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Mimi Mondal

A Short History of South Asian Speculative Fiction: Part II

Part I of this article, regarding the older traditions of speculative fiction from South Asia, mostly in the regional languages, was published on in January 2018.

It was only from the late 1980s that English became the more common language for SFF writers from India. Regional-language traditions still flourish, but the language barriers mean that writers in English receive more visibility both within South Asia and internationally. English-language trade publishing in India also became prominent in the late 1980s, with the entry of Penguin and subsequently the other Big Five international publishers into the market, making it possible for these writers to publish and be distributed widely. This is also the period from which immigrant South Asian writers in English started becoming visible in Western SFF.

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A Short History of South Asian Speculative Fiction: Part I

I have never read an article on South Asian speculative fiction (there are many) that didn’t feel painfully incomplete to me, so I decided to write my own. South Asian literature is a large and often unwieldy mass, emerging from disparate influences, even if we discount the regional languages and talk about only the works in the English. Speculative stories pop up in the most unexpected places. There is no uniform tradition and reading list, so I will try to touch on everything a little.  (Perhaps inevitably, I will leave out some works of which I remain unaware—there is always more to learn, and to read.)

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