20 best genre fiction writers from other countries to expand your horizons

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10. Tsutsui Yasutaka

If the chilling revenants and haunting philosophies of Solaris are too much right now, then perhaps some dark humor and satire will hit the spot. While you’re at it, why not explore the work of one of Japan’s preeminent sci-fi authors and the founder of that country’s postmodern science fiction movement?

Tsutsui Yasutaka first began publishing in Japan in the 1960s, though his work wasn’t translated into English until 1990. That’s quite a shame, given that English-reading audiences were missing out for over 20 years on Tsutsui’s surreal, beautiful fiction.

His 1993 novel, Paprika, is probably most recognizable to Western audiences, thanks to the 2006 animated film adaptation of his novel by filmmaker Kon Satoshi. It also appeared in a late example of a serial novel, being published in four parts by Marie Claire magazine beginning in 1991. It’s also been adapted into two different manga versions.

Paprika deals, in short, with the surreal world of dreams and the often shaky basis of human perception. Within this fictional world, psychotherapists have developed a new form of treatment for mental disorders based on dream monitoring. Therapists don’t just watch a patient’s dreams, however; they can also directly intervene in the dreams as part of the therapeutic process.

Chiba Atsuko — whose dream alter ego is named Paprika — is one of the best practitioners in this field. She has to go beyond her medical world, however, when someone steals that device necessary to enter someone’s dreams. People being people, it’s not long before this thief begins to enact mind control schemes against others.