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This final double-sized issue of LONTAR presents speculative writing from and about Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and Vietnam.

This issue of LONTAR is published and distributed by Epigram Books in Singapore.Inside these pages, you’ll find:

  • sightings of a strange astronaut in an infinite library by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, illustrated by Eisner winner Sonny Liew;
  • the meeting between weretigers and Sang Nila Utama by Manish Melwani;
  • the enlightenment of a politician’s wife by Cyril Wong;
  • a Pygmalion-esque tragic romance by comic artist Drewscape;
  • weaponised merlions in WWII-era Singapore by Kevin Martens Wong;
  • an unexpected offer of omniscient immortality by Eliza Victoria;
  • gods and mango tree spirits united in song by Vida Cruz;
  • post-apocalyptic satay cookery in Marina Bay Sands by Wayne Rée;
  • domestic strife and changeling tigers by Natalie Wang;
  • the magic of folding origami cranes by Topaz Winters;
  • a panadería that guarantees pregnancy by Gabriela Lee;
  • surrogate speaking to the dead by Patricia Karunungan;
  • a dating app for interdimensional monstrosities by Marylyn Tan & Graeme Ford;
  • and speculative poetry by Kevin Minh Allen, Davian Aw, F. Jordan Carnice, May Chong, Genevieve DeGuzman, Lawdenmarc Decamora, Joses Ho, Judith Huang, Sithuraj Ponraj, Bronwyn Sharman, Lakan Umali and Natalie Wang.

Also included is a special supplement: the exciting conclusion of Dean Francis Alfar’s brilliant novel Salamanca, winner of the Palanca Award Grand Prize for the Novel and the Gintong Aklat Award for Literature.



Salamanca – Part Three
  Dean Francis Alfar



Sejarah Larangan; or, The Forbidden History of Old Singapura
  Manish Melwani

  Topaz Winters

A Merlion for His Majesty
  Kevin Martens Wong

The Offering
  Gabriela Lee

  Marylyn Tan & Graeme Ford

  Wayne Rée

The Filial Tiger’s Wife
  Natalie Wang

To See Infinity Inside the Pages of a Book
  Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
  Sonny Liew (illustrator)

Song of the Mango
  Vida Cruz

  Patricia Karunungan

The Bodhisattva Makes Her Case
  Cyril Wong

Carpe Noctem
  Eliza Victoria



The Pontianak
Stranger Tales from the Nanyang

  Natalie Wang

According to Our Wishes

  Kevin Minh Allen

Space Ship Island Number One

  Joses Ho

  Lawdenmarc Decamora

A different story

  Judith Huang

Lex Talionis
  Sithuraj Ponraj

On the Evening an Autocrat Experienced Synaesthesia
  F. Jordan Carnice


  Davian Aw

Tuan Puteri Mayang
Cosmos Amok

  May Chong

Iterative Translations from the Output Layer
  Bronwyn Sharman

Cosmonaut’s Lament
  Genevieve DeGuzman

Mara’s Mother Introduces the World
Mara’s Mother Warns Her of the Outside

  Lakan Umali


Sequential Art



Extract from “A Merlion for His Majesty”

They blink.

He feels what it feels. The ocean. The songs. The food. The cold. The cold that is not cold, just like the invasion that is not an invasion, permeating the smooth, slippery folds of his brain and taking up permanent residence in the reefs and caves of his mind.

It knows what he knows. The beatings. The executions. The desires. The quiet that is not quiet, a silence that is not silence, but a searing defiance, a hatred that courses silent and red through the rushing waters of the boy’s veins.

They blink again, and they are one. The cold and the silence. The ocean and the wavering flame.

The anthropozoologist nods, and the boy’s father unfolds his arms. The boy and the creature watch him impassively.

“How do you feel?” says King Mansour.

“Extended,” says Haidar, as the anthropozoologist pulls the needles from his arm.