Authors and their nationality, etc.

ElderChao

Ensign
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Location
UK
I was browsing stuff here and trying (operative word) to author a book just for my own fun started to think about politics and such that might run through the narrative. Well, if it's there at all. Most Sci-Fi books I read are by US authors, some UK. Not sure if other foreign authors get their books translated. Dissappointingly I find there's always bias towards the authors' country of origin. Many books on first contact and lone hero stuff (which I'm not overly fond of but I guess it's difficult to avoid) reflect that leaving out any world (reaction) context. My novel (near future!) although it has a sort of Hero (rather benign one) tries to cover world reaction to an Arrival (e.g. I don't have NASA but JSA combining Europe, India and friendlies with China, Africa and SA as antagonists of sorts with a bunch of neutrals of course). I also find many stories try to bring in advanced ideas but fall short of bringing the context the people involved live in up to scratch (e.g. current day tech obviously should be buried in the past). In fact I often don't get through the story. Finding it difficult to tie these together but perhaps the scope is too wide.

Wandering about a bit, sorry, but maybe there's a debate in there somewhere and feedback welcome. Thanks.
 

tizl

Captain
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Very interesting topic!

I would think most authors, whether sci-fi or not, tend to write about what they know about culturally, or at least show their biases that way. The same goes for directors, for example M. Night Shyamalan almost always bases his movies in Philadelphia, where's he from. To do otherwise can involve a lot of research, which I would guess most either don't have a lot of time for, or money, or maybe just aren't very good at it.

But I agree with you that in the context of an arrival that would affect the whole world, it would be preferable to include POVs from all over. Cixin Liu does a decent job of that in his Three Body Problem trilogy. Well, at least he attempts to do it, which is more than most.

There are so many cultural differences between countries across the world, unless someone is very familiar with them, then trying to write about how another place would react might come across shallow or fake, IMO. I do like the idea, but it's got to be difficult to pull off.

Plus you also have to factor in the target audience of an author, and the possibility of alienating or confusing them. Personally I'd love to see more of it, but I think it would have to be done well.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
Writing speculative fiction can be very difficult for someone looking to be scientifically accurate yet appeal to humanity's interests.
Most people are shallow minded and unimaginative.
If you look at society in general, people are self-absorbed and need immediate gratification.
You get too detailed, you lose them.

On the subject of authors & their nationalities you can go to
To sort their author database by country of origin.
Some of the higher volume results are...
Canada743
China83
India159
Ireland328
Italy126
Japan91
Russia96
Spain102
Sweden107

Many that have few, have few because publishing in some countries is extremely difficult.
Note there are no results on the country of origin sort for USA/UK. Possibly because US/UK authors make up the majority of their database and only non-USA/UK authors are sorted by country of origin?
Plus, you should try to realize this website was founded in the UK.
The results are not a realistic assessment of all speculative fiction authors, just the ones this site has a page for.

The thing about writing fiction, its always slanted to the author.
Whether the story is good and popular is how well the author describes their own view.
If the author does a good job describing their own imagination other can read it and identify with the description.
If the description fails to allow the reader to speculate on the subject, they will stop reading it.
If its worded in such a way the reader can insert their own imagination into the story and identify with it, they read on.

Your better authors refrain from too much accuracy or detail to allow the readers to insert their own. You don't need a first-handed accounting of an arrival from the perspective of people all over the world but you would need a perspective of a character on how the world reacts.
The reader can then insert their own reaction based on their own societies and either imagine the details or consider the possibilities.
You get too detailed, they will say that wouldn't happen! This story is dumb!

In speculative fiction less is more. Write what you know. Spin the story so the reader can own it while they're reading it. So they can submerse themselves in your story. They can insert themselves into it, feel like they are living it. With the right guidance from you, they will fill in the gaps in detail as they read it.

I can't write because I get lost in the mechanical descriptions and physics details. I don't develop plot lines or story interactions well. I'm more of a world-builder/creature-builder. Once I get something described I loose focus. Just look at some of the stuff I've written here is Describe Something Scifi.

Good luck!
 
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