Which countries have richest science fiction and fantasy literature?

hitmouse

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In absolute or relative terms? I mean if there is a single published SF author in the Vatican City then that country would easily have the richest sf literature per head of population in the world.

The same probably goes for San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Kiribati, Bhutan.
 

Extollager

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Most of my favorite writers of fantasy were English, while I suppose most of my favorite writers of sf were Americans.

My hunch is that polls of favorite authors would show thousands of English-speaking people would agree with that. What polls of Russians or Japanese would show, I don't know.
 

Elckerlyc

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Only a small part of what gets publicized worldwide each year find its way to an English orientated publisher. SFF possibly even less so, considering its relatively small fan-base.
Turkestan could have a thriving scene of superb SFF writers and a fan-base that covers > 80% of the Turkestan's populace and which covers 49% of all publications nationwide. Its neighbor, Uzbekistan finds it rubbish, while Tajikistan has banned all things fantasy (which, in their view, includes science-fiction.)
OP's question is impossible to answer. At least without a thorough worldwide cataloging of all works SFF and national sales-figures.
 

Venusian Broon

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Only a small part of what gets publicized worldwide each year find its way to an English orientated publisher. SFF possibly even less so, considering its relatively small fan-base.
Turkestan could have a thriving scene of superb SFF writers and a fan-base that covers > 80% of the Turkestan's populace and which covers 49% of all publications nationwide. Its neighbor, Uzbekistan finds it rubbish, while Tajikistan has banned all things fantasy (which, in their view, includes science-fiction.)
OP's question is impossible to answer. At least without a thorough worldwide cataloging of all works SFF and national sales-figures.
Well put @Elckerlyc. Although, given also that SF tends to be a relatively small genre compared to the best selling books in most markets, even seeing sales figures may be irrelevant. Also 'richest' can lead to different interpretations, as @Guttersnipe pointed out.

To me it could mean a combination of 'breath', 'depth' and 'quality'. (Again all three terms need further definition :)) So in simple terms, perhaps, the country has many authors/creators of SF now and before, has a long history of producing it and that 'great' and 'good' works have come from the national scene. (Crivens, need further further definitions.) One can then possibly add in how much the SF of that country has impacted the overall Culture of the nation and the world, because that seems to be a yardstick that should be attached to 'richest'.

I will stick my hand up and say, because I am terrible at languages (my second language, that I really do enjoy, is mathematics.) I am mainly aware of English speaking markets....and even then I probably could only safetly navigate the UK and US ones.

So I do not feel qualified to answer the OP's question.
 
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BAYLOR

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This is a very good question and a tough one to answer .:unsure:
 

alexvss

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Russian and Chinese science fiction are ones to look at. They're not necessarily better, but they're different enough for you to take a breather from English-speaking SF.
 

Randy M.

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I'm dubious about claims that Magic Realism is really separate from fantasy and not a sub-genre. If I'm right, then Latin American countries developed a very rich foundation of fantasy during the 2oth century (if not before).
 

Mon0Zer0

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I'd say America. George Lucas must have the combined wealth of several smaller sci-fi nations alone.
 

The Big Peat

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Dealing solely in Fantasy, and dealing solely in size -

The white Anglosphere countries, China, and Japan

Largely due to English being the dominant language, save in China which is a huge market (I believe Jin Yong's Legend of the Condor Heroes has outsold Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring). Non-Anglosphere countries are pretty much doomed unless they have a tradition of getting content translated, which Japanense comics alone do.

Within the white Anglosphere -

The USA wins out by sheer size. Followed by the UK, followed by Canada, followed by Australia, followed by NZ and Republic of Ireland. Those are somewhat guesstimates based on the number of high prestige authors coming out of each country, but I'm pretty sure I'm right, and not coincidentally I've also listed them by population size too.

Outside the Anglosphere -

Measuring solely by big names making it into English language fiction, then Germany is the only one I can think of with two modern-ish ones (Heitz and Ende). Russian language does well, but not all the authors are Russian (Dyachenko is Ukranian, Petrosyan is Armenian).

