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I can't find it August 17, 2012 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Can someone point me to a post (in ask.me I think) that featured examples of good science-fiction in non-Western Europe settings?

If I remember correctly the respondents listed some books set in Spain as well as other places and times. It may not have all been sci-fi examples, some may have been historical fiction.
posted by oddman to MetaFilter-Related at 11:42 AM (24 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

This one? It's more about fantasy.
posted by leesh at 11:44 AM on August 17, 2012


At first I thought it might be this but looking over it again maybe not ...
posted by brilliantine at 12:30 PM on August 17, 2012


This Ask requested Roman, Celtic, Sumerian, and Egyptian settings.

Here's one that was focused on Alt-Rome.
posted by amber_dale at 12:49 PM on August 17, 2012


Spain is not "non-Western Europe," so maybe the question wasn't quite what you thought it was.

Could it have maybe been this one?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:12 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Indirectly, this one comes to mind.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:38 PM on August 17, 2012


What a great question and great links! I've bookmarked the askmes and downloaded a ton of "free sample chapters". Thanks everyone!
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 5:33 PM on August 17, 2012


Thanks everyone, Leesh's link is the one I was thinking of, but, as Measured Out suggests, these are all gems.
posted by oddman at 9:34 PM on August 17, 2012


None of those lists mention Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, which is the first book that came to mind.
posted by painquale at 9:00 AM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't answer the question, but I'd like to take this opportunity to mention Ian MacDonald.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 9:54 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't have a lot of luck but you might try looking for any thread or post that mentions Ian McDonald, Greg Egan (Zendegi anyhow), Maureen McHugh, George Alec Effinger, or Paolo Bacogalupi, all of whom have written excellent sf works in non-Western European settings.

None of those lists mention Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, which is the first book that came to mind.

And also his new book, 2312, which I haven't read yet.
posted by aught at 10:30 AM on August 18, 2012


2312 is not in a non-western-Europe setting per se...it's in a far-future, mostly non-earth setting, with the most important scenes on earth taking place in Manhattan and New Jersey.
posted by Wylla at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2012


Two someones mentioned N.K. Jemisin in the thread that leesh linked, but I'd like to repeat and emphasize that recommendation. She's quite explicitly avoiding the medieval European milieu and she's a gifted writer of traditional fantasy.

It's kind of a hobby-horse of mine, but I am utterly thrilled at the parallel trends of critically deconstructing the Tolkien legacy and recreating epic fantasy without its (often offensive) Tolkien baggage. This represents a sea-change in the genre and hopefully a glorious creative rebirth.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:13 PM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The world of Tékumel created by M.A.R. Barker deserves a mention. Though best known as an RPG setting, he wrote five novels set in that world. It's an odd fantasy-as-SF (or SF-as-fantasy?) setting.
posted by fings at 8:48 PM on August 18, 2012


Oh great, another opportunity to plug one of my favorite SF novels: The Strugatski brothers' Definitely maybe. I'm not sure if it fits your criteria, since it's set in soviet Russia which, in the context of the novel, is only slightly different from western europe but it's definitely worth reading.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:24 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I cited a bunch of non-Western Europe sf here and here.
posted by languagehat at 7:51 AM on August 19, 2012


Huh. Two opportunities in as many hours to talk about how awesome Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction is.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:13 PM on August 19, 2012


I once read a pretty good sci-fi novel that was set mostly in outer-space. Does anyone know the name of that one?
posted by Winnemac at 7:35 AM on August 20, 2012


2312 is not in a non-western-Europe setting per se...it's in a far-future, mostly non-earth setting, with the most important scenes on earth taking place in Manhattan and New Jersey.
posted by aught at 8:11 AM on August 20, 2012


2312 is not in a non-western-Europe setting per se...it's in a far-future, mostly non-earth setting, with the most important scenes on earth taking place in Manhattan and New Jersey.

Sorry, just meant to apologize. I had remembered seeing a blurb describing it as being largely set in 24th-c. Africa. I must be confusing it with something else.
posted by aught at 8:12 AM on August 20, 2012


The main character spends a bit of time in Africa, and has a major revelation there, but the entire episode is summarized and described after the fact. Most of the book takes place on Mercury, Saturn, Venus, various inhabited asteroids, etc. It spends about as much time on Earth as Blue Mars.

Great book, but doesn't meet the brief here. Try The Years of Rice and Salt, which does.
posted by Wylla at 2:57 PM on August 20, 2012


Also Nnedi Okorafor is an excellent writer to check out, though many of her books are more fantasy than SF.
posted by Wylla at 3:01 PM on August 20, 2012


This thread is mostly about ethnicity in science fiction, but has some suggestions of books in non-Western settings thrown in...maybe that's the thread you are looking for?
posted by Wylla at 3:06 PM on August 20, 2012


Try The Years of Rice and Salt, which does.

Yes, that's a great book, though I have a feeling it might not fit the definition of science fiction for some MeFites.

Also, I realized this morning that I was conflating the advance blurbs for 2312 and Alastair Reynolds' forthcoming Blue Remembered Earth (might be spoilers on that Tor promotion page), whose main character is African and which is set a couple centuries in the future. (Since I understand that is the beginning of a series I probably will be waiting a bit to read it, however much I like Reynolds' sf - but it does fit the scope of this question.)
posted by aught at 6:24 AM on August 21, 2012


Are those Tekumel books even available anymore? I would love to read them sometime.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:45 PM on August 21, 2012


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