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SkepticJ
2010-Feb-21, 02:20 AM
Looking for recommendations of SF that is set on Earth, but in places other than Western Europe, The States, etc.

Ideally I'd like them set in India, China and Southeast Asia.

I've already read The Diamond Age, set mostly in China, and know of The Fountains of Paradise, which takes place in part on Sri Lanka.

EDG
2010-Feb-21, 03:53 AM
Try pretty much every SF anime set on Earth... they're all set in japan ;).
(Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a good series to start with)

Or were you just looking for books?

tdvance
2010-Feb-21, 05:16 PM
This is a silly answer: but the lyrics to Mr. Roboto is a very short SF-ish story that gave me the few Japanese words I know.

But, AC Clarke lived in....I forgot where now, Sri Lanka? for a while, so you could look at some of his fiction which is sometimes at least partly set in Asia.

swampyankee
2010-Feb-21, 05:42 PM
Arthur C Clarke lived in Sri Lanka for about 60 years. I'm not sure what influence that had on his sf.

About the only "non-western" SF I've ever read is Inter Ice Age IV, by Kōbō Abe. I'm sure there's more, but (except for manga), non-US/UK/Australia/Canada SF is not readily available in the US.

parallaxicality
2010-Feb-21, 05:51 PM
Probably the best known non-Western sf author is Stanislaw Lem, who wrote Stalker and Solaris.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Feb-21, 06:56 PM
Stalker was the Strugatski brothers. Russian, not Polish.

And you're forgetting Karel Čapek (Czech) who coined the word Robot in the play R.U.R.

Rue
2010-Feb-21, 07:14 PM
If you don't mind anthologies, I find it the best way to learn about the different ways that scifi concepts are used by different cultures. For example Japanese scifi stories seem "unfinished" by western standards, the stories just seem to suddenly end. I also liked cold war Soviet scifi, which one might think to be full of propaganda but actually reads just like American pulp adventure works from the same era.

You might want to see:

The Best Japanese science fiction stories / edited by John L. Apostolou and Martin H. Greenberg. It is in most libraries and available from online booksellers.

For Chinese science fiction I just found this from Google Books (http://books.google.ca/books?id=A09kAAAAMAAJ&q=chinese+science+fiction&dq=chinese+science+fiction&ei=YYCBS4uSN4igzASm6PzkCg&cd=2) but don't know how good it is.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Feb-21, 07:21 PM
I would say the soviet era Russian SF had a general awareness of, and focus on, social structures and hierarchies that the western SF of the time missed.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Feb-21, 07:43 PM
The Japanese author Koji Suzuki is best known for his horror because his novel Ring and short story Dark Water were adapted as horror films.

But the Ring sequels (the novels Spiral and Loop, and the short story collection Birthday) are primarily SF, and the unrelated novel Paradise is fantasy. They are mostly set in Japan, but some sections visit other parts of the world.

The Strugatsky brothers' Roadside Picnic (filmed as Stalker) has been mentioned, but IIRC the novel was set in Canada.

The Thai author Somtow Sucharitkul (later writing as S.P. Somtow) wrote SF.

SkepticJ
2010-Feb-22, 02:09 AM
Try pretty much every SF anime set on Earth... they're all set in japan ;).
(Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a good series to start with)

Or were you just looking for books?

I love the Ghost in the Shell universe, but most of the other SF-anime set on Earth leaves me cold. Hooray, yet another post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo.

Akira's darn cool, though. I guess it helps being the first, and having great production value; you don't often see animation that looks that slick.

The fetish for twenty meter high, humanoid exoskeletons melee fighting gets old real fast.

SkepticJ
2010-Feb-22, 03:32 AM
Anyone read K. S. Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt?

novaderrik
2010-Feb-22, 03:35 AM
District 9 takes place in South Africa.

swampyankee
2010-Feb-22, 03:59 AM
Anyone read K. S. Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt?

Great book, but not exactly a laugh riot.

Jens
2010-Feb-23, 10:58 AM
And there are some books that have different settings. One SF-ish book I read recently was Idoru by William Gibson, which IIRC took place in a bunch of places.

tnjrp
2010-Feb-23, 11:54 AM
Well, for a few recommendables that come immediately to mind... Robert Charles Wilson's The Chronoliths and Spin have significant portions set in Thailand, IIRC the former almost exclusively; Ian McDonald's River of Gods is set in India; Ian Stewart's and Jack Cohen's The Wheelers have portions set in China, tho the most used Earth location IIRC is Africa and a lot of it is set in space anyway; and of course Johanna Sinisalo's Troll is set in Finland -- which is nowhere near China or India, obviously :)

vonmazur
2010-Feb-23, 07:03 PM
Guys: If you want some ancient stories that are heavily influenced by Chinese Culture, try the works of Cordwainer Smith,(Dr. Paul Linebarger) who lived in China in the 30's and 40's and was fluent and turned the Chinese influence into some of the best Sci Fi ever.....Imaginative and quite original, the current crop of writers are still influenced by his works today...(ie: Scanners Live in Vain vs Aztecs, inter alia..)

Dale

redshifter
2010-Feb-23, 07:09 PM
I read the Chung Kuo series of novels by David Wingrove. They do spend probably 80% of the time in W. Europe. However, the synopsis of the novels is that in the late 22nd/early 23rd century, China has taken over the world and is the overwhelmingly dominant culture worldwide, to the point of rewriting history to make it appear that China had always been dominant. Thus, there are many Chinese cultural influences, and 'Western' culture is diminished. Great series of books IMO, very detailed, great characters, and yet broad in scope. Best series of novels I've ever read, better than Dune IMO.

