Le numéro 132 de la revue Science Fiction Studies est paru.
SPECIAL ISSUE ON SPANISH SF
Edited by Sara Martín and Fernando Ángel Moreno
- Sara Martín. Introduction. Spanish SF: A Phantom Genre (Full text)
- Fernando Ángel Moreno and Cristina Pérez. An Overview of Spanish Science Fiction
- Symposium on Spanish SF
- Mikel Peregrina and Jimena Escudero Pérez. Domingo Santos: Bringing on the Golden Decade
Domingo Santos is arguably the most influential and prolific personality in Spanish science fiction, and this paper provides an overview of his career. Although ideologically conservative, dating from his life before the political changes witnessed during the Spanish Transition, Santos initiated an entire process of both formal and thematic maturation that would culminate in Spanish sf’s Golden Decade (1985-1995). As a writer, he is the author of one of the best dystopian short-story collections written during the late Francoism of the 1970s: Futuro imperfecto [Imperfect Future, 1981]. Despite their dark endings, these tales raise new political and ecological issues and employ innovative narrative techniques non-existent until then in Spanish sf. Furthermore, Santos was also involved in some of the most prominent sf editorial projects in the country, from the leading sf magazine Nueva Dimensión [New Dimension, 1968-1983] to new sf book series by publishers such as Acervo, Orbis, and Ultramar. These sf editorial initiatives enabled the publication of many important sf works—including those by a host of New Wave authors—and launched the writing careers of many modern Spanish sf authors such as Gabriel Bermúdez Castillo and Rafael Marín.
Francisco J. López Arias. The Spanish Civil War in Spanish Alternate History: Jesús Torbado’s En el día de hoy
While the English-language genre of alternate history often does not enjoy much prestige, its Spanish counterpart is seen as having greater literary legitimacy. For many years, the censorship of a Fascist regime prevented alternate history from being developed, but after Franco died in 1975, a Parliamentary democracy in 1976 was restored and, with it, freedom of speech. That same year, alternate history found its place in Spanish mainstream literature: Jesús Torbado’s En el día de hoy [On This Day, 1976] was awarded the Premio Planeta, the most important commercial award in Spain, second only to the Nobel Prize. This essay analyzes Torbado’s novel in terms of its interrelation with the tumultuous political circumstances at the time of its publication. I contextualize it by following two main thematic axes: first, its status as one of the influential works dealing with the counterfactual scenario of a Republican victory in the Spanish Civil War (1939), and second, the prestige it conferred on the genre of alternate history that would lead other prominent Spanish writers to try their hands at it.
This paper examines Elia Barceló’s collection of stories Sagrada [Sacred, 1989]. Firmly within the conventions of science fiction (high technology, exploration and colonization of other worlds, alien species, etc.), the collection stands out for its intense reflection on emotional bonds between humans and nonhumans and for placing female characters at the center of this web of relationships. This paper shows how women’s roles in these stories not only renew the generic codes of sf, giving prominence to mother and goddess figures, but also deconstruct the literary representations of the feminine by challenging the idea of woman as life-giver and rejecting the idea of women in love as passive and defenseless.
Juan Miguel Aguilera’s story “Todo lo que un hombre puede imaginar” [All That a Man Can Imagine, 2005] serves as a powerful conclusion for his novel La red de Indra [Indra’s Net, 2009], although it was originally published separately. The infinite vastness of a universe-spanning network of artificial singularities (“geodes” or jewels in Indra’s net) and the cosmic scale of a project to curate the entirety of the universe’s consciousness and intelligence finds microcosmic reflection in the human experiences of a scientific/military team hurled 236 million years into Earth’s future, for each individual’s consciousness also bejewels Indra’s net. “Todo lo que un hombre puede imaginar” recounts the mission of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to rescue the aged and embittered Jules Verne from self-imposed exile in Amiens. Teilhard’s question—“What do you think of eternity?”—begins a sublime technoscientific odyssey for Verne, who ultimately discovers he and every other intelligent being have been informationally resurrected to live eternally in Teilhard’s Omega Point, the moment of maximal intelligence in our universe. Verne’s new life in this constructed world mirrors the secret revealed in the novel, that our universe is but a micro-universe created by and for the “geodes.”
