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

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Kalpa Imperial (Cover image via Small Beer Press)

14. Angelica Gorodischer

Perhaps, once you sit down to start a new novel or collection of stories, you find that it’s a little difficult to pick a genre. There are so many, after all, and it’s not as if you have to feel beholden to any particular set of conventions. Maybe one day you feel drawn towards detective fiction, then horror, then fantasy and so on. Sure, you could pick one writer for each interest. Or, of course, you could go with Angelica Gorodischer.

Gorodischer, an Argentinian writer, has been publishing works in Spanish since 1965. However, English translations of her work did not start appearing until 2003. That’s when Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was first started to appear on English-language bookshelves, translated by none other than legendary science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin.

Kalpa Imperial encompasses multiple storytellers. Over 11 chapters, they describe the constant cycle of rising and falling experienced by the title empire, which nevertheless remains nameless. Individual people within the tales also experience similar cycles, rising to great power and being brought to new, more humble lows throughout their own stories.

The book necessarily includes political commentary, but it also presents a powerful argument for the joy and importance of storytelling itself. Plus, Gorodischer has received extensive praise for her dream-like, poetic language that enforces that same feel of Kalpa Imperial.

If you read Spanish, then you’re in luck: Gorodischer has published over twenty different works. Even in you’re monolingual, there are currently three different English translations ready for you to dive into. These include Kalpa Imperial, as well as the sci-fi Trafalgar and the more history-focused Prodigies.