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Non-English Fantasy

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  • Non-English Fantasy

    The fantasy genre is (has always been?) dominated by English and American fiction. But what about fantasy from the rest of Europe, from Russia, Asia, and beyond? Who are your favourite non-English fantasy writers?

  • #2
    For those of us who struggle to read other languages, it’s tough. I gather books are translated from English frequently, but they don’t get translated to English as often it seems. I like Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, but I’m not sure I can think of very many fantasy authors I read from other languages.

    Lofficer and Black Coat Press have done pretty good making some stuff available that wouldn’t be otherwise, and I like purchasing from them. After that... 🤷🏻‍♂️ I’m not sure if I have much translated without that.
    "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
    --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

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    • #3
      Italo Calvino and Stanislaw Lem were past favourites. I've also dabbled in the Strugatsky brothers. Probably forgetting some others.

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      • #4
        I actually just read Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers, it's a great book. But I am looking for recommendations of non-English fantasy rather than science fiction. SF seems to be a much more international genre, arguably its origin can be traced to France, with the likes of Jules Verne? I am curious why it is so hard (also for myself) to find any good examples of fantasy writers outside America and the UK.
        Last edited by Sir Sorcerer; 08-18-2020, 12:05 AM.

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        • #5
          Vandermeer's recently published The Big Book of Fantasy collects fantasy fiction from Russia, Argentina, Nigeria, Columbia, Pakistan, Turkey, Finland, Sweden, China, the Philippines, and the Czech Republic. But looking at the table of contents it seems their definition of "fantasy" might be a bit too broad for my taste, in the direction of weird and surreal fiction (the dragon on the cover isn't really a dragon etc.). Moorcock is represented though... Maybe some of you have read it? Here is the link:
          https://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Mode.../dp/0525563865

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          • #6
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noite_na_Taverna 19th century Brazilian author Álvares de Azevedo
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%...r%C3%A3es_Rosa Joao Guimaraes Rosa suffers from a big problem, he is beloved by academics who will kill whoever says he has written fantasy, but most of his work is definitely fantasty.

            You have Borges, Alfredo Bioy Casar in Argentina.

            More recently we have the short stories collection
            https://editoradraco.com/produto/dragoes/

            If you count steampunk or dieselpunk as fantasy, I would definitely mention one of my faves:
            Homens e monstros by Flávio Medeiros Jr, he has also written the first book on a modern-day fantasy vampire.
            Braulio Tavares ( who is more a translator, poet, and critic ) has written a book called A Máquina voadora who is definitely low fantasy.
            Both Flávio and Braulio are however more identified with science fiction.

            There are many authors writing fantasy here based on the Brazilian folklore or Tolkien/Martin derivatives.

            Going back to my childhood, two of my favorite ones are "Aventuras de Xisto" and possibly my favorite book as a kid "o caso da Borboleta Artiria," which is very innovative. These
            two have been written by Lucia Machado de Almeida.

            In the same collection, we have many fantasy works, and I recall this, O Mistério dos Morros Dourados, by Francisco Marins, because the author is from my hometown.

            The collection of books: https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9rie_Vaga-Lume

            One of the most well-known Brazilian fantasy authors is Monteiro Lobato but much of his works depict racism so I would take his books with a grain of salt, a real huge grain of salt of the size of the moon. But still, as kids, we watched the TV adaptions which were good.

            I actually thank you for this, I need to go after the author Lucia Machado de Almeida because she has been instrumental in making me a reader.

            artiria.jpgdrag.jpghomens.jpgvap.jpgescara.jpgxisto.jpgmaqui.jpgsag.jpg
            Attached Files
            "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
            "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

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            • #7
              Nice cover illustrations :) None of these, except Borges and Casares, are translated to English right? I need to learn more languages! It's great anyhow to know that the fantasy scene in Brazil is thriving!

