I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I love science fiction. That obviously has to be a joke because if you’ve been around forever you know this began as a mostly SF blog. And I always mention SF and how I wish I read more SF. So I thought I’d help y’all out and deliver some Asian SF you should read!
Yes we are talking about giant mecha robots, need I say more? What I love is how Tang is able to balance high action plots with thematic exploration about censorship and history. Rebelwing is an action packed story that features an unlikely heroine and examines questions of capitalism, greed, and censorship. In times of rebellion, we are asked what kind of leaders we want to be, what kind of sacrifices we are willing to make. This SF book is set in a world swirling with the politics of censorship and media. How does this effect not only our culture, but what we can believe is possible?
When I read Axie Oh’s debut, I was hooked. I know I mentioned giant cybernetic dragons earlier, but Rebel Seoul has this – all I can describe as – robotic suits! This book hit me from every angle: compelling characters, amazing world building, fantastic writing, and a complex exploration of themes.
Ignite the Stars
Let’s hear it for Asian Pilot heroines! I’d love a million more books from Maura Milan’s head please. Ia is one of my favorite characters in YA SF period! I adored Ignite the Stars so much. It deserves all the stars in the galaxy that’s how much. In fact if you think our tastes intersect in any way, go find this book today. You will love it. Maybe not as much as I do (is that even possible?) but damn close.
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The Ones We’re Meant to Find
I feel like I’ve been going on and on about how much I love The Ones We’re Meant to Find, but it’s because it has my whole heart. This SF that examines our future, if we even deserve a place in the future, is compelling and delivers suspense vibes too! A world where we have to live parts of it in holoworlds for the future of our world. Where we are haunted by the sins and mistakes of our past. A time where robots are common place and the technology we’ve seen in SF books comes alive. Not only that, but He subtly and slowly brings a thoughtful-ness to this world. We are forced to examine the destruction we have wrought. Furthermore, we must contemplate our own future.
Want is a book I remember immediately loving and while I could have sworn I reviewed it somewhere, I can’t find it! But if you’re searching for a book that examines class, climate pollution, and privilege, this has to be your pick! Not only is it completely immersive, with its food and sights, but also entirely relevant. The environmental consequences, intersections with social justice, and the need for uprising.
I Hope You Get This Message
This character driven SF is all about what would happen with alien contact. It’s a story that is firmly set in this SF potential world of ours, but also in the human aspect. It’s a book about wanting to be heard. To be forgiven for our mistakes, to voice our regrets, and to speak our truths. The characters propel this story which expertly balances quiet stakes with the impending end of the world.
A Spark of White Fire
There aren’t many SF trilogies on this list, but A Spark of White Fire is one of those series where you can get caught up NOW! It’s a SF that mixes the ideas of the gods, REALLY complex families, and a journey for self-agency. A Spark of White Fire is this gorgeous mash up of destiny, space, diversity, and gods/goddesses. It’s entrancing. You lose yourself somewhere between the fantasy, the spaceships, and Esmae’s journey to find her family. It’s a book that makes you question fate, family, and trust.
The Light at the Bottom of the World
I’ve been VERY vocal about how much I love this book and the inventive SF world London has created. I’ve made some gorgeous hand lettering which is, to date, some of my favorite! The Light at the Bottom of the World is a story about family, the pursuit of truth, and the depths of darkness. Leyla is a character that is easy to root for – her desire for family, for a warm house, and the return of her father. Living deep beneath the waves, but not by choice, Leyla’s world is one of sickness and fear for our future.
Not Your Sidekick
I am a huge fan of superhero stories and C.B. Lee does it right! I’ve read, and adored, each of the books in this series. It is one of those that just leaves you with a smile on your face and is a SF book, but definitely a different vibe than some others on this list! What I really appreciated about the book was the way Lee complicates the traditional super hero/super villain narrative. Nothing is straightforward and Lee comments on this in an insightful way. We are encouraged to think beyond what we see and what we consume. There were so many details in this exploration of good versus evil that were nuanced.