научная фантастика
January 30, 2012 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for (translated to English) non-English Science Fiction/Fantasy/Odd fiction.

What I have read/am familiar with: Sergei Lukyanenko, Max Frei, Stanislaw Lem, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Yevgeny Zamyatin, of course Jules Verne. I know of Andreas Eschbach and Haruki Murakami but haven't read there stuff yet.

I understand there is some "franchising" (multiple authors over the series) runs in Russia, but not to interested in those.

Light or serious as long as it is decently written, for a given value of decent.

When recommending, a brief description would be appreciated.

Bonus points if available in e-book.
posted by edgeways to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Have you read Capek's play "Rossum's Universal Robots" AKA "R.U.R."? It was originally written in Czech.

He invented the word "robot", by the way.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:49 PM on January 30, 2012

You want Haikasoru.
posted by inkyz at 9:49 PM on January 30, 2012

There are quite a lot of Japanese Light Novels, including science fiction, which have been translated into English.

Some of the ones listed there: Code Geass is science fiction. Shakugan no Shana is fantasy.
Scrapped Princess is science fiction, surprisingly. Kino no Tabi is fantasy. Boogiepop Phantom is horror. Full Metal Panic is science fiction.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:56 PM on January 30, 2012

The Last Ringbearer (PDF)

The histories of wars are so often written from the perspective of the victors, and such is the case with Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings. However, back in 1999 in Russia, a paleontologist by the name of Kirill Eskov set about addressing the balance, taking up his pen in the name of orcs and goblins everywhere."*
posted by Blasdelb at 10:05 PM on January 30, 2012

The World SF Blog is a great resource.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:22 PM on January 30, 2012

Well, you've got Lukyanenko, Frei, and Zamyatin. Might as well add to the Russian preponderance with the Brothers Strugatsky. They are the Asimovs, Clarkes, and Heinleins of Soviet SF, and I think a number of their novels (which range from light to depressing) are available in English translation.
posted by Nomyte at 10:48 PM on January 30, 2012

Definitely Lukyanenko, also "Metro 2033" by Dmitry Glukhovsky
posted by alchemist at 12:45 AM on January 31, 2012

The Golden Age by the Czech writer Michal Ajvaz is an interesting book that is difficult to put in a nutshell. Its first half is a rather listless travelogue about the narrator’s sojourn on a semi-Utopian Atlantic island; while its (wonderful) second half comprises a series of extracts from that island’s foremost cultural artifact, simply known as ‘the book:’ ‘a handwritten, collective novel filled with feuding royal families, murderous sorcerers, and narrow escapes.’

Another novel by Ajvaz: The Other City, conjures up a richly surreal vision of Prague, and is also well worth reading (although it doesn’t seem to have a Kindle edition as yet).
posted by misteraitch at 6:26 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding the Brothers Strugatsky. Wonderful writing, very different from US/UK traditions.
posted by languagehat at 7:09 AM on January 31, 2012

Thirding the Strugatsky brothers. Other Russian authors you might like: Victor Pelevin, Vladimir Sorokin. Pelevin was a real literary superstar in the 1990s; his star has faded somewhat since then and he's started to repeat himself a lot, but his earlier works are still great. His works are a spectacular mixture of realistic and fantastic elements, but the lines between the two tend to become quite fuzzy, at least for the characters: in Generation P/Homo Zapiens, for example, the main character discovers that the politicians he's seen on TV day after day are actually computer animations; the character of Prince of Gosplan are lost in computer games etc.

Sorokin's novels are a different kind of weird. I think he's one of the most scandalous writers in Russia: his books have been burned (along with Pelevin's) by certain youth organizations, he's been accused of spreading pornography, etc. His works tend to be rather disturbing in their depictions of violence; even more disturbing are the things Sorokin does with classical Russian literature, brilliantly imitating the style of classical masters and then turning them into surrealist nightmares.
posted by daniel_charms at 7:54 AM on January 31, 2012

I loved the translated-from-German Night Work. It's about a guy who wakes up one day to find that everyone in the world has inexplicably vanished -- as he wanders Vienna trying to find what happened and ruminating on his life, he begins experiencing queer and frightening things he can't explain, that make him paranoid and question his sanity. Despite being a translation, it's very lucidly written, almost cinematic, and compelling despite the almost total absence of other characters. You can get an ebook version from Google Books for $8.66.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:05 PM on February 11, 2012

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