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Asian Science Fiction & Fantasy: The Essential Reading List (2016)

Recommendations from Niall Harrison, Nisi Shawl, Jaymee Goh, Indra Das, Anil Menon & Others

Asian SF - Essential Reading List

What are some of the most successful examples of Asian SF—speculative fiction by an Asian author or those with a meaningful connection with Asia? Based on recommendations by leading speculative authors and editors, we’ve created an open list on our Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy group here on Facebook.

Niall Harrison (@niallharrison), Editor-In Chief for Strange Horizons:

Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho (collection) (Website)
Tokyo Cancelled by Rana Dasgupta (collection)
Zero by Huang Fan (novella)
UFO in Her Eyes by Xiaolu Guo (novel)
Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee (collection) (Website)
Yukimi Ogawa’s short stories (uncollected) (Online)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (novel)
The Man with the Compound Eyes by Wu Ming-Yi (novel)
Cat Country by Lao She (novel)
Distances by Vandana Singh (novella)
City of Devi by Manil Suri (novel)
The Arrival by Shaun Tan (graphic novel)
Mu Shi Shi by Yuki Urushibara (manga)

Nisi Shawl (@NisiShawl), award-winning author, and co-editor of Stories for Chip:

The Life Cycle of Software Products, and Stories of Your Life, both by the incredible Ted Chiang
All the short stories of Henry Lien (uncollected) (Website)
The King’s Last Song by Geoff Ryman (novel)
The Devourers by Indrapramit Das (novel)
Of Tales and Enigmas by Minsoo Kang (collection)
Hard-boiled Wonderland by Haruki Murakami (novel)
When Fox Was a Thousand by Larissa Lai (novel)
Mothers and Other Monsters by Hiromi Goto (collection)
The Sea Is Ours by Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng (anthology)

Jaymee Goh (@jhameia), writer, editor and “steampunk postcolonialist”:

“Excerpt from the Letter of a Socialist-Realist Aswang” by Kristin Mandigma (story) (Online)
Alternative Alamat, edited by Paolo Chikiamco (anthology)
Cyberpunk Malaysia, edited by Zen Cho (anthology)
Scale Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (novella) (Website)

Indrapramit Das (@IndrapramitDas), the author of The Devourers and consulting editor for Juggernaut:

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (novel)
Things We Found During the Autopsy by Kuzhali Manickavel (collection) (Website)
Escape From Baghdad! by Saad Z. Hossain (novel)
Usman T. Malik’s novellas and short fiction (among them “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family,” and “Ishq”) (Website)
Alyssa Wong’s short fiction (among them “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”) (Website)
Aliette de Bodard’s short fiction and novellas (among them “Immersion” and “On a Red Station Drifting”) (Website)
Gameworld trilogy; Turbulence and Resistance by Samit Basu (novels)
Other People by Mimi Mondal (collection) (*available in India only)
Half of What I Say by Anil Menon (novel)
The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet by Vandana Singh (collection) (Website)

Anil Menon (website), the author of Half of What I Say:

A Flowering Tree & Other Oral Tales by AK Ramanujan (anthology) (Online)
The Tale Of The Old Fisherman: Contemporary Urdu Short Stories by Memon (anthology), which contains speculative stories by Urdu writers Surendra Prakash, Khalida Asghar (Hussein), Hasan Manzar and Naiyar Masud.
All About H. Hatterr by G. V. Desani (novel)
A Long Day’s Night by Pradip Ghosh (novel)
Ela: The Girl Who Entered The Unknown by Sampurna Chatterji (novel)
Inspector Matadeen On The Moon & Other Stories by Harishankar Parsai (trans from Hindi by C. Naim) (collection includes SF stories)

For writers, Anil recommends these “brave failures”:

The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh (novel)
The Last Jet-Engine Laugh by Ruchir Joshi (novel)
River of Gods by Ian McDonald (novel)
The Virgin Fish Of Babughat by Lokenath Bhattacharya (novel)
Scourge From The Skies by Param Jit Kumar (novel)
The Lamp And The Jar by Krishna Rayan (essays)
More Than Real: A History of the Imagination in South India by David Shulman

Others:

Story of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (collection)
The Buried Giant and Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (novels)
Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin ((trilogy)
Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (novella) (Online)
Sadeq Hedayat’s stories, including “Abunasr Rock” and “The Serum of Sterility”
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu (collection) (Website)
Paradise Tales by Geoff Ryman (collection)
John Chu’s stories (uncollected) (Website)
Indra Das’s short stories (uncollected) (Website)
Priya Sharma’s stories (uncollected) (Website)
“Into the Night” by Anil Menon (short story) (Online)
“Liminal Grid” by Jaymee Goh (short story) (Online)

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This list is just a beginner’s guide; it is not definite or complete. If you want to make a recommendation, please leave a comment here on our discussion thread on Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, you could always mail us your recommendations. Thanks!

Update: We’re open to submissions for our Asian SF – Double Issue (July/August) through July. See details.

Salik Shah
Salik Shah is the founding editor of Mithila Review. His poetry, fiction and nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s Science Fiction and Juggernaut, among other publications. You can find him on Twitter: @Salik Website: salikshah.com