The Alchemy of Happiness: a triptych of stories rooted in Southeast Asian myth and legend, literary fantasy at its very best.
In the beginning were the four: Water, Fire, Air, and Earth. Arriving simultaneously with the creation of the world, these archetypal elementals shaped humanity from the very start; two of the four continue to do so.
BLUE—The first trickster, fluid and fickle, holder of all the answers, and, therefore, of all the power.
DANE—The loyal lieutenant and enforcer, dispatching fiery judgment without question.
In various guises and forms, through the interstices of our reality and multiple afterlives, these two ancient but flawed siblings seek to find the one metaphysical formula that will lead them out of the never-ending cycle of suffering. Like all of us, human and demigod alike, they yearn for the pure land of endless bliss.
This volume also features “Embracing the Strange,” a 14,000-word hybrid essay on the transformative power of speculative fiction, as well as “Represented Spaces,” a wide-ranging interview with Jason Erik Lundberg by author and editor Wei Fen Lee.
- “Reality, Interrupted,” The Third Alternative no. 42, Summer 2005; Infinity Plus, Jan 2006; honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror vol. 19; Agua/Cero (Proyecto Líquido, Spanish trans.), Aug 2007
- “In Jurong,” Quarterly Literary Review Singapore 8:4, Oct 2009; Red Dot Irreal (Math Paper Press), Oct 2011
- “Always a Risk,” Eastern Heathens (Ethos Books), Mar 2013
- “Embracing the Strange,” Math Paper Press, Sep 2013
- “Represented Spaces: An Interview By Wei Fen Lee” [extract]
Praise for The Alchemy of Happiness
“Lundberg’s ‘Always a Risk’ blends science fiction, fantasy and Pure Land Buddhism to create an East-Asian steampunk world where hydromancy and technomancy are established sciences and Fleetline Coupes with phlogiston engines are driven into the ‘interstitial realm, the buffer zone between the dominions of man and demon’.” —Roderick B. Overaa, Asiatic, on “Always a Risk”
“The writing is smooth and crisply visual, and the dialog sparkles … Go with the flow, and you’ll meet an interesting character who ultimately is given a thought-provoking choice, one which comes with a unique sacrifice.” —Douglas Hoffman, Tangent, on “Reality, Interrupted”
“A fantasy tale of the highest calibre, at times I thought I was reading the last chapter of a great novel and it has certainly made me want to hear more from this author. A world of magic suddenly springs from a fairly ordinary beginning as Goran soon realises that things are not what they seem, and he quickly plunges into a new and disturbing world that is set to change his life forever.” —Tracy Sherrin-Miller, Whispers of Wickedness, on “Reality, Interrupted”