Which countries have richest science fiction and fantasy literature?

Jo Zebedee

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We have an entire magical realism scene here that doesn't include any of the fantasists (even the ones writing MR) or make reference to any speculative writers at all. you couldn't make it up.
 

Mon0Zer0

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Last time I spoke to Diamond, France was the second biggest comics market in the world after Japan. At the London books fair in 2014 (last time i went) they had a stall from France which had some absolutely incredible top tier comics - only a tiny fraction of which gets translated into English (mostly through Humanoids as far as I can tell). Their comic shops are something else.

SF Basel in Switzerland and Angouleme are two of the premier sf / comic festivals in the world. Comiket in Japan attracts 750,000 (San Diego comic con attracts just 167,000).
 

Randy M.

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We have an entire magical realism scene here that doesn't include any of the fantasists (even the ones writing MR) or make reference to any speculative writers at all. you couldn't make it up.
One of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's inspirations was Ray Bradbury. Garcia Marquez is labelled a Magic Realist. Bradbury is mis-labelled an s.f. writer and self-labelled a fantasist.

Garcia Marquez features a guy with wings in a story and it's Magic Realism. Bradbury features a guy with wings in a couple of stories and it's fantasy.

I call Phooey!

Fantasy and MR feature the fantastic, though the approach to the fantastic differs; well, The Lord of the Rings differs from The Circus of Dr. Lao which differs from One Hundred Years of Solitude (though maybe not as much as LOTR differs from Lao) which differs from John Cheever's "The Swimmer" which differs from Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell ... Fantasy is a broad rubric, and I have yet to hear a compelling argument for why MR is envisioned as outside that particular circle of the literary Venn diagram, except that they boil down to literary politics and branding.
 

The Ace

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Having dabbled in some FSU stuff (Lem, and the Strugatsky brothers - thanks Gollancz Yellow Jackets) I've found this to be a little bleak, but the quality is unquestioned. I'd really like to see more of this type of hard SF, but considering my limited German (let alone my non-existent Russian) I'm stuck with what gets published in English (or French in a pinch), probably only a fraction of what's kicking around.

Remember, many consider Frenchman Jules Verne to be the, "Father of Science Fiction," rather than H. G. Wells
 

AllanR

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I have a hard time deciding between Mesopotamia and ancient Greece. On the one hand there is the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the other the Iliad and the Odyssey.
 

Ray Zdybrow

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I don't get this idea of Magic Realism being fantasy or fantasy-related. Surely it's showing a (nother) way of looking at OUR world rather than inventing a different world?
 

Elckerlyc

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I don't get this idea of Magic Realism being fantasy or fantasy-related. Surely it's showing a (nother) way of looking at OUR world rather than inventing a different world?
I agree. In my view Magic Realism is a literary tool to underline an aspect of the real world or the mental state of a character. The main story is situated in our world.
Fantasy creates its own world, solely as entertainment, whereby the plot wouldn't be possible in our world.
Both the setting and the author's intention are totally different.
 

hitmouse

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I agree. In my view Magic Realism is a literary tool to underline an aspect of the real world or the mental state of a character. The main story is situated in our world.
Fantasy creates its own world, solely as entertainment, whereby the plot wouldn't be possible in our world.
Both the setting and the author's intention are totally different.
I understand what you are saying. To paraphrase a famous quote about the difference between pornography and erotica, I know what is fantasy and what is MR, but it is hard to say why. The problem in this sort of discussion is that when we get down to an attempt at tight definitions, it becomes frustratingly elusive.
For example: there is plenty of fantasy based in our world, with a bit of fantastic added. Hard to say specifically why this differs from MR beyond stylistic differences (pixies, Kings under the Hill, etc.)
Equally, many works by Marquez, Borges etc are set in a South Americanish world, which does not specifically name recognisable places, and which can be a lot more floridly fantastical than some fantasy.
 
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Jo Zebedee

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I don't get this idea of Magic Realism being fantasy or fantasy-related. Surely it's showing a (nother) way of looking at OUR world rather than inventing a different world?
But at the very heart and soul of both sf and fantasy is the reflective mirror where we use it to show another way of looking at our world
 

Valtharius

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Based on which criteria?!
Most of the foundational authors of each genre were from those countries.
George Macdonald, Tolkien, Lord Dunsany, C.S. Lewis for fantasy.
The big three names of sci-fi lit, at least in the 20th century, were undountedly Heinlein, Clarke, and Asimov. 2 out of 3 American. You should probably throw Herbert in there too. And if you expand it beyond literature, Lucas and Roddenberry are certainly two of the most influential sci fi creators ever.
 

Ray Zdybrow

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But at the very heart and soul of both sf and fantasy is the reflective mirror where we use it to show another way of looking at our world

I agree. In my view Magic Realism is a literary tool to underline an aspect of the real world or the mental state of a character. The main story is situated in our world.
Fantasy creates its own world, solely as entertainment, whereby the plot wouldn't be possible in our world.
Both the setting and the author's intention are totally different.
Thanks, you've articulated what I was attempting to mumble!
 

Randy M.

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I agree. In my view Magic Realism is a literary tool to underline an aspect of the real world or the mental state of a character. The main story is situated in our world.
So ... it's not really different from fantasy. See also The Metamorphosis, Alice in Wonderland, Titus Groan, "The Homecoming," "Uncle Einar," "Cleopatra Brimstone," etc.

Also see also, The Circus of Dr. Lao, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Land of Laughs, American Gods -- all of which are situated in our world. Fantasy is not just secondary world fantasy. It is a broad, broad category of fiction and the belief that it is "solely ... entertainment" indicates a misunderstanding of its power and potential in the right hands. See those titles above, see also LOTR, The Last Unicorn, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Earthsea trilogy (haven't read beyond those), Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and on and on.

I agree with you about literary tools, and fantasy is one of those tools. MR may be a variation thereof, but what I've read could just as easily have been called fantasy. In the meantime writers like Jonathan Carroll, Caitlin R. Kiernan, John Crowley and Elizabeth Hand have built careers on writing fantasy that:
[...]underlines an aspect of the real world or the mental state of a character.
... or that satirizes human behavior or society, or that mourns the loss of past glories (real or imagined), or that elucidates character, or that does the other stuff literature does.
 

Elckerlyc

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So ... it's not really different from fantasy. See also The Metamorphosis, Alice in Wonderland, Titus Groan, "The Homecoming," "Uncle Einar," "Cleopatra Brimstone," etc.

Also see also, The Circus of Dr. Lao, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Land of Laughs, American Gods -- all of which are situated in our world. Fantasy is not just secondary world fantasy. It is a broad, broad category of fiction and the belief that it is "solely ... entertainment" indicates a misunderstanding of its power and potential in the right hands. See those titles above, see also LOTR, The Last Unicorn, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Earthsea trilogy (haven't read beyond those), Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and on and on.

I agree with you about literary tools, and fantasy is one of those tools. MR may be a variation thereof, but what I've read could just as easily have been called fantasy. In the meantime writers like Jonathan Carroll, Caitlin R. Kiernan, John Crowley and Elizabeth Hand have built careers on writing fantasy that:

... or that satirizes human behavior or society, or that mourns the loss of past glories (real or imagined), or that elucidates character, or that does the other stuff literature does.

I won't argue when you say my definition falls short. Where genres and sub-genres tend to blend over it becomes almost impossible to define their characteristics and do justice to all genre-variations at the same time.
I will ponder on a better definition, but for the moment though I'll stick to the one I have, even if flawed.
 

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