December 17, 2018, 05:13:50 PM

Author Topic: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations  (Read 637 times)

Offline Nora

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Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« on: June 02, 2018, 09:26:29 PM »
Hello all,

first off, sorry I've been away a lot, work was a bit crazy, plus I tripped and fell into Skyrim on my Switch and it's a serious pot of honey one doesn't climb out of like that.

Now, I'm on holidays for a week, I've set up my women's table (see specific topic), and it has been selling a lot. On the other side of the section there is a table I set up with some of the Arthur C. Clarke shortlisted novels (that sells a lot less).
Anyway, soon enough the award will come out, and I will clear that table and replace it with what I want. And what I want, is a selection of foreign titles. I want different lenses on the SFF genre, from China, North and black Africa, Eastern Europe, Native America, South America, up North...
It can be pretty niche but it has to sound good, and it has to be orderable... aka, have a Uk publisher that keeps it in print (I can check that at work myself).

People like Cixin Liu or Nisi Shawl (Everfair) are obvious nominees.

Please give me any suggestions you have, but don't expect too much, it'll be a smaller table I think, unless I can sweet talk my manager into giving me another square table. So most likely 7 titles at most.

So far I'm considering these authors:

- A classic ish fantasy type Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed (I have a lot at the shop, since it sold well when I picked it for book group of May)
- Either Cixin or Ken Liu, one is heavy fantasy, the other heavy scifi, so I may choose depending on balance of the table.
- Everfair by Nisi Shawl, set in a steampunkish Congo.
- IF I can get it,  The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy sounds amazing and follows a tribe of cats in the streets of
Delhi.

...

"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

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Offline Peat

Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2018, 09:34:01 PM »
Straight off the top of my head, Andrej Sapkowski's books seem an obvious potential one if you're short of typical fantasy - that or Jin Yong's Legend of the Condor, although you seem to have plenty of work concentrated on China anyway.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2018, 09:40:14 PM »
Straight off the top of my head, Andrej Sapkowski's books seem an obvious potential one if you're short of typical fantasy - that or Jin Yong's Legend of the Condor, although you seem to have plenty of work concentrated on China anyway.

Yes I thought about it too, Asia is easy to pick from. I don't want China over-represented. My problem is that Sapkowski is a core shelf title for me. I always keep a tone of the first volume, with a recommendation card under it, and I want to keep it there because I have a lot of tables these days (one for perennial titles and one for recent stuff, one for the women's fiction and now in the future one for foreign authors). I can't have a single book on the tables, so we have to put all the "bulk" we receive there or faced out on the shelves.
To avoid permanent juggling of titles, especially given that few people at the shop know the section well, I've picked some books I always want "depth" on, and keep them there, with their rec cards.
So no Sapkowski.
But I could be cheeky and shift Arkady (roadside picnic) from my perennial table. It sort of defeats the point though, as I'd like to have some new titles in if I can.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Peat

Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2018, 10:17:42 PM »
Makes sense. And I'm guessing that Children of Blood and Bone by... hmm, temporarily forgotten... kinda fits under the same profile of too well known.

While googling for a book title that I've clean forgotten, I did see this however, which seems potentially interesting - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizard_of_the_Crow
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 01:03:58 AM »
Hmm! You've hit a lot of the things I'd recommend up front, but let me ponder a little more... (After lengthy pondering, I'm annoyed at how many of these are American authors writing in other settings. Clearly I need to broaden my reading-in-translation.)

Maybe Sergei Lukyanenko's Watch books? (Starts with Night Watch, I think Sixth Watch is the most recent one?) Urban fantasy. Very Russian. They had a bout of popularity like a decade or more ago when the movie came out.

I know you're saying China is sort of saturated, but there's a pair of novellas by J.Y. Yang that I keep hear people raving about--Black Tides of Heaven and Red Threads of Fortune.

Aliette de Bodard wrote a series about Aztecs, I think the first book was called Servant of the Underworld. It didn't quite work for me, but I've heard lots of other people say enthusiastic things about it.

Lauren Beukes's Zoo City is urban fantasy set in Johannesburg and deeply steeped in South African present, past, issues, themes, cultures--white, black and all the interactions between. It was very gritty, and very interesting.

Karen Lord's Redemption in Indigo is a beautiful African fable.

I'm unsure whether Kai Ashante Wilson's novellas would hit your target zone here. It's spec fic with non-white face and themes and styles, but it felt to me a lot more African-American than pure African... but I'm completely unqualified to make that call!

