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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Best Non-European Fantasy (Poll Nominations Needed)

What is the best non-European fantasy?

Let's face it, most fantasy is pretty darned Euro-centric. King and queens, lords and ladies, knights and peasants, sylvan glades and thick forests, lots of armor, broad swords, cavalry (and chivalry), and sieges that demonstrate a castle's nearly indomitable defensive power given the weaponry of the day. But what about the fantasy in distinctly non-European settings. Mezzo-American? Japanese? Indian? Some great fantasy exists in these settings as well.

The Rules

1- Your nomination can be a single book or a series, but it has to take place primarily in a non-European setting. A "European setting" or "non-European setting" doesn't have anything to do with actually being IN EUROPE. Dragonlance takes place in a world called Krynn that has never even heard of Earth or Europe, but it is very European styled fantasy. 

As always, I leave definitions up to your best judgement because I'd rather be inclusive. However please consider that this is a call for distinctly non-European fantasy. Not simply a transfer of all the modern tropes into a place "with lots of sand." Or an incredibly European fantasy looking setting that happens to be another planet. 

2- Your reasons for choosing the book/series can be because you love the setting or because you love the plot and characters that happen to BE in a non European setting. It is entirely up to you.

3- You may nominate two (2) books/series. (Remember that I am a horrid and unyielding power hungry monster here at Writing About Writing. To encourage reading and reading comprehension I will NOT take any books or series beyond your second nomination.) If you nominate more than two, I will only take your first two and consider any beyond that to be "pre-seconding" for a future nomination. 

4- You may (and should) second as many nominations of others as you wish. No books/series will be going on to our poll that doesn't get at least one second.

5- Please put your nominations here. I will take books nominated as comments to this post on other social media; however, they may not get the seconds you need because no one will see them.

This call for nominations is late (it's already the 7th) so please hurry and expect the last call early next week and the poll to go up in just over a week from today.

61 comments:

  1. N.K. Jemisin, Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

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  2. Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn

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  3. The Nihon Shoki - much, if not all of Japanese creation mythology is catalogued here - much of which has shaped contemporary fatasy tropes in the late 20th century and today.

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  4. Empire Trilogy by Feist & Wurts. Daughter/Servant/ Mistress of the Empire. Vaguely Japanese in feel, with a female protagonist to boot! Tells the other side of the Riftwar series.

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  5. Empire Trilogy by Feist & Wurts. Daughter/Servant/ Mistress of the Empire. Vaguely Japanese in feel, with a female protagonist to boot! Tells the other side of the Riftwar series.

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    1. I am, apparently, incapable of posting only once.
      this is Truth.

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    2. Second! (plus it sates my need to try and figure out how to nominate Riftwar)

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  6. Empire of the Petal Throne, which is awesome India + Mesoamerica.

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  7. Monkey and The Monk (Journey to the West is the other title)

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  8. The Will of the Empress, Tamora Pierce

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  9. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

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  10. "Haroun and the Sea of Stories," by Salman Rushdie.

    "There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name."

    http://www.thegrid.org.uk/learning/english/ks3-4-5/ks3/writing/sow/documents/StoryopeningHarounandtheSeaofStories.doc

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    1. Seconded - this is one of my favourite read-aloud books from my childhood :D

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  11. Earthsea series. Very island-culture, though not recognisably a Terran island culture, and one of the best fantasy series of all time by any metric.

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  12. "Master Li and Number Ten Ox" by Barry Hughhart

    "Rusalka" Trilogy by CJ Cherryh

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  13. "Alif the Unseen", by G. Willow Wilson. It mixes cyberpunk with djinns in an unspecified Arab Emirates during the Arab Spring.

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    1. Such an enthusiastic second of this!

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  14. "Lord of Light" by Zelazny is arguably fantasy (depends how you draw the line), it's rooted in Indian religion and mythology, and it's an excellent story.

    Stan Sakai's "Usagi Yojimbo" doesn't count as a book, does it? It's certainly a series, but screen stories can also be series, and I imagine that you mean stories which work as text-only and don't depend on illustrations.

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    1. Second "Lord of Light".
      Technically sci-fi, but Zelazny is fuzzy at best. Plus it's one of the great books.

      Second "Usagi Yojimbo"
      Chris hates funny books. He said so. Out loud. Won't ever let them befoul one of his polls.

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    2. I don't HATE them. I think they are their OWN art form. Text with pictures is fine. Text dependent on pictures is a slightly different art form.

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    3. See? Right there! "HATE" in all caps, even. Chris hates everything that is good and pure in the world.

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  15. The (Tsurani) Empire Trilogy by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts

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  16. The Fox Woman and Fudoki, series by Kij Johnson.

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    1. Second The Fox Woman. *Love* Kij Johnson

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  17. Nation by Terry Pratchett because, though its prologue is in Europe, the rest of the novel is set on an island and is told from the perspective of a young native boy. It's not the kind of fantasy the list is looking for... it's an alternate history but it's still technically fantasy. The idea of suggesting it won't leave me alone and it's brilliant. So, yeah. Nation.

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  18. Kiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono. Also I'll second Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid/The Kane Chronicles. For a white cis het man, Riordan writes diverse characters pretty well. The best part, I think, is that he seems to improve at it over the course of his writing career.

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    1. Second Kiki's Delivery Service


      --CM Scott

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    2. I had NO idea this was a book. What a marvelous discovery!

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  19. Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. Set in Chicago (primarily) though the final book in the series is yet to come out (I hear it's coming next year?).

    And I'll third any of Rick Riordan's work.

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  20. Nnedi Okorafor - Who Fears Death. Excellent book, set in a post-apocalyptic Sudan: sorcery and myth and desert landscapes and social commentary.

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    1. Never heard of her/him, but a quick Google and damn, they sound awesome. Adding to my list. Thanks for the rec.

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    2. Third. Excellent book, this.

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  21. I'm really enjoying skulking in the comments to find more non-European fantasy. (Alif the Unseen especially intrigues me.)

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. This is half the reason I run these polls. It's so great for my to-be-read list!

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  22. MacAvoy's "Tea With The Black Dragon" and its sequel "Twisting The Rope." Maybe her "The Grey Horse," too, because though it's set in Europe / Ireland, it's not a European fantasy in the way you describe.

    Heck, anything by MacAvoy. Damn, she's good.

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  23. Cat Valente, The Orphan's Tales Duology :)

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    1. Oh, and for N.K. Jemisin, I would rather see anything BUT 100K Kingdoms - her other two series are better I think. (Dreamblood, Fifth Season)

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    2. Agreed about Jemisin!

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    3. Seconding The Orphan's Tales.

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  24. Biopunk Thailand from Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl."

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  25. Holy crap I can't believe no one has nominated The Summer Prince (Alaya Dawn Johnson) yet! I'm hoping this means there are a bunch of people who are about to discover it FOR THE FIRST TIME, because it's so wonderful. Think futuristic Brazil and CRAZY PANTS politics and young passionate artists getting all up in said crazy politics.

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  26. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
    Signal to Noise by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

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  27. The City of Stairs and The City of Swords by Robert Jackson Bennet. They are a fascinating mix of Indian and Russian flavor.

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  28. Godspeaker trilogy by Karen Miller. Interesting examination of blind faith in religion and good intentions gone bad

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