Lontar is a Bahasa Indonesia word that means bound paper-leaf manuscript, and is, according to founding editor Jason Erik Lundberg, “the perfect symbol for the curation of Southeast Asian speculative fiction: it is an early technology that revolutionised the dissemination of knowledge…”
Born and raised in the U.S., Jason moved to Singapore in 2007, and since then has been a well-respected and recognized writer and editor in the local literary scene. Not only does he hold down a day job as the Literary Fiction Editor at Epigram Books (where he edited the Singapore Literature Prize winning novel, Ministry of Moral Panic), he’s currently working on his very own science fiction novella—all this in addition to manning the helm at LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, of course.
Why did you feel the need to start a Southeast Asian journal for speculative fiction?
Primarily because nothing like it existed in the world already. When most people think of speculative fiction, they default to authors from the USA or UK, sometimes Australia or India. Translated works out of Europe and Japan have become more common, but are still small in number. However, Southeast Asia has been almost totally ignored, which is crazy, considering the size of the region. So I made it my mission to promote fantastical stories from and about Southeast Asia, and get them into as many readers’ hands as possible.