The case of Magical Realism is a tricky one as a lot of its writers will tell you it's not, and who am I to argue? It is almost certainly the most successful Spec Fic non-English genres outside Wuxia and its offshoots, and Japanese comics.


Note that I haven't really addressed the numerous countries outside the white Anglosphere that use English in some official form. They are a tad outside my expertise and many authors from them have mixed identities. But the Philippines have Rin Chupeco and Kay Villoso; Jamaica has Nalo Hopkinson and Marlon James (although neither are considered fantasy first and foremost in terms of their whole career); various African countries are producing authors although I'd have to think hard and google more than I can be bothered to right now.
 

Abernovo

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I'm dubious about claims that Magic Realism is really separate from fantasy and not a sub-genre. If I'm right, then Latin American countries developed a very rich foundation of fantasy during the 2oth century (if not before).
Magical Realism is fantasy-adjunct, I'd say. I'd also argue that MR fed back in, and contributed to Urban Fantasy, in that it looked at traditions, and set tales in the socio-political zeitgeist of a specific area. Charles de Lint might be slightly more lightweight, but as one of the early UF writers, his books took a good look at urban decay issues in a cross-border region of Canada and the US.

I'm not qualified to answer, as I've not read nearly enough. Yes, Britain, Ireland, the US, and Canada have all good solid, and rich, SFFH (I'm going to include horror, due to crossover fiction and writers). Magical Realism is big in Latin America, but fantasy and horror are gaining traction, and Brazil has a burgeoning eco-punk scene.

Bulgaria has a small but respectable history of fantasy, and Magical Realism, with small amounts of sci-fi, but their literature has traditionally been more poetry-based. Very little is translated, though, so I'm only going on the books I was able to access whilst living there. The Czech Republic and Poland had science fiction early on, but less seems to get to the English language market now.

@alexvss has already mentioned Russia and China. I know Indian cinema produces sci-fi films, so that suggests literature there, as well. They have a good fantasy base, as they use religious motifs to explore normal people's actions in mystical settings. Within the same (much) broader region, both Malaysia and Indonesia are producing some sff literature of note.

However, a trend I've noticed are the rich literary strains coming from Nigeria, and its diaspora, and also the rising visibility of sff produced in the Middle East, and Muslim-majority countries of North Africa through to Southwest Asia. @A. S. Behsam knows more about that, though, as she is involved in the Iranian fiction scene, and internationally. Again, a diaspora writing in English has brought this more to my attention.

Which countries have the the richest literature? No idea, and it all depends upon individual criteria and taste anyway, so I don't think that it can truly be answered. Personally, I think we're all richer for having varied and diverse viewpoints feeding in, that we can borrow from, and build upon.
 

thatollie

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Most of my favorite writers of fantasy were English, while I suppose most of my favorite writers of sf were Americans.

My hunch is that polls of favorite authors would show thousands of English-speaking people would agree with that. What polls of Russians or Japanese would show, I don't know.

I would vote in the complete opposite direction. With my favourite American Speculative Fiction authors, I generally prefer their Fantasy work. And I just love British SF.
 

The Big Peat

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Magical Realism is fantasy-adjunct, I'd say. I'd also argue that MR fed back in, and contributed to Urban Fantasy, in that it looked at traditions, and set tales in the socio-political zeitgeist of a specific area. Charles de Lint might be slightly more lightweight, but as one of the early UF writers, his books took a good look at urban decay issues in a cross-border region of Canada and the US.

You'll find academics claiming that the translation of A Hundred Years of Solitude was key in sparking a resurgence in interest in Fantasy in the US in the 60s; it's influence goes deeper than just Urban Fantasy. And fwiw, a quick scan of de Lint's influences doesn't find any Magical Realism. But then it's the sort of idea that seems to happen over and over fairly organically.
 

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