Great SF Writer You've Never Heard of: Sergei Lukyanenko
You know, sometimes we Americans are just out of it. Here's a living SF writer who wrote Nochnoi Dozor (Night Watch or Night Patrol), a fantasy novel which not only won the Russian equivalent of the Hugo, but then went on to become a blockbuster movie that grossed more money in his country in a month than either Return of the King or Spiderman 2 did. (You can buy an official all-region DVD with English subtitles at www.russiandvd.com.)
Now, that's just one book out of a trilogy, each of which will be coming out as a movie. He also wrote cult cyberspace thriller Labirint Otrazhenii (Labyrinth of Reflections), funny fantasies, and tons of science fiction series, all of which made him the youngest person ever to receive a Russian award for lifetime contributions to SF.
So of course American SF/F publishers are racing to be the first to get translations of his work on the shelves. Right? Right?!
I seem to hear nothing but crickets out there. And no, it's not copyright issues this time. No, SF publishers basically have some strange aversion to making money. After all, there are plenty of good fantasies written in the US. Why would you want to go outside and spend money on some foreigner like Tolkien?
Well, if you can read Russian or use the Fish, Mr. Lukyanenko has a good selection of his works online in Russian on his webpage. I highly recommend the eight sample chapters of Nochnoi Dozor, a dark fantasy about the Others who live beside us, the battle between Light and Dark to recruit us, and one vampire cop trying to enforce the law while dealing with his ex-girlfriend.
Who wouldn't want to read this stuff?!