So this is actually something of a failed post.
It’s November, which means there are a plethora of different challenges going on and hashtags to follow. There’s #NaNoWriMo for authors hoping to bust out 50k towards their next novel (you can do it!), #Norsevember for all the Viking lovers out there (Valhalla beckons my dudes), #Dinovember for . . . well for dinosaur lovers (RAWR!!). There’s even a challenge if you just don’t feel like shaving.
One challenge/hashtag that I always enjoy following is #SciFiMonth. It’s put on by @imyrl over at There’s Always Room for One More and Lisa from Dear Geek Place (they also hosted #WyrdAndWonder, which I had a ton of fun doing back in may. You can see my WyrdAndWonder Wrap up post for everything I worked on for it!). I was pretty stoked and eagerly looking at the list of challenges for different posts I might do on this blog.
I saw today’s challenge was “International Authors” and was like pff I got this. I’ve been making an effort to try to diversify my reading a bit and I think in general I’ve succeeded. I’ve been tracking the 2021 Hugo Awards this year, and I think the breadth of voices represented by the finalists are better than in years past. Just following this year’s candidates has already widened my horizons somewhat, and I think in general the industry has made some strides (although there is still lots more to be done).
So I dove right in and began making my list. I apparently did not read the part where it said no US/UK authors. The UK is international to me so . . . I put some on here. Oops.
Anyway, the exercise was not a total waste because it really opened my eyes to a few things:
- I’m aware of more fantasy than SciFi – The names that came to mind immediately were those of Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher), and Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Mexican Gothic; Horror but def also Fantasy)
- Authors I assumed were international were are also American – Nnedi Okorafor (Nigerian-American), and Aliette de Bodard (French-American).
Anyway, the list I did create is not on prompt, but it is still a list of authors and their books which I’m excited to read so I figured I’d share the list anyway. Here goes . . .
Cixin Liu (Chinese)
I think Chinese Science Fiction is really having a moment the last couple years. This I’m sure is in no small part because of the success of Liu and his Hugo Award winning novel, The Three Body Problem. He also has a few other titles which look amazing. The one I’m most excited for is called Ball Lightning. Pretty much had me on the title alone but if it’s half as good as The Three Body Problem, I’m sure I’ll be blown away.
Stanislaw Lem (Polish)
I think if I had let it, this entire post could have been filled with Science Fiction writers from the Eastern Bloc. At some point, I was inspired to read as much of those kinds of works as possible, but — as with this post — my plan failed. I managed to read through Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Monday Starts on Saturday. Apparently, it soured me to the whole experience because I haven’t read any others, but Lem has always remained in the back of my mind. I keep hearing that Solaris is the one to read, so I think that’s what I will do!
Tade Tompson (British-Yoruban)
I keep seeing this name around recently, although it seems like he’s been around for quite a while. A quick google shows me that he made a big splash with Rosewater (2016), and the rest of the Wormwood Trilogy. Obviously I’ll want to catch up on those, but it looks like he has a new standalone book coming out in 2021 called Far From the Light of Heaven. In order to try to stay on the Sci-Fi theme of this post, I think it’s perhaps better to start there.
Ian Banks (British)
So, Ian Banks is a huge name in science fiction. I read Hydrogen Sonata, back in 2012 (wow that feels so long ago!) and was pretty much blown away. I’ve often been told that while that is a great book, it’s not even his best. I’m considering starting from the beginning with Consider Phlebas, and just reading the whole way through. Wish me luck!
Tamsyn Muir (New Zealand)
I don’t think Tamsyn Muir really needs much explanation. She pretty much exploded onto the scene with Gideon the Ninth, and has kept the momentum with Harrow the Ninth. There’s supposedly two more books in the Locked Tomb series and I will be anxiously awaiting both of them.
You made it!
Congrats! You made it through all five. Please let me know what you think of my list? Have you read any? Is there a better choice I don’t know about? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time!
I have not read any of these authors, but then, I don’t read much scifi! I’m also more aware of fantasy. But these sound like some solid authors to start off with, for someone looking to diversify their scifi reading.
Because I can’t help myself, and you mentioned reading more fantasy then sci-fi, who’s your go-to fantasy author?
Hmmm I am very picky so there isn’t really one author whose books I all love (apart from Tolkien) but lately it’s Seanan McGuire with Wayward Children/Middlegame books. Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente and Helen Oyeyemi (if her books count as ‘fantasy’) have a good selection to choose from. And for middle grade authors, Jessica Townsend’s Morrigan Crow series is an auto-buy for me. 🙂 How about you?
Nice! I’ve read a few of the Wayward Children books and some Valente too. I pretty much auto buy anything Brandon Sanderson, but lately it’s becoming harder. Long books and such a commitment. Recently I’ve been super impressed w/ Fonda Lee, and I want to delve more into Naomi Novik’s work. Anyway, will give Oyeymi and Townsend a shot 🙂
Sanderson is one I haven’t tried yet, but he’s on my TBR. I’m not really one for series or long books so it may still be some time before I get there… I also loved Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver. Hope you enjoy whatever you pick up next!
Thanks! Same for you!
Stanislaw Lem is the only one I’ve read, but I have enjoyed Solaris and a collection of his stories (forgot the title, sorry). I don’t know about better authors than the ones you’ve listed, but if you’re interested in more, Ken Liu has translated two collections of science fiction by Chinese authors, Broken Stars and Invisible Planets. Also, Korean author Bo-Young Kim has a collection of translated stories titled I’m Waiting For You. All of these have some interesting commentary in addition to the fiction.
Oh cool. I’m sort of familiar with Ken Liu but I’ll have to check out Bo-Young Kim. Lots of cool scifi coming out from that part of the world. I hope it keeps coming! 🙂
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