SolusLupus
2010-Feb-23, 07:17 PM
Wait. There were many Chinese cultural influences in the real world. Gunpowder, toilet paper, rudders for ships, the beginnings of the printing press... and then there's the Silk Road, which spread Buddhist and Daoist ideas through much of the world, even into the middle east.

Jens
2010-Feb-24, 04:03 AM
and then there's the Silk Road, which spread Buddhist and Daoist ideas through much of the world, even into the middle east.

I don't know if you just slipped (because Buddhism is not originally from China) or whether you are referring to Chinese interpretations and additions to Buddhism. In any case, the Silk Road worked both ways.

SolusLupus
2010-Feb-24, 04:05 AM
I don't know if you just slipped (because Buddhism is not originally from China) or whether you are referring to Chinese interpretations and additions to Buddhism. In any case, the Silk Road worked both ways.

No, it's not originally from China, but the ideas from India spread to China, and then China helped spread it further. So no, it wasn't a "slip" at all.

And of course it works both ways; nothing at all in my post implied otherwise. Nestorian Christianity spread to China, as did Islam (in fact, it did so shortly after the death of Mohammad).

But the way the previous statement was phrased, it seemed to actually imply that China didn't have much impact on the world, which is bull.

redshifter
2010-Feb-24, 04:48 AM
No, it's not originally from China, but the ideas from India spread to China, and then China helped spread it further. So no, it wasn't a "slip" at all.

And of course it works both ways; nothing at all in my post implied otherwise. Nestorian Christianity spread to China, as did Islam (in fact, it did so shortly after the death of Mohammad).

But the way the previous statement was phrased, it seemed to actually imply that China didn't have much impact on the world, which is bull.

If that's what you got out of my post, perhaps I used a poor choice of words, or you misinterpreted my post. I didn't intend to imply that China did not or does not have an impact in the world; but rather that in the series of books I mentioned, China's impact was so profound, no one even knew any other cultures ever existed.

SolusLupus
2010-Feb-24, 04:55 AM
I kind of thought that's what you meant, but the last part of your post was somewhat vague in that arena.

Anyways, I may have come off as more aggressive than I really was. I just like to bring up that China really did have more influence on the world than some people make it out to have. :)

LookingSkyward
2010-Feb-24, 05:39 AM
China, China... I've heard of that, some where... Just kidding, I have a deep respect for some of the contibutions of China to the world.

I vaguely remember reading a distinctly Indian sci-fi story, and I'm digging thru the piles and files (paper and ebooks) to see if I can find it - though my memory for books sometimes slips a bit.

Jens
2010-Feb-24, 05:55 AM
Anyways, I may have come off as more aggressive than I really was. I just like to bring up that China really did have more influence on the world than some people make it out to have. :)

It's certainly true that a lot of people aren't aware of the influence, so I definitely support the effort, even if the post you were referring to doesn't really seem to have made that statement. I recently read a very interesting book called When Asia Was the World. It's basically travel diaries that were written between about 500 and 1500 AD. It talks a lot about how widespread certainly cultural things were at that time (i.e. Islam, Buddhism, silk).

Graybeard6
2010-Feb-24, 07:03 AM
To get back to the OP, Mack Reynolds wrote a series set in North Africa Black Man's Burden; Border Breed Nor Birth; The Best Ye Breed. I always assumed he was African-American, but Wikipedia only mentions that he was a Socialist. I think I just puthim on my list to re-read.

swampyankee
2010-Feb-26, 10:42 PM
Would anyone count the wonderful works of Nalo Hopkinson as "non-western?"

Starfury
2010-Feb-27, 10:35 PM
The only things that come to mind are old movies with various degrees of cheese, like:

The Russian "Planeta Burg" (re-purposed by Western film makers into two films, "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet" and "Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women", the latter being the brainchild of Roger Corman and Peter Bogdanovich! The former starred Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue of "This Island Earth" fame and had Gary Kurtz (who went on to work on Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and the Dark Crystal) as the Production Manager. The latter features Mamie Van Doren).

The East German "A Distant Star" (re-purposed into "First Spaceship to Venus") and "Eolomea".

The special effects in these movies ain't exactly ILM, but if you like these kinds of movies like I do, you'll enjoy them.

@parallaxicality: Russian filmmaker Andrei Tartakovsky was responsible for the first film adapatation of "Solaris."

Paul Beardsley
2010-Feb-27, 10:51 PM
@parallaxicality: Russian filmmaker Andrei Tartakovsky was responsible for the first film adapatation of "Solaris."
Second. A TV film was made 4 years earlier.

Starfury
2010-Feb-27, 11:14 PM
I stand corrected. I was not aware of that.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Feb-27, 11:17 PM
I didn't know myself until a few weeks ago. I've viewed a couple of clips, which look interesting, but I don't know if the whole film is available.

LookingSkyward
2010-Feb-28, 06:56 AM
Ok, brain on line after a Saturday - very western authors, David Drake and Erick Flint - the Belisarius series - set as a sort fo sci-fi war between Constaninople and India. Drake really showing his historian roots, here, and I thoroughly enjoyed the stories. It actually got me digging into history, I now have a copy of Procopius' "Secret Histories' and the Anabasis on my pda.... I'm proud of my geekness :)

tnjrp
2010-Apr-07, 11:58 AM
Ooh, only just noticed McDonald has written a sequel (sorta anyway) to his set-in-India "post-cyberpunk" novel River of Gods, Cyberabad Days. You can probably tell I'm not one of the in-crowd when it comes to knowing about these things...