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 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!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Worst T-shirt Slogan of the Year (in "Russian")

The year has only just started but I don't think anyone can beat this!

The maternity department of the shopping site CafePress is currently offering their pregnant customers a T-shirt inscripted with what they believe to be a Russian word, Cynopoco. The article description says:

Cynopoco is the Russian word for pregnant. This maternity shirt with the word Cynopoco printed on it is the ideal gift for a Russian woman expecting a baby. A fun Russian pregnancy announcement. 

Er, not quite. Never mind they've tweaked the word slightly so it sounds more Spanish than Russian. There is no word cynopoco in Russian (grammaticaly it makes no sense), but there sure as hell is the word супоросая which indeed means pregnant - a pregnant pig. This is the word Russian farmers use when referring to a female pig in a certain condition.

So whatever you do, please don't give this "ideal gift" to a pregnant friend of yours, Russian or otherwise. It just might serve as a perfect excuse to terminate your friendship.