Mariano Martín Rodríguez. Alternate History in Spain: Eduardo Vaquerizo’s Tinieblas Series in Its Literary Context
Although a nineteenth-century Spanish tale, Nilo María Fabra’s “Cuatro siglos de buen gobierno” [Four Centuries of Good Governance, 1883], was among the first examples of alternate history, this subgenre has not been widely cultivated in Spain until contemporary times. In our century, the alternate worlds imagined by Keith Roberts or Kingsley Amis—in which the Spanish Empire prevailed—have found a Spanish equivalent in Eduardo Vaquerizo’s work. His novels Danza de tinieblas [Dance of Darkness, 2005] and Memoria de tinieblas [Memory of Darkness, 2013], as well as several short stories, establish a consistent alternate universe within which Fabra’s positivist ideal of an enduring Spanish Empire acquires features that can be illuminating if compared to the “Rule Britannia” scenarios popular in English fiction. Vaquerizo’s world in the Tinieblas series has been adopted by other writers in a shared fictional universe, showing the importance of these novels in the evolution of alternate history in Spain.
Science fiction by women in Spain has received little attention, as demonstrated in Spanish sf anthologies of both the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The anthology Alucinadas (2014, forthcoming in English as Spanish Women of Wonder) responds to this situation, and it includes work by twelve women writers (ten Spanish, two Argentinean). Alucinadas II (2016) features ten writers (eight Spanish, one Argentinean, and one Cuban). This article studies three thematic clusters found in these stories—ecocriticism and (de)colonization, sexuality(ies), and cyberspace—highlighting a wide range of social and political issues. Relevant motifs in science fiction, including dystopia/utopia, time travel, the preservation of a balanced ecosystem, cybersex, virtual reality, space travel, and planetary colonization, are reimagined with a new critical feminist perspective. Most of these stories feature societies in which natural and sexual diversity co-exist.
Rosa Montero’s novels Tears in Rain (2011) and Weight of the Heart (2015) focus on Bruna Husky, a war android, who strives to survive until her expiration date and works as a private detective. Montero takes the reader on a journey from a futuristic Madrid to space colonies to investigate crimes that are related to human and nonhuman entities. This article explores those intersections of the human and nonhuman, analyzing the role of the other in the novels. My analysis focuses on how Montero continuously plays with the image of the other through metaphors that bond Bruna Husky with animals.
Sara Martín and Fernando Ángel Moreno. A Bibliography and Filmography of Spanish SF
- Terry Harpold. Roman Scientifique and its Discontents: Stableford’s The Plurality of Imaginary Worlds: The Evolution of French Roman Scientifique
- Jeff Hicks. The Return of the End of the World: Voigts/Voller’s Dystopia, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalypse, Cojocaru’s Violence and Dystopia, Mazurek’s A Sense of Apocalypse, and Hicks’s The Post-Apocalyptic Novel in the Twenty-First Century
BOOKS IN REVIEW
- Díez/Moreno’s Historia y antología de la ciencia ficción española (Mike Gomez)
- López-Pellisa’s Patologías de la realidad virtual (Dale Knickerbocker)
- Moreno’s Antología del cuento de ciencia ficción española actual (Rubén Sánchez Trigos and José Esteban Viera Betancor)
- Moreno’s Teoría de la literatura de ciencia ficción (Daniel Ferreras Savoye)
- Beck’s The War of the Worlds (Nicholas Ruddick)
- Chan’s The Racial Horizon of Utopia (Taylor Evans)
- Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble (Miranda Butler)
- Kears/Paz’s Medieval Science Fiction (Kristin Noone)
- Leleń’s H.G. Wells (Patrick A. McCarthy)
- Rieder/Dillon/Levy’s Indigenous Futurism (Victoria Miceli)
- Ruddick’s Science Fiction Adapted to Film (Barry Keith Grant)
- Sheldon’s The Child to Come (Brent Ryan Bellamy)
- Wythoff’s The Perversity of Things (Lisa Yaszek)
- Yaszek/Sharp’s Sisters of Tomorrow (Helen Merrick)
NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE
- Wells’s “The Country of the Blind” and Medical Models of Disability (Brenda Tyrrell)
- On Extro-SF and Kalpabigyan (David Ketterer)
- On Heinlein and Detective Fiction (Patrick A. McCarthy)
- SF and the MLA (Lisa Swanstrom)
- Iraqi SF and the London Literature Festival (Sinéad Murphy)
- Report on a Conference in Beijing, China (Veronica Hollinger)
- Calls for Papers
- Michael M. Levy (1950-2017)