Category Archives: Journal

LONTAR #1 and 2 now available for Kindle, plus interview with E.C. Myers!


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.

In addition, Weightless has just posted an exclusive interview with issue #2 contributor (and Andre Norton Award-winner) E.C. Myers!

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 Many references in the story to the DMZ and the cameraman Lim Sun Nam are real, albeit a few years out of date.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!


A Note on ePub Format


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).

One final note: if you have bought either issue (or both), please do take a moment to rate them on Goodreads, and possibly write a short review (issue #1 | issue #2).

LONTAR #2 Ebook Now Available!


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.


  1. Sophomore Segue | Jason Erik Lundberg (Editorial)
  2. The Tiger in the Forest Between Two Worlds | E.C. Myers (Fiction)
  3. What Is Being Erased | Tiffany Tsao (Fiction)
  4. Doppelgänger | Jerrold Yam (Poetry)
  5. A Script | Tse Hao Guang (Poetry)
  6. Waiting for the Doctor | Ang Si Min (Poetry)
  7. Naga, A Khmer Myth | Shelly Bryant (Poetry)
  8. Funkytown | Daryl Yam (Poetry)
  9. Entanglement | Victor Fernando R. Ocampo (Fiction)
  10. The Floating Market | Eliza Chan (Fiction)
  11. 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.

So go ahead and nab your own ebook copy of issue #2 (and pick up a copy of issue #1, in case you missed it earlier).

Update: We got Boing Boinged!

LONTAR #1 is #1 at Weightless Books for Feb/Mar!


weightlessWonderful 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.

So if you haven’t gotten it yet, head on over to Weightless Books for the ebook version, and/or the BooksActually Web Store for the print version.

And keep an eye out for issue #2, coming out later this month!

Issue #2 Contents


The manuscript for LONTAR issue #2 has been sent to the folks at Math Paper Press, and if all goes according to plan, we should be on schedule for a Spring (March/April) release. It’s another strong issue, and I’m very happy with how it came out.

Here’s the table of contents:

I’m now reading for issue #3, 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 for just another couple of weeks and I’ll get back to you.

Issue #1 Launch Photos


This past Thursday evening, LONTAR issue #1 was launched at BooksActually! Thanks go to everyone who attended and bought copies of the journal. And especial thanks go to all of our readers, who did a wonderful job bringing the pieces to life: Ang Si Min, Patricia Mulles, Alvin Pang, Wei Fen Lee, JY Yang, and Adan Jimenez. Below are some photos of the event (sorry I wasn’t able to get everyone!).

Wei Fen Lee reading Elka Ray Nguyen's story "The Yellow River".

Wei Fen Lee reading Elka Ray Nguyen’s story “The Yellow River”.

Alvin Pang performing Chris Mooney-Singh's poem "Jayawarman 9th Remembers the Dragon Archipelago".

Alvin Pang performing Chris Mooney-Singh’s poem “Jayawarman 9th Remembers the Dragon Archipelago”.

Patricia Mulles reading Kate Osias's story "Departures".

Patricia Mulles reading Kate Osias’s story “Departures”.

JY Yang reading Zen Cho's story "Love in the Time of Utopia".

JY Yang reading Zen Cho’s story “Love in the Time of Utopia”.

Photo by JY Yang. I honestly have no idea what face I'm making here, but June insists that it is "one of LITERARY DETERMINATION". And I'll take that.

Photo by JY Yang. I honestly have no idea what face I’m making here, but June insists that it is “one of LITERARY DETERMINATION”. And I’ll take that.

Issue #1 Mentioned at io9!


Wow! A week after LONTAR grabbed the attention of Boing Boing, it’s now also been mentioned at io9!

In case you’re unaware, io9 is one of the top daily group-blogs covering science, science fiction, and the future. They do some seriously awesome work there, and have garnered a large readership as a result. Big thanks to Charlie Jane Anders for throwing a little love our way.

Order the print version of issue #1 online through the BooksActually Web Store or HipVan.

LONTAR #1 Launch at BooksActually!



This coming Friday evening, LONTAR issue #1 will be launched at BooksActually in Singapore! You can RSVP at the official Facebook event page.

For those of you who may not know, Math Paper Press, which publishes and distributes LONTAR, is the publishing imprint of BooksActually, so it’s totally apt to launch the journal at the cozy main store in Tiong Bahru.

Since the majority of our contributors will not be in Singapore, a number of folks in the local literary community have stepped up and agreed to read from the pieces in the issue. So here’s our line-up (in no particular order):

Ang Si Min
Patricia Mulles (for Kate Osias)
Alvin Pang (for Chris Mooney-Singh)
Wei Fen Lee (for Elka Ray Nguyen)
JY Yang (for Zen Cho)
Adan Jimenez (for Paolo Chikiamco)
Jason Erik Lundberg (for Bryan Thao Worra and Paolo Bacigalupi)

If you’re in Singapore and love excellent literary speculative fiction from Southeast Asia, come on down! (And even if you don’t, come on down anyway!)

Bryan Thao Worra’s Exploration of the Nak


This isn’t a direct behind-the-scenes entry, but it’s pretty close. In Bryan Thao Worra’s poem “Stainless Steel Nak” in issue #1, he explores the Lao supernatural entity through a number of fascinating comparisons. In this blog entry from a year ago, he also does so through the Lovecraftian figure of Nyarlathotep:

In the glossary of On The Other Side Of The Eye in 2007, I explained that a nak is “Sometimes synonymous with Naga. Typically depicted as a many-headed giant serpent, as a river creature, and sometimes as a subterranean being. Nak are believed to help the Lao during wars, floods and are associated with fertility. Some say the Lao are descendants of a giant Nak living in the Mekong. To some, Nak are snake deities who converted to Buddhism and now protect the Buddhist Dharma. In art, they appear on the balustrades of temple causeways and platforms (“naga bridges”), personifying the rainbow, bridging the earthly and celestial worlds.” The Tibetan parallel is Klu, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Nyarlathotep is an “Outer God” known by many names and forms, including the Crawling Chaos. It first appearing in Lovecraft’s 1920 prose poem of the same name, he was later mentioned in other works by Lovecraft and by other writers of the 20th and 21st century. The form above is often referred to as the Howler In The Dark.


The Nak are not entities a Lao writer would present as villainous, because they are historically protectors of the Lao. (Of course, nearby mythologies take a different view of the Nak/Naga due to politics, etc. but that’s not necessarily germane to this discussion.) However, if we were to postulate how Nyarlathotep appears, it might come as Nak Dam, the Black Nak, which would be a parody of the traditional form of the Nak.

If we were keeping consistent with prior appearances, Nak Dam would most likely appear with a tri-lobed eye, black scales, and numerous tentacles protruding from a number of obscene, terrifying heads. Based on Lovecraft’s poem, we can speculate Nyarlathotep’s aspect of Nak Dam would do similar things it does in Europe and America, wandering the earth, gathering devotees by demonstrating strange, almost magical technology that eventually causes them to lose awareness of the world, of the passage of time, eventually leading to insanity and plunging the world into madness. A protagonist in Laos or a Lao expatriate community might possibly be trying to fight Nak Dam by turning to the dham, the truths and lessons of the Buddha and Lao customs to retain their sense of sanity. But would they succeed?