The first volume of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction came out in 2013. Named after “Lontar” (“Rontal” in Filipino), an Indonesian word for a bound palm-leaf manuscript from the fifth century BCE , it was meant to showcase Speculative Fiction writing in its myriad forms from all across Southeast Asia.
I was too late to contribute to its maiden issue, but my story “Entanglement” appeared in Volume 2. Two further works “Brother to Space, Sister to Time” and “Father is the Blood, Mother is the Wine” appeared in Volumes 6 and 9 respectively. Both ended up as the cover stories.
It’s really sad to see LONTAR go. There really isn’t any publication of it’s scope and breadth focused exclusively on Southeast Asia anywhere in the world.
It’s tenth and final issue is double-sized wonder featuring work by Dean Alfar, Vida Cruz, Drewscape, Joses Ho, Patricia Karuningan, Gabriela Lee, Manish Melwani, Wayne Ree, Lakan Umali, Eliza Victoria, Topaz Winters, Cyril Wong, Kevin Martens Wong, and many others. Founding Editor Jason Erik Lundberg wanted to include the artwork made by award-winning artist Sonny Liew for the my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories. I wrote a flash fiction piece called “To See Infinity In The Pages Of A Book” to accompany it.
Thank you to Jason, Poetry Editor Kristine Ong Muslim, Comics Editor Adan Jimenez, and publishers Epigram and Math Paper Press (Volumes 1 and 2) for all the hard work.
Let’s hope it won’t be too long before another publication picks up LONTAR’s legacy.
It’s almost time for the 2018 Writer’s Festival and I realize that I had never posted my pictures from last year’s run.
Top to bottom, left to right: (1) SWF Opening, (2) Outside the festival grounds, (3) Watching a panels while seated on LKY’s chair, (4) With Junot Diaz, (5) “Writing between Genre Lines” panel with Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (moderator), Aliette de Bodard, Jason Erik Lundberg and O Thiam Chin, (6) With Dean Alfar, (7) With Lavie Tidhar, (8) Crab dinner with Aliette, Jason, Nikki, Pat and Dean, (9) Peranakan lunch with Ken Liu, and (10) birthday dinner with Aliette.
Here are some pictures from my panels:
- The Real Science in Science Fiction – with Shelly Bryant, Kevin Martens Wong, and Dave Chua moderating
5 Nov, Sun 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The Arts House, Living Room
- A Brave New World: Speculative Fiction in Singapore – with Jon Gresham, Christina Sng , and Gene Tan moderating
6 Nov, Mon 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The Arts House, Chamber
Lastly, check out the special packaging for my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories which was only available at the festival venue.
The Singapore Writers Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and I am happy to be part of an event that includes such literary and genre heavy weights such as Gemino Abad, Dean Alfar, Simon Armitage, Aliette de Bodard, Shelly Bryant, Junot Diaz, Ken Liu, Marjorie Liu, Isa Kamari, Jason Erik Lundberg, Ng Yi-Sheng, Tony Parsons, Edwin Thumboo , Cyril Wong and JY Yang to name just a few.
The festival’s theme this year is the Tamil word அரம் (Aram) whose meaning embodies goodness, equity and justice. Used extensively in older Tamil literature, it is a word has rich connotation and an ideal of goodness and generosity for humanity to aspire to. It is today a quality much needed in our increasingly complex and difficult world.
Some of the best Science Fiction stories also share this normative, Utopian vision and I hope to be able to talk about it in my panels. You can find my SWF schedule here:
Lastly Math Paper press will be launching my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories along with The Story of Number Nine by Josiah Ng. I hope to see you all there!
New Titles by Math Paper Press III:
The Story of Number Nine and The Infinite Library
7 Nov Tue 8.30pm – 9.30pm
Gallery II, The Arts House (Free Event)