Two Stellar Speculative Fiction Reads for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

5 May

For May, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I’m sharing a Science Fiction and a Fantasy novel, which were written by Asian American authors, I read and enjoyed with our HPL Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group.

The Grace of Kings
by Ken Liu

You may remember in a past blog post, I discussed The Three-Body Problem by Chinese author Cixin Liu translated by Chinese American author, Ken Liu.  Many of our members enjoyed the book so were curious to read a book written by Liu himself.  We read The Grace of Kings the first in Liu’s The Dandelion Dynasty trilogy for our August 2020 book; it is available to Hoboken patrons after you log in with your library card to eLibraryNJ.  I had read reviews of Liu’s book The Grace of Kings describing it as Silkpunk since it takes details from Asian countries and used them as a way to advance technology in a manner similar to how Steampunk used Victorian era steam technology in Europe.  The book does contain clever creations like battle kites, but Liu creates an even more elaborate world beyond this which will sure to entice Epic Fantasy fans like some of our book group members are.  You can check out the first and second book (The Wall of Storms) in the series in print from Hoboken and other BCCLS Libraries.  The third book The Veiled Throne is scheduled to be released at the beginning of November.

How to Live Safely in A Science Fictional Universe
by Charles Yu

Last month, our group read How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.  The story focuses on a time machine repairmen and his relationship with his parents, one of whom disappeared and the other of whom has chosen to live in a time loop.  Charles Yu parents were immigrants from Taiwan and some autobiographical details from Yu’s own life are used in the story.  I enjoyed the philosophical musing throughout and I thought the window into the experience of immigrants that was provided was very insightful.  Some of the group found the book a bit slow going at first, but were drawn to the ending where the narrative began to coalesce more.  This book will appeal to those who enjoy unusual quirky narration and meta-fictional elements.  Yu’s latest novel, Interior China Town, won a 2020 National Book Award for Fiction.  Both of Yu’s novels are available in print from Hoboken and other BCCLS Libraries and you can log in for access to the eLibraryNJ.

Stay tuned I’ll be writing about a Chinese/Filipino author our book club enjoyed, Rin Chupeco, as part of my June post celebrating Trans and Non-Binary Speculative Fiction Authors for LGBTQ Pride Month.   

Email, if you’d like to join the mailing list for our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group.  Our next group meeting will be on Thursday, May 27 at 4 PM, when we will be discussing All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.  You can request or stop by the second floor reference desk for a print copy.

Share your favorite books written by Asian American Authors in our comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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