Capricon Follow-Up: International SF/F panel

At Capricon, I did a panel on International SF/F with James Bacon. The audience asked us to post lists, notes, etc. Here is what we cobbled together from our discussion.  Thanks, James, for writing all of this up!

James’ notes:

We were asked to discuss International Science Fiction, feel free to recommend people if you like, there is no real order here, initially we seemed by accident to be going by geographical area, and one can see that we definite gaps in our knowledge but it was a panel and suggestions and input from the floor were fairly spontaneous.

First up from Australia, was Tansy Rayner Roberts, her collection Love and Romanpunk from Twelfth Planet Press – ,  Sue Isle –Nightsiders also from Twelfth Planet press,  who wrote post apocalyptic stories of note.  Karen Miller, whose novels have been Published in the US and Shaun Tan and his illustrated stories were all mentioned.

The World Sf Blog ( was highly recommended as people promoting non Anglo/American-centric SF. The work of Charles A. Tan was complimented.

Writer Dean Frances Alfar from the Philippines who had a story, “Simon’s Replica,” reprinted in Apex Magazine from his collection How To Traverse Terra Incognita was spoken well of.

Lavie Tidhar from Israel, who also has a hand in the World SF Blog, was highly reccomended for Osama and also his short science fiction available on various sites was mentioned including “Fascism for Nice People” .

 Nir Yaniv, another Israeli, was mentioned; his story “Undercity.” also appeared in Apex.

Tang Fei, from China, has a story translated by Ken Liu forthcoming in Apex. The importance of a good translation was mentioned and then  Xia Jia, “A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight” which is on Clarkesworld Magazine stemmed from that discussion.

Karen Lord’s  Redemption in Indigo, some fine SF from Barbados came up.  South African Lauren Beukes, who as well as writing Moxyland and Zoo City has preseneted a  BBC World Service 25 minute programme about SF and Africa. James read some quotes from Lauren Beukes, from The South African Times and Something Wicked.

Spec fic in particular, SL Grey’s The Mall is a dark and wonderfully disturbing horror set in a Joburg mall (and the sequel, The Wards, set in Baragwanath has just been announced), Lily Herne’s zombie apocalypse YA set in Cape Town, Deadlands, is just fantastic, wry and smart and dark and funny with a sly satirical edge. Adeline Radloff’s Sidekick is a fast-paced superhero YA with heart about the teen girl sidekick to a tormented time-travelling hero, set in Cape Town. And Andrew Saloman just got short-listed for the Terry Pratchett prize!’

Sam Wilson and Charlie Human (who both contributed chapters to Zoo City) have just finished their novels as part of the MA in Creative Writing and I’m really looking forward to them landing a publishing deal, because I’ve read both and they’re fantastic!

In general fiction, I’d recommend Kgebetli Moele’s Room 207, Mike Nicol’s Blackheart, Zukiswa Wanner’s Men of the South, Sifiso Mzobe’s Young Blood, Deon Meyer’s 13 Hours, Sarah Lotz’s Exhibit A, Margie Orford’s Daddy’s Girl, Fiona Snycker’s Trinity Rising. And I know I’m leaving a ton of great books out. South African fiction has never been  exciting or diverse.

I mean, Deon Meyer’s Thirteen Hours was riveting, I couldn’t put it down, it’s an amazing thriller, and SL Grey’s The Mall was just horrifying and terrifying. I never read Chick-Lit but Fiona Snyckers’s books Trinity Rising and Trinity on Air are just fabulous and fun and smart and they’ve got a nasty little satirical edge and they get a dig in on social issues.”

Also mentioned:

New Zealander Karen Healey’s YA novel  The ShatteringHenrietta Rose also from South Africa was mentioned.

Nnedi Okorafor came up as a writer who is an American of  Nigerian descent,  and for whom both cultures feature prominently in her work. Her book Who Fears Death which won the World Fantasy award was discussed, along with her YA The Shadow Speaker was mentioned.  (Lynne, who loves Nnedi’s work, went on for ages while James listened, happily.)

Yoon Ha Lee‘s “The Battle of Candle Arc” was a chance for Lynne to listen as James raved about this work. Yoon Ha Lee is American Korean.

Aliette de Bodard French writer of Vietnamese descent; her short story”Immersion” in Clarkesworld was mentioned. This has been nominated for a BSFA award.

Anton Marks – British of Caribbean descent and his work Days of Dredd was menytioned, James went on a bit about this futuristic thriller, and how Marks seems to fall outside of the usual SF circles, his launches being so distinctive.

Samit Basu from India and his work Turbulence a Superhero story set in India and London was talked about, as was Hannu Rajaniemi  ( who is  Finnish and his novel The Quantum Thief, and Swede Nene Ormes  all were mentioned.

Isabelle (in the audience) asked about Spanish, Latino, or South American SF/F, but Lynne had little to suggest other than Gabriel Garcia Marquez was suggested, along with mentions of  Isabelle Allende and Jorge Luis Borges , but really James wished more research had occurred there, on his part. Suggestions welcome in the comments to work on this part of the listing!

James was meant to mention Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saved the World) which is a 1982 Turkish-made adventure movie commonly known as Turkish Star Wars because of its notorious use of unauthorized footage from Star Wars worked into the film, but forgot, which may not have been a bad thing all round.

Eastern European and Russian writers –  Ekaterina Sedia‘s Steampunkesque novel Alchemy of Stone and  The Secret History of Moscow were mentioned,  as was Sergei Lukyanenko‘s Night Watch series and Serb Zorin Zivkovic who was highly  recommended in Rich Horton’s anthologies.

There was mention of ‘In the Red’ a polish story, that flummoxed us and James regretted not mentioning  The Ultimate Threshold a Soviet Science Fiction anthology translated by Mirra Ginsburg.

Finally mentioned was Cosmos Latinos  An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America and Spain edited by Andrea Bell and Yolanda Molina-Gavilan.

At that point, the panel ran out of time!

Suggestions to add to the list are most welcome.




About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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