My story The Floating Market is now out in Lontar, Issue 2. Lontar is a South-East Asian journal of speculative fiction based out of Singapore. The Floating Market is a fantastical story set in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam about a girl and an elephant.
I have to admit, shockingly, despite my own cultural background, I only ever read European fantasy growing up. I loved all the Arthurian legends and sword and dragon-based books based on Western mythology. I was aware there was a different perspective out there having been brought up in a household of Chinese art and TV shows but it never occurred to me that this could be accessible in books since I couldn’t read Chinese. So I soaked up those 1980s soap operas and animes and had to be content.
Even when I lived in Japan I used to pick up the fantasy books and just imagine what the stories were based on the covers. It felt so cruel that I consoled myself my flicking through manga comic books and just enjoying the pictures (okay I could understand a bit of Japanese by then but not enough for the rich vocabulary in historical and fantastical fiction). The only equivalent I could really find were children’s illustrated mythology books or translated but somewhat turgid ancient texts such as Journey to the West.
Why doesn’t someone write about Asian fantasy, I asked over an over again. People pointed me towards the Mistress of the Empire trilogy, Kwaidan or the more recent novels like Across the Nightingale Floor. And these were good, enjoyable reads. But something was missing.
Whilst I don’t presume to fill that void myself, I think Lontar is the sort of journal that tries to fill that niche. Written by people living in, or culturally from SE Asia, it is something a bit different. And whilst we are waiting for Google to master the universal translator and apply it to books, have a read of a few short stories. At a bargain $2.99USD, what are you waiting for?
Since I’m updating, I’ve been away from writing for the past two years as I’ve been completing an intensive postgrad in London and all of my free time has gone to reading about speech and language disorders. Once I finish up in July I will be back on the writing bandwagon so keep following!