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Old 06-24-2013, 10:12 AM   #1
Tachikoma
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Non Western High Fantasy Recommendations?

Greetings!

The "$80 ebook" thread made me realise something, pretty much all fantasy novels I have read are grounded in western folkelore, wizards, witches, vampires, dragons, spired castles, knights, bar wenches, etc.

Does anyone have any recommendations for non-western high fantasy ebooks? for example as above, based on Indian folkelore/religion, or Tibetan, Mayan, Mongolian, etc etc? basically cultures that have less/little exposure in the west. Despite the controversy for example I really enjoyed Apocalypto as it showed (I have no opinion about it being faithful or not as my knowledge of it is poor) a culture that is largely ignored in modern media.

Thanks in advance

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Old 06-24-2013, 10:19 AM   #2
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Try Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light. It is based on Indian Folklore, but is more Sci Fi Fantasy Than straight fantasy. It won the 1968 Hugo Award and is a great read. It is my favorite Zelazny book. Unfortunately, the last time I checked it is not available as an eBook.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky trilogy. Two books are published and the third is due in 2014.

Also check out Bradley P. Beaulieu, Saladin Ahmed, and/or Nnedi Okorafor.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:40 AM   #4
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A number of George Alec Effinger's books are set in non-Western settings (When Gravity Falls, A Fire in the Sun, The Exile Kiss).

Kameron Hurley's The Bel Dame Apocrypha series

Saladin Ahmed's The Throne of the Crescent Moon
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:55 AM   #5
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In case you are not from Japan (which your name would suggest )you should for sure try
Akinari Ueda's Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales of Moonlight and Rain)
Also Akutagawa Ryunosuke's Kappa and his other short stories
You might also be interested in Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

I also like Miyazawa Kenji's Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru (named in English as Milky Way Railroad/Night Train to the Stars/Fantasy Railroad In The Stars) though many think it's for children...

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Old 06-24-2013, 11:03 AM   #6
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Brilliant, thanks for the prompt replies everyone!

@jmilica, sadly not Japanese, just a lover of it's culture and history, so thanks for the Japanese recommendations!
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:08 AM   #7
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There are the 1001 nights tales. Vol. 16 of the Harvard Classics contains the text.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
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The Bridge of Birds and its sequels by Barry Hughart are based in China.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:26 PM   #9
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+1 on Bridge of Birds.

At least one of Terri Windling's ``Fairy Tale'' books have non-Occidental settings --- Kara Dalkey's _The Nightingale_ is set in Japan.

T.C. Rypel wrote a series of books about ``Gonji'', a half-caste Samurai which make their way towards Europe (not sure if they ever get there or no)

Judith Tarr's _Alamut_ primarily takes place in the Middle East.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
There are the 1001 nights tales. Vol. 16 of the Harvard Classics contains the text.
Not really. It contains a tiny selection of the tales only. Richard F. Burton's unexpurgated version of 1885 numbers 16 substantial volumes (though they contain very lengthy footnotes and additional essays) and the 2008 Penguin Classics translation has 3 volumes and around 3000 pages.

In any case: One Thousand and One Nights is a wonderful collection of classic Arabic tales and well worth reading, although it isn't really high fantasy.
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Istvan diVega View Post
Not really. It contains a tiny selection of the tales only. Richard F. Burton's unexpurgated version of 1885 numbers 16 substantial volumes (though they contain very lengthy footnotes and additional essays) and the 2008 Penguin Classics translation has 3 volumes and around 3000 pages.

In any case: One Thousand and One Nights is a wonderful collection of classic Arabic tales and well worth reading, although it isn't really high fantasy.
There is a reason why some of the tales are missing from the book. Many of them are not meant for children.
Spoiler:
For example one tale has a young woman having an intimate relationship with both a slave and an ape. Another is about a man who goes on a long journey after having committed a social error (he had gas) and he leaves hoping people will forget about it. When he returns many yrs later (in disguise) he finds that it is a remembered date because a young woman asks her mother when she was born and her mother tells her she was born on the night that he had broken wind.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:15 PM   #12
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It's not some of the tales which are missing, but most of the tales. Nothing wrong with that, I simply wanted to point out that it does not "contain the text", if by text you meant "the full text".

Also none of them were meant for children, which is fairly evident if one reads the Burton translation. Most of the later translations are heavily sanitized and made to read like children's stories either by the Victorians or by prudish US publishers.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:22 PM   #13
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Kylie Chan's "Dark Heavens/Journey to Wudang" series are set in Hong Kong and environs, and involves the Chinese mythological pantheon. The book blurbs seem to play up the romance aspect but that's really just a subplot.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:47 AM   #14
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Some of the books recommended here, are set in non western world, but they are NOT High Fantasy. Not at all.

I recommend Fuyumi Ono's "Twelve kingdoms" [十二国記 in Japanese]. Tokyopop translated first 4 books in English, but there are fan translations online for the rest of the books. And if by any chance you read French, all are translated and published traditionally.

http://www.goodreads.com/series/4409...welve-kingdoms

Here's the setting of the books:
Spoiler:

The Twelve Kingdoms is a series of novels that focus on a world inspired by Chinese mythology, where twelve kingdoms exist under the rule of an individual chosen by the heavens. The series does not exclusively focus on one character, though the stories of Youko Nakajima, the protagonist of the first novel, and Taiki, the protagonist of the second book, are most prevalent in the series.The Twelve Kingdoms tells several stories from the world of the Twelve Kingdoms, located on several islands in another dimension accessible from our world through magic (though the other way around is normally impossible). On the islands, magic works and societies similar to classical China exist. While the inhabitants of the Twelve Kingdoms are aware of the existence of our world as the lands of Hourai (Japan) and Kunlun (China), the reverse is not true. The inhabitants of the kingdoms speak a different language than the language of our world, both of which can be learned by ether side. Only extraordinary circumstances can enable the two worlds to affect each other for certain periods of time.
In this world, there are a total of thirteen lands. At the center of the world lies the Koukai (the Yellow Sea) and Mt. Hou, where the Gods communicate their will to the twelve kingdoms of the world. Each of the Twelve Kingdoms possess their own ruler and its own Kirin, a divine creature which embodies the will of heaven and is entrusted to choose a kingdom's ruler. The ruler will have immortal life as long as he keeps the kingdom healthy and their heads are not severed from their body.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:09 AM   #15
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I was wondering when the pedantic subgenre distinction cops would show up.
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