International SFF Recommendations?

Posted September 1, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 2 Comments

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Year of International Reading

I am concocting a Plan for my 2016 reading list. It requires careful planning and preparation. I am not ready to discuss this plan in detail quite yet, but I will happily ask for your (read: the internet’s) help with some of that plan. (And you’ll probably get an idea of the shape of this plan as a result as well as a notion on why I’m not ready to come right out and say what the plan is.)

Do you have any international SFF novel recommendations for me? Pretty please?

For the purpose of this request I am defining ‘international SFF novel’ as “Anything written by someone not born and/or raised in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand”. It can be translated from another language or originally written in English, but it has to be a novel. And ideally available as ebook globally.

This means that anthologies like The Apex Book of World SF series are out. The Tor.com stand-alone releases are out. Story collections by international authors are out.

Why am I limiting the request this way? Because I don’t have any trouble finding books by authors from those areas of the world. (Although sometimes they don’t have ebook versions available and I wail.) It’s everywhere else that I’m struggling to find books from and thus need help with.

So please help? Throw recommendations for international SFF (translated or not) at me. I’ll reveal my grand plan in December and, if I feel I need to, I will probably repeat this repeat this request a few times so apologies in advance if you get tired of hearing me plead for book recommendations.

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2 responses to “International SFF Recommendations?

  1. sandstone78

    I’m always looking for more novel-length work too! I have a much easier time finding short fiction.

    Offhand:

    – Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito: Guardian of the Darkness, Nahoko Uehashi- Uehashi is Japanese, and these books are translations. A secondary-world fantasy adventure series about a bodyguard, Balsa, who grew up in exile from her homeland. The first book is about Balsa guarding a possessed prince that she saves from drowning from people who think the spirit inside him is going to destroy their country of New Yogo, and the second is about Balsa going home and facing the evils that had driven her from her home when she was a child. Unfortunately, the rest of the books in the series aren’t available in English, but Guardian of the Darkness is a perfectly good stopping point- it answers the backstory questions brought up in the first book, and resolves all of its own plots, but leaves the door open for future adventures.

    – Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino- Calvino was an Italian author, and this book is a translation. I’m playing a little fast and loose with both “SFF” and “novel” here, as this is more a collection of whimsical vignettes about the nature of cities than a narrative and it’s sort-of Earth (though they’re only theoretical cities), but I really loved it. (A note that it’s been a little while since I’ve read it though, so the suck fairy may have visited in the meantime!) Hogarth’s Aphorisms of Kherishdar reminded me a lot of this book, but the stories aren’t nearly as connected (and they’re second person).

    – The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard- de Bodard was born in the US, but raised in France; this book was written in English. A sort of dark, post-magic-apocalypse alternate history Paris, where the city is inhabited by fallen angels in houses that war with each other. The protagonists are an alchemist, a Vietnamese immortal in exile, and a newly human Fallen woman. I’m not generally a big fan of post-apocalyptic stuff or alternate history, but I picked this up based on liking de Bodard’s shorter work and it is really interesting to me so far.

    – Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho- Cho is a Malaysian author. This book is set in an alternate Regency England with magic, about an African sorcerer and a woman with magic, neither of whom society thinks should have magic. This is another one I’ve only just started (because it only just came out today in the US!) but it looks very promising- I’ve liked what I’ve read of Cho’s shorter work.

    • Ooooooooh, shiny book recommendations! And yes it’s much easier to find short works of international fiction. I have theories on that that I’m trying to work into a post. (Actually everything I know about international authors in the English-language market is depressing.)

      Thank you! <3 I actually aim to read Sorcerer to the Crown, but I haven’t yet gotten around to acquiring it. I will eventually, though! I’m intrigued by de Bodard’s newest novel, but I should probably start with the one that’s been on my TBR pile for ages. I hadn’t heard much about Moribito, though I’m sad to hear it seems like it didn’t do well enough to translate the other books.

      I’m also totally cool with magical realism recommendations! I think I’ve heard of Calvino? I’m not sure. It doesn’t sound like Invisible Cities would suit this particular purpose, but it’s still a good recommendation to have in general. ^_^

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