I am saddened that no one mentioned Wizard of the Crow. Although to be fair I've never heard of half of that list.
Yah, it's really good that the field has come along far enough that there's not an obvious short list everyone knows and then a silence.
I like David Mitchell's Ghostwritten--maybe though he's been exiled to lit land. And maybe the same is true of Amitav Ghosh, though I suspect a lot of people would like The Calcutta Chromosome--his other books probably not in this genre for sure.
Next question: What about Western fantasy by non-Westerners?
The Kalevala-derived series (which is Western, but not traditionally Franco-Germanic) that got referenced which folks could remember the titles of but not the author was written by Michael Scott Rohan, and the books were The Anvil of Ice, The Forge in the Forest, and The Hammer of the Sun.
I've only ever read The Anvil of Ice, and was obsessed with it as a teenager, but I kept on only being able to find The Hammer of the Sun, so I never actually finished reading the series.
Also, Dream Park and its two sequels (The Barsoom Project and California Voodoo Game)were co-written by Stephen Barnes, and each one deals with a non-western mythology structure (Polynesian Cargo Cults, the Inuit Mythos, and Voodoo, respectively).
What I didn't say when Dream Park got brought up during the panel is that all 3 mythologies have been folded, spindled and mutilated in order to make them work with the plots of various LARPs, and that layer of distance from the source material means that anything "learned" from reading said books should be taken with a shakerful of salt.
Interesting -- I wonder if I would classify Finnish material as Western. My knee-jerk reaction was not to, but I think that's because for some reason I defaulted to a linguistic taxonomy in my head; Finnish is not Indo-European, ergo is not like the rest of Europe, ergo is not Western. Which applies in some respects (Finnish folklore and mythology: not built on the same motifs as Germany, yo), and not in others (lots of historical ties to Norway and Sweden, influencing various aspects). It's just a reminder of how fuzzy and culturally-determined of a term "Western" is.
Right, well; as I said below to Jo, I made a fairly conscious decision to attempt to talk about books more than argue definitions. The idea that Russia existed in opposition (culturally or literally) to The West or that Poland was the last outpost of The West certainly exists in some circles (especially historical Polish ones!), but I knew that if we went there, we wouldn't spend time on a great many things that were indisputably non-Western and worth discussion.
Oh, certainly. It's the kind of argument that can easily go nowhere, and even if it does go somewhere it will use up a lot of panel time that could more profitably be spent elsewhere. I was just musing. :-)
Have you got The Anvil of Ice? Our library only has it in its system as a connection with a local high school, and they don't want to lend big monkeys things from there.
(It appears to have a good collection, though, so yay for the high school students and their opportunities to read stuff.)
I don't, though I see copies of it floating around the used bookstores around here periodically. I'll keep an eye out for it and its sequels.
The first thing I thought of when I thought of non-Western fantasy was that whole kitsune thing.
And we didn't mention Kij Johnson's work and probably should have. Yah.
It's the Eastern Church, seemed to be the person's logic, and therefore Eastern? If that was the case, we almost certainly should have done the Russia Vs. The West thing, but whatever; one of my goals of this panel was to focus more on talking about books than arguing definitions.
Haikasoru does fantasy, SF, and horror. I've only read their SF, but the fantasy and horror are in fact there.
2011-04-27 07:07 pm (UTC)
There's Michaela Roessner's Walkabout Woman in the aboriginal vein. One of my favorite under-loved authors.
The topic also makes me think of Kara Dalkey's eastern fantasies, the Blood of the Goddess series and her Mitsuko books in particular.
Alma Alexander's The Secrets of Jin-Shei.
Aaaaagh, I specifically meant to mention Alma Alexander, and I forgot.
Also: Michaela Roessner has a book I didn't know about? Really? Must go look!