              Your post just reminded me of the Dedalus Book fantasy anthologies. I think I have the one featuring Portuguese Fantasy somewhere on my shelves. But as far as I can recall most of the stories were closer to gothic fiction than fantasy, unfortunately. Link: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1873982666

              I did some quick research on Jules Verne. Wikipedia credits him as the inventor of steampunk. And he did write some kind of adventure stories, although they are of course totally different from the sword and sorcery tradition. Still maybe he's worth a closer look.

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              • #8
                I gotta confess I forgot that Verne wasn’t British. My bad. I do read him. He’s great.

                some consider him the father if steam punk. Some say that’s Mary Shelley. I think Warlord of the Air was the first alternate timeline where technology developed in a different direction, which lots of steam punk uses today, but I’m not an expert on the genre so I can’t say for sure. But I’ve heard that.
                "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
                --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post
                  Nice cover illustrations :) None of these, except Borges and Casares, are translated to English right? I need to learn more languages! It's great anyhow to know that the fantasy scene in Brazil is thriving!

                  Your post just reminded me of the Dedalus Book fantasy anthologies. I think I have the one featuring Portuguese Fantasy somewhere on my shelves. But as far as I can recall most of the stories were closer to gothic fiction than fantasy, unfortunately. Link: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1873982666

                  I did some quick research on Jules Verne. Wikipedia credits him as the inventor of steampunk. And he did write some kind of adventure stories, although they are of course totally different from the sword and sorcery tradition. Still maybe he's worth a closer look.
                  I read one of Eça de Queiroz books to the college entrance test ( vestibular ) and it was pretty good. He has some fantasy stories I think. People often compare him and Machado de Assis, but the latter is far more boring in terms of plots and characters.

                  You may find some o Guimaraes Rosa books in English but I think they are for millionaires ;-)
                  https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Backlan...p%2C359&sr=1-1 ( 950,00 dollars )

                  I have just bought the complete works of Verne ebook. In Portuguese.
                  Last edited by zlogdan; 08-18-2020, 11:06 AM.
                  "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                  "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Angus series has sold very well here in Brazil

                    https://www.goodreads.com/author/sho...ndo_Paes_Filho

                    Orlando is another well-known fantasy author.
                    "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                    "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      After investigating the matter, I have found out that Rosa's novel Grande Sertão: Veredas is surprisingly translated to my native language (Danish). I just ordered it from the library. I also came across an anthology of Latin-American fantasy fiction in translation including short stories by Rosa, Borges, Asturias, Cortazar, Márques, Fuentes, Ruan Rulfo, and others. Thanks for the recs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post
                        I actually just read Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers, it's a great book. But I am looking for recommendations of non-English fantasy rather than science fiction. SF seems to be a much more international genre, arguably its origin can be traced to France, with the likes of Jules Verne? I am curious why it is so hard (also for myself) to find any good examples of fantasy writers outside America and the UK.
                        For the Strugatskys I was thinking less Roadside Picnic, more Hard to Be a God which, though SF, is set on a world with a medieval level culture. There's also Monday Begins on Saturday which is about a research institute for wizardry and sorcery.

                        Calvino has The Cloven Viscount, The Non-existent Knight and Baron in the Trees, while Lem's Mortal Engines is robot fairytales and The Cyberiad is similar.

                        There's also that Hexer/Witcher series out of Poland and the Nightwatch and Daywatch books out of Ukraine.

                        Of perhaps especial interest to this forum is Shadow Prowler by Russian author, Alexey Pehar. I've seen a number of reviews comparing it to the Elric series. And one of the book's blurbs says Pehar has the "wry voice of a young Moorcock".

                        Other fantasy not-UK/US fantasy novels that have caught my attention include Taduno's Song by Odafe Atogun and Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. There's also Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, but since she's South African I'm not sure if you'd consider her UK descended or something.

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                        • #13
                          More books to seek out... thanks!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post
                            More books to seek out... thanks!
                            I cannot recommend enough Cawthorne & Moorcock’s book The 100 Best Fantasy. Not only is it an insight into what influenced Mike, but it’s a great history of the development of fantasy trends. It has created a great bucket list for me.
                            "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
                            --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My daughter and I enjoyed reading Astrid Lindgren's Ronia, the Robber's Daughter.

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