The Best Russian Books in English

Forget War and Peace: this blog offers reviews of fun and interesting Russian books in English, links to their Amazon pages, interviews with new and upcoming Russian authors, with the emphasis on Russian genre fiction: LitRPG, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, romance, mystery and other popular reads.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A great new interview with the Russian LitRPG author Alexey Osadchuk

Alexey Osadchuk is a young but already bestselling Russian author of the Mirror World fame. The second book of the series, The Citadel, has just been released on Amazon and sold over 3,000 copies in the first 48 hours, hitting #1 in Dark Fantasy, Cyberpunk, New Adult and Game Adaptations.

Well, last night Alexey was speaking to Ramon Mejia from Geek Bytes Podcast. Simon Vale from Magic Dome Books kindly agreed to translate their conversation for the site. Watch the interview to see what Alexey has to say about his new book, his work as a writer... and his readers!

Ramon Mejia from Geek Bytes Podcast

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Walter the Russian Cat - too cute for words

I know, I know this blog is about fun and interesting Russian books... but what's a blog without an occasional cat video? Especially if the said cat is Russian - never mind he can't read!

Walter and his owner Julia live in the Russian city of Orel (which incidentally is a large literary center that has given Russia some of its finest and most prominent writers). She spends some quality time taking pics and videos of him and posting them on Twitter at @CatWalterWhite. Walter happily enjoys his fifteen minutes of fame - actually it's much longer if you add up all the footage she's taken of him.

"Better posting cat videos than reporting stories of political scheming," says Orel blogger boroda_krauhina. "Normal people just want to live and laugh, enjoying simple things in life. Which is why our little white cat is so popular. Cats are the purest form of happiness: they're sweet, soft and cuddly."

Meet Walter the Russian Cat!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Way of the Shaman Book 3 by V. Mahanenko is published!

Attention all LitRPG lovers! The Secret of the Dark Forest, Book 3 of the bestselling LitRPG series The Way of the Shaman by the Russian author Vasily Mahanenko is finally available on Amazon!

We're proud of Vasily and his wonderful translator Natalia Nikitin. They assure you that there won't be any delays in publishing the remaining four books of the series. They will also be available in audio. The paper version of the book will come out shortly.

Enjoy the new installment, everyone! Below are all of Vasily's titles currently available on Amazon, including Survival Quest in German:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

An interview with the bestselling LitRPG author Gary Cooper!

Hi all,

I'm very pleased to present the interview I took a few days ago from one of the best LitRPG authors Gary Cooper. Gary isn't Russian of course, but seeing as this blog begins to take a distinctive LitRPG leaning, we can't ignore the international exchange of ideas and inspiration between the leading authors in this genre.

Gary did this interview for Magic Dome Books, a publishing house specializing in Russian genre fiction in translation, who now sport the interview in their brand-new blog. Read what Gary has to say about his upcoming Omegaverse books, his opinion of computer games and his plans for the future!

 MDB: Why gaming? What prompted you to dream up a virtual world?

GC: It's been one of my jobs for the past twenty years. I started work at one of the pioneers in online gaming, Kesmai Studios, in 1995 because I was so involved in the "virtual" worlds of the era and knew deep down that it was the beginning of something big. My career almost since college has been in developing online gaming. Sometime around the year 2000 I began designing my "dream" game - that game is very much like the game described in the first three volumes of the Omegaverse series. (Click to keep reading)

Gary has also shared the cover for his latest Omegaverse book on the LitRPG Facebook page.

More interviews will be coming soon, notably with the bestselling Russian LitRPG authors Vasily Mahanenko and Alexey Osadchuk. If you have a particular LitRPG author in mind you'd like to see interviewed, drop me a line.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Vasily Mahanenko's LitRPG series The Way of the Shaman: help translate the second book!

Great news! Vasily Mahanenko,the bestselling Russian LitRPG author of the Way of the Shaman fame, has started a crowdfunding campaign to translate the second book of the series, The Kartoss Gambit, into English.

