Some of the best sci-fi by Asian authors is full of rich and diverse narratives, offering unique perspectives on the future and the human condition. With a mature history of speculative fiction and a rapidly growing contemporary scene, Asian science fiction is a dynamic and exciting area of the genre.
From the cerebral explorations of Liu Cixin to the philosophical narratives of Amitav Ghosh, Asian science fiction showcases a range of styles and themes that engage readers in thought-provoking ways. With a focus on technology, culture, and society, the best Asian science fiction pushes the boundaries of imagination and offers a compelling window into the future. Check out these popular Sci-Fi noels by Asian authors now!
By Liu Cixin
“The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin is a science fiction novel that won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015. The story follows the aftermath of China’s Cultural Revolution and the discovery of an alien civilization that poses a threat to humanity.
The protagonist, Ye Wenjie, is a scientist who witnesses the brutal murder of her father during the Cultural Revolution. She becomes disillusioned with humanity and joins a secretive organization that seeks contact with alien life. Years later, scientists discover that the alien civilization Ye contacted is on its way to Earth.
The novel explores the philosophical and ethical implications of the encounter with an alien civilization, as well as the challenges of communicating and understanding beings from a vastly different culture and evolutionary history. The plot is complex and thought-provoking, with unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader engaged.
Liu’s writing style is clear and concise, with vivid descriptions that immerse the reader in the story’s world. The characters are well-developed, with their motivations and actions grounded in their personal histories and beliefs. The novel also raises important questions about the role of science and technology in society and the consequences of pursuing progress without considering the long-term impact.
Overall, “The Three-Body Problem” is a fascinating and engaging novel that combines hard science fiction with social and philosophical commentary. It is a must-read for fans of the genre and anyone interested in exploring the implications of contact with extraterrestrial life
By Paolo Bacigalupi
Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl” is a dystopian novel set in Bangkok, Thailand in the 23rd century, where genetically modified organisms and biotechnology dominate. The book follows the story of a windup girl, an artificially created being designed to serve humans, as she navigates her way through a world that is hostile towards her kind.
Bacigalupi paints a vivid and imaginative picture of a world where technology and politics have gone too far, resulting in a society that is on the brink of collapse. His portrayal of Bangkok is particularly impressive, as he seamlessly blends futuristic and fantastical elements from the city with their real-life counterparts. The story is complex and thought-provoking, touching on themes such as colonialism, environmentalism, and the morality of biotechnology.
The book can be dense and difficult to follow at times, with a large cast of characters and a complicated plot. Additionally, some readers may find the use of Thai language and cultural references to be confusing or alienating.
Overall, “The Windup Girl” is a fascinating and thought-provoking read, with a well-crafted world and complex characters. While it may not be the easiest book to read, it is certainly worth the effort for those interested in science fiction or dystopian literature.
By Yoko Ogawa
In Yoko Ogawa’s “The Memory Police,” an island community is plagued by the disappearance of everyday objects and the memories associated with them. The narrator, a novelist, attempts to hold onto her memories while avoiding the clutches of the brutal and oppressive Memory Police.
Ogawa’s prose is hauntingly beautiful and effectively conveys the eerie atmosphere of the island. The exploration of memory and loss is poignant and thought-provoking.
Some readers may find the pace of the novel slow and the plot lacking in action. The characters, while well-developed, can also come across as passive and lacking agency.
Overall, “The Memory Police” is a beautifully written and thought-provoking exploration of memory and loss. Readers will be left pondering its themes long after finishing the book.
By Ken Liu
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is a collection of fifteen thought-provoking stories by Ken Liu. This book offers a unique blend of science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism. Liu’s writing style is compelling, with elegant prose and vivid imagery that transports readers to different worlds and times. The stories explore themes of identity, culture, and family, providing poignant and insightful commentary on the human experience.
One of the standout stories in the collection is the titular “The Paper Menagerie,” which explores the struggles of a young boy who is half-Chinese and half-American. Another notable story is “The Literomancer,” which follows a young girl who has the power to change reality with words.
The collection also includes a novella, “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” which deals with the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II.
There may be some readers who may find the collection to be uneven, with some stories standing out more than others. Additionally, while Liu’s writing is beautiful, it can at times be dense and slow-paced, making the book a challenging read in parts.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is a captivating collection that showcases Ken Liu’s incredible talent as a writer. While it may not be for everyone, those who appreciate thought-provoking stories that explore the complexities of the human experience will find much to enjoy in this book.
By Amitav Ghosh
In “The Calcutta Chromosome,” Amitav Ghosh deftly blends science fiction, history, and philosophy to create a compelling narrative. The novel centers around Antar, a computer programmer in New York City, who becomes obsessed with the life of Sir Ronald Ross, the man who discovered the cause of malaria.
Through Antar’s search for the truth about Ross’s life, Ghosh takes readers on a journey through time and space, exploring the complexities of colonialism, identity, and scientific discovery. The novel’s structure is intricate and sometimes confusing, but ultimately rewarding for those who persevere.
Ghosh’s writing is vivid and imaginative, transporting readers from the streets of Kolkata to the jungles of Southeast Asia with ease. The characters are complex and well-drawn, and the novel is filled with interesting ideas about the nature of memory, history, and the pursuit of knowledge.
The novel’s mix of genres and complex structure may not appeal to all readers. Additionally, the novel’s depiction of colonialism is somewhat simplistic and could benefit from a more nuanced approach.
Overall, “The Calcutta Chromosome” is an ambitious and thought-provoking work that showcases Ghosh’s formidable talent as a writer. It is a novel that will stay with readers long after they have finished it, and is recommended for anyone looking for a challenging and rewarding reading experience.
By Hannu Rajaniemi
In “The Quantum Thief,” Hannu Rajaniemi has crafted an imaginative and complex science fiction world that is both thrilling and thought-provoking. Set in a future where privacy is nonexistent and reality is malleable, the story follows master thief Jean le Flambeur as he is broken out of prison by a mysterious woman named Mieli. Together, they embark on a series of heists and adventures that take them across the solar system.
Rajaniemi’s writing is highly technical, with a heavy emphasis on quantum physics and cryptography. While this may be a turn-off for some readers, those who enjoy hard science fiction will appreciate the author’s attention to detail and the complex world-building that he has created. The characters are also well-drawn, with Jean and Mieli making for a compelling duo as they navigate the dangers of their world.
It must be noted that the novel is not without its flaws. The plot can be difficult to follow at times, with multiple timelines and realities overlapping and intertwining. Some readers may also find the sheer density of information overwhelming, as the author introduces a dizzying array of concepts and technologies. Additionally, the story’s focus on heists and action can sometimes come at the expense of character development, making it difficult to fully invest in the emotional stakes of the narrative.
The Quantum Thief is a challenging, but ultimately rewarding read for fans of hard science fiction. Rajaniemi’s vision of the future is both fascinating and unsettling, and his ability to weave together complex concepts into a coherent narrative is impressive. While it may not be for everyone, those who enjoy a good intellectual puzzle will find much to enjoy here.
We hope you like and enjoy these recommendations for innovative and highly imaginative science fiction. For our recommendations for other top science fiction reads, why not check out our top 7 Science fiction reads.
Alternatively, we also have a recommendations for soundtracks you may want to listen to, and most of those come from some of the greatest Sci-Fi movies and TV shows of all time!