Would YA be suitable for inclusion?
 - I highly recommend Alaya Dawn Johnson's The Summer Prince, set in a near-future Brazil.
 - Ambelin Kwaymullina's The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is post-apocalyptic, refigured continental structure, but very Australian. (I will not be at all bothered if you say Australia is too English; I just hardly ever see spec fic that captures such an Australian feel to it, though. It's got a lot of Aboriginal myth and mindset to it.)
 - Heidi Heilig's The Girl From Everywhere is historical fantasy set in still-independent Hawaii, with some Chinese myth elements.
 - I loved Yangsze Choo's The Ghost Bride, historical fantasy set in Malacca. Actually, this one is quite dense for YA, so perhaps might fly under the crossover radar.

I'm never sure if G Willow Wilson's Alif the Unseen should be considered YA or not; it's urban fantasy / cyberpunk / both set in the Arab Emirates.

And maybe NK Jemisin's Dreamblood books?

Offline Peat

Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 01:21:36 AM »
Aliette de Bodard wrote a series about Aztecs, I think the first book was called Servant of the Underworld. It didn't quite work for me, but I've heard lots of other people say enthusiastic things about it.

I'm 90% certain these are out of print or I'd have recommended them myself (although again, didn't quite work for me). At least, I had the devil's own time persuading someone to sell me a new copy.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2018, 09:29:07 AM »
I thought Nora was asking for non-English (inc. American) authors, rather than books set in non-Europe settings.
Otherwise I would recomment @G_R_Matthews' books :)
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2018, 11:29:48 AM »
I thought Nora was asking for non-English (inc. American) authors, rather than books set in non-Europe settings.
Otherwise I would recomment @G_R_Matthews' books :)

I'd certainly prefer to recommend non-UK or -American authors for something like this, but as both Saladin Ahmed and Nisi Shawl from Nora's original list are American, I assumed that "Western" authors writing from the tradition(s) of their descent might also be worth considering.

Offline Nora

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Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2018, 11:34:38 AM »
You guys are already giving me some good food for thought!

Sadly no YA, which includes Children of blood and bone which had its own table for a while, but has a different demographic. My section is 'adult' books only, though often the demarcation is very blurry indeed.

I thought Nora was asking for non-English (inc. American) authors, rather than books set in non-Europe settings.

Yes, in the end non native english speakers are preferred, though I don't mind for native americans, or people who wrote in English whilst being foreign or having strong connection with their foreign culture... Aka, Wizard of the Crow recommended by Peat was translated by the author himself, or people like some of us here, who write in English despite being Icelandic/Danish/Portuguese, etc. All that matter is that the point of view is different, hence the variety. As Cupiscent points out, you can be american and write a novel including a lot of the folklore and mentality of your other nationality, and that'll be fine.
I wouldn't pick a white-fifth-generation-american writing an asian setting fantasy novel, no matter how much Asian medium they consumed before-hand.
This being said I would probably not pick Aliette de Bodard for her Aztecs series... She's french-vietnamese, grew up in Paris and writting in English... I'd sooner get a south american author and use one of her novels set in France, where she 'knows' what she's writing about.
This isn't me saying the series is bad, only that it's always harder for an author who isn't of a culture to make the best representation of it, and since I have so little space, I'd not pick that first for this table.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline JMack

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Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2018, 02:07:27 PM »
Haven’t read her books, though I started to listen to one: Nnedi Okorafor.
Her novel “Who Fears Desth” won the World Fantasy Award in 2011.

The book I listened to was “Lagoon.” As a book, really interesting. As a recorded book, set my teeth on edge having multiple performers doing what felt like extreme Nigerian accents.
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Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2018, 09:27:41 PM »
I'll confess to being of British descent - despite my search for a European relative so I can claim EU membership :) One of my ancestors, in around 1783 was born in China - to English parents (clearly the side of the family with all the money - I've no idea where that all went too!).

Having said that, my books are damn good <-- maybe.

If you're looking for Chinese books - Legend of the Condor Heroes is excellent
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Non-English authors for more Work Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2018, 12:08:46 AM »
Anyway, soon enough the award will come out, and I will clear that table and replace it with what I want. And what I want, is a selection of foreign titles. I want different lenses on the SFF genre, from China, North and black Africa, Eastern Europe, Native America, South America, up North...

Would Jose Saramago's Blindness count?
Also Chakraborty is from NY but City of Brass was cool

plus I tripped and fell into Skyrim on my Switch and it's a serious pot of honey one doesn't climb out of like that.

Check out my Instagram @killin_it_in_tamriel. https://www.instagram.com/killin_it_in_tamriel/
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 12:12:32 AM by Bradley Darewood »