital Editions for PC or Mac (which can be downloaded for free).
LONTAR issue #2 (Spring 2014) is now out and available! The DRM-free ebook has been posted to Weightless Books, and can be yours for the mere paltry payment of $2.99 USD. Many, many thanks to Michael and Gavin and everyone at WB for making the issue prêt à acheter so quickly.
- Sophomore Segue | Jason Erik Lundberg (Editorial)
- The Tiger in the Forest Between Two Worlds | E.C. Myers (Fiction)
- What Is Being Erased | Tiffany Tsao (Fiction)
- Doppelgänger | Jerrold Yam (Poetry)
- A Script | Tse Hao Guang (Poetry)
- Waiting for the Doctor | Ang Si Min (Poetry)
- Naga, A Khmer Myth | Shelly Bryant (Poetry)
- Funkytown | Daryl Yam (Poetry)
- Entanglement | Victor Fernando R. Ocampo (Fiction)
- The Floating Market | Eliza Chan (Fiction)
- The Apartment | John Burdett (Fiction)
Once again, we have a strong issue, with some really wonderful writing from a variety of locales. All of the poetry this time round comes from Singapore, which was unintended, but really showcases the poetic prowess of our Little Red Dot.
Thanks to all of our talented and imaginative contributors for making it another great issue, as well as the hard work of poetry editor Kristine Ong Muslim, cutting-edge art direction from Sarah and Schooling (I mean, just how awesome is that cover?!), and publication faith of publisher Kenny Leck.
Update: We got Boing Boinged!
Wonderful news! LONTAR issue #1 is the #1 bestselling magazine at Weightless Books for February & March! (Thanks to Kam-Yung Soh for bringing this to my attention!) I’m frankly gobsmacked to see this, especially since it’s in the company of a whole lot of amazing speculative fiction magazines on the site. Thank you so much to everyone who has bought the issue so far; if you wouldn’t mind, take just a moment to rate it on Goodreads and maybe write a short review.
Also, thanks to Gavin Grant for promoting the journal on the site, and to Andrea Pawley for writing such a wonderful review back in February; I’m sure the combination of these has been extremely beneficial in bringing new readers to the journal.
And keep an eye out for issue #2, coming out later this month!