2152 – Strange Horizons special issue focused on SF&F in Southeast Asia (29 Aug 2022)

Southeast Asia is an immense region with diverse cultures, traditions, and mythologies. It has witnessed trade, migration, wars, and occupation. Right from the very beginning, Southeast Asia was known as a destination for trade in ancient Greek sources, right up to the detailed texts by Chinese writers. With trade came the exchange and cross-fertilisation of ideas and belief systems. There is so much beauty and joy as well as stark horror. The glorious architecture of Angkor Wat, the outpouring of religious stories and texts like the Ramayana, the intermarriages of ethnicity and culture. The horrors of the Japanese Occupation in World War II and the Khmer Rouge, the terror of the Vietnam War have left an indelible imprint in the collective psyche and memory of Southeast Asian people.

Indeed, Southeast Asia is a diverse region with diverse cultures, traditions, mythologies, and stories. Hantu, preta, wandering wild spirits, monsters, nagas, Barong—all the stories that keep generations of children and adults awake at night.

And with its diversity comes the amazing (and delicious range of) food. Most of Southeast Asian cuisine—no doubt, deeply influenced by trade—are spicy or packed full of spice. In fact, the Portuguese, Dutch, and English fought bitterly over spice and their actions irrevocably changed Southeast Asian history forever. (A Song to the Sea: An Editorial by Joyce Chng, Jayme Goh, May Chong)

There are so many goodies in this issue, it makes it so hard to gobble down. Anyway keep it bookmarked for later. I recommend starting with:

A Spicepunk Manifesto: Towards a Critical Movement of Southeast Asian Heritage-Based SFF by Ng Yi-Sheng

Nevertheless here’s the whole gamut:

Lay My Stomach On Your Scales 

By: Wen-yi Lee

Clockwork Bayani 

By: EK Gonzales
Art by: Gianne Encarnacion


By: Nadine Aurora Tabing

Wok Hei St 

By: Guan Un

Her Merciful Components 

By: JV Choong


By: Cheng Him

Aswang Paces Outside of Kaiser Permanente Hospital 

By: Rachelle Cruz

Call out my name 

By: Jeff William Acosta


By: Yee Heng Yeh

field notes from an investigation into the self 

By: Max Pasakorn

The Human Frontier 

By: Stephani Soejono

when a kingdom falls/shakti’s kisses 

By: Votey Cheav


By: Natalie Wang

Monday: Princess Murders the Hero by Makapatag 

By: Kyle Tam

Lion City on Goodreads

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