Crowdsourcing The Essentials: Non-US, POC Sci-Fi and Fantasy?

Author Joyce Chng (aka J. Damask) asked me the other day on Twitter to talk about non-US SFF written by persons of color — and woefully, I thought, I am utterly ignorant of the subject and — I mean, jeez, do I even have a single book to recommend? I don’t. And that’s on me not paying enough attention to these sorts of things, and so I told @jolantru I’d open up a post about it.

And it dovetails nicely with my Monday “crowdsourcing the essentials” posts, I think.

So, let’s talk about the essential reads that fit those categorizations: non-US and written by persons of color.

Who wants to start?

90 comments

  • I can’t think of anything to recommend offhand that hasn’t already been listed, but I just have to say: curse you all for inflating my book wishlist to budget-destroying proportions! So many awesome-sounding recommendations, and given that the public library’s collection is disproportionately skewed toward white dudes, I’m unlikely to find most of them there… OTOH, my budget’s loss is my reading enjoyment’s gain, so thank you!

    Ooh, wait – I just thought of one that I haven’t seen listed, though since the author now lives in the US, even though she originally didn’t (she’s Singaporean), I guess it’s borderline: The Black Isle, by Sandi Tan. It’s a beautifully written novel (but depressing as all hell) about a woman who can see ghosts, set in WWII Asia, and steeped in Chinese and Singaporean folklore.

    And that point actually reminds me of something I’d like to point out to those commenters who are taking the “But whyyyyy should I care about the culture or ethnicity of the writers I read?” (frequently followed by “I’m totes colour-blind so the fact that I only ever read white dudes is completely a coincidence because what else could it possibly be?”): because writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Writers are heavily influenced by the cultures they live in. The language and culture they grow up with, the stories told to them when they were children, the urban (and non-urban) myths they hear, the books, films and music that surround them, all help shape their imagination and the resulting flavour of their work. It’s not a coincidence that so much mainstream fantasy sounds like endless rehashings of mediaeval Europe… So even if you’re not socially conscious in the slightest and don’t care about equity or diversity in any sociopolitical sense, think of it as a way of getting away from the same-of-same-old in SF and (especially) fantasy, and a chance to read something new, informed by different cultural traditions, with a feeling and flavour all its own.

  • Stephanie Saulter is a British / Jamaican SF author (Gemsigns) signed with Jo Fletcher Books.
    Evelinn Enoksen (“Guardians of Evion” Kristell Ink) – Norwegian

Speak Your Mind, Word-Nerds