This is what he says:

Dear friends,

Many of you have written to me asking when I'm going to publish the next novels of the Way of the Shaman. I keep writing new books of this and other LitRPG series which are currently published in Russian. The royalties from these books I invest into their English translations for you. But at the moment, the Russian ruble is dropping, decimating my earnings. Which is why, considering how many of you are waiting for new Shaman books, I decided to turn to you to help me raise enough money to translate the Kartoss Gambit (The Way of the Shaman: Book #2).

Every donor will receive his or her personal bonus:

$5 : An e-card from the author and an electronic copy of the Kartoss Gambit
$10 : An e-card from the author, an electronic copy of the Kartoss Gambit and a mention in the book's Acknowledgments
$20 : All of the above plus a thank-you postcard written by the author mailed to your address
$40 : All of the above plus a paperback copy of the Kartoss Gambit (The Way of the Shaman: Book #1) with the author's handwritten inscription of your choice
$60+ : All of the above plus a paperback copy of Survival Quest (The Way of the Shaman: Book #1) with the author's handwritten inscription of your choice

The book is already written. The translator will start working straight away. Your help will allow the Kartoss Gambit to hit Amazon on October 2015

I thank you all in advance!


Vasily Mahanenko

Let's help Vasily and his readers! Come to Indiegogo and donate to see The Kartoss Gambit (The Way of the Shaman Book #2) published in English!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

More bestselling Russian LitRPG series:space opera galore!

In the recent weeks, two bestselling Russian LitRPG authors added their latest books to Amazon (in English, of course). And both are set in deep space: think alien races, intergalactic battles and mysterious technologies - all within the conventions of MMORPG.

Andrei Livadny is one of Russia's most prolific sci fi writers. With sixty published novels under his belt, he's just completed his first LitRPG series set in a deep-space MMORPG game of the future. Edge of Reality (Phantom Server: Book #1) is a tough futuristic world where survival becomes your priority... until you have to choose between your own life and those of your friends.

Here's what an Amazon reader says about Edge of Reality, the first book of Phantom Server:

 One of the best new authors in American Sci Fi translated from Russian. FIVE STARS

This author exceeds all expectations. Most of the books in this RPG genre are fairly simplistic. Not this one. It has a terrific arc of characters and complexity of story line that leaves the reader wondering whether it's an RPG or true sci fi where the colonization of the Galaxy takes place by sending consciousness as opposed to bodies. Outstanding book.

I think so too! Phantom Server might just be the coolest science fiction book of this summer.

But that's not all! To be continued...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

LitRPG: New virtual-reality MMO-set books coming out of Russia


So what's this LitRPG thing everyone seems to be crazy about?

LitRPG is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy which describes the hero's adventures within an online computer game. LitRPG books merge traditional book-style narration with elements of a gaming experience, describing various quests, achievements and other events typical of a video game.

The defining feature that sets LitRPG fiction apart from traditional portal fantasy is its use of interactive gaming language, such as the inclusion of various system messages, players' stats, items' characteristics and other elements appreciated by gamers. The narration in a LitRPG novel has to abide by the rules of a game while filling it with conflict and drama as the hero tries to survive in this new environment. This "book meets game" experience proved to be exactly what many gamers-turned-readers were looking for in a novel.

LitRPG books are not the same as traditional game novelizations. As a rule, LitRPG books are set in fictional game worlds which are entirely their authors' invention, such as D. Rus' AlterWorld, V. Mahanenko's Survival Quest or A. LIvadny's Phantom Server. Also, their use of gaming elements and attributes sets them apart from traditionally penned game novelizations.

Initially unrecognized by traditional publishing, the genre kept growing, gaining a truly insatiable readership that devoured such cult series as Sword Art Online, Ready Player One and The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. In 2012, Russia became the first country in the world where the genre was officially recognised, receiving its current name - LitRPG - and its own place in libraries and book shops. Since then, dozens of new game-set novels have been published in Russia, some of them national bestsellers such as Play to Live by D. Rus and the Way of the Shaman by V. Mahanenko.

The first LitRPG books are already selling successfully on Amazon. More will be coming soon, so stay tuned!