There are so many places around the world I want to explore, but things like time or budget are not always on my side and I am left admiring them from home in various books, magazines and documentaries. However, an alternative exists, different but equally pleasant, exploring the world through fiction. More so with the help of speculative fiction, my favorite genre that becomes more interesting and far richer when it is approached from the worldwide diverse cultural perspectives. It does not happen too often, it seems that the market is not brave enough at the moment to leave the many captivating cultures of the world bring their own contribution to the speculative fiction. But such attempts can be found. The latest I discovered is an anthology edited by Jason Erik Lundberg, “Fish Eats Lion”, a collection of Singaporean speculative fiction published this month by Math Paper Press.
Fish Eats Lion: New Singaporean Speculative Fiction collects the best original speculative fiction being written in Singapore today, a home-grown anthology featuring a refreshing variety of voices and perspectives. Here are tales that are recognizably science fiction and fantasy, and others that blend genres and tropes, including absurdism, police procedural, fairy tales, steampunk, pre- and post-apocalypse, political satire, and alien first contact. These twenty-two stories—from emerging writers publishing their first work to winners of the Singapore Literature Prize and the Cultural Medallion—explore the fundamental singularity of the Lion City.
This book is a celebration of the vibrant creative power underlying Singapore’s inventive prose stylists, where what is considered normal and what is strange are blended in fantastic new ways.
“Fish Eats Lion” is a collection that held my attention immediately, a perfect example of projects I would like to see more in the future. New approaches that can help the speculative fiction improve and achieve new heights and initiatives I would love to see being born more often.
Being a writer and editor of speculative fiction, it has worried me to see such a lack of published SF writing within a Singaporean context, and so this anthology was born. I cannot thank publisher Kenny Leck enough for taking a chance on this book, and encouraging the proliferation of further imaginative writing in Singapore. During the submissions process, I was gratified at the overwhelming amount of submitted short fiction, which only confirmed my impression that Singaporeans are indeed writing fantastical stories, and are either presumably shelving them in favour of more “realist” writing or sending them to overseas markets for publication.
Jason Erik Lundberg, “Preface”
“Preface” by Jason Erik Lundberg
“The Story of the Kiss” by Stephanie Ye
“Agnes Joaquim, Bioterrorist” by Ng Yi-Sheng
“Punggol” by Ben Slater
“Welcome to the Pond” by Wei Fen Lee
“Last Supper” by Jeffrey Lim
“Rewrites” by Shelly Bryant
“Big Enough for the Entire Universe” by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
“The Digits” by Ivan Ang
“Apocalypse Approaches” by Daryl Yam
“010011010100010101001101010011110101001001011001” by Justin Ker
“Dewy” by Grace Chia Kraković
“Where No Cars Go” by JY Yang
“Green Man Plus” by Isa Kamari
“Mirage” by Noelle de Jesus
“Feng Shui Train” by Yuen Kit Mun
“Last Time Kopitiam” by Marc de Faoite
“Chapter 28: Energy” by The Centipede Collective
“Waiting For the Snow” by Carrick Ang
“The Moon and the Stars” by Andrew Cheah
“The Disappearance of Lisa Zhang” by Dave Chua
“Open” by Tan Ming Tuan“Zero Hour” by Cyril Wong