Latin-American Science Fiction

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<p>Back to the Future: The Expanding Field of Latin-American Science Fiction Author(s): Rachel Haywood Ferreira Source: Hispania, Vol. 91, No. 2 (May, 2008), pp. 352-362 Published by: American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Stable URL: . Accessed: 01/05/2011 09:02Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p> <p>American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Hispania.</p> <p></p> <p>Back The Expanding</p> <p>to the Future: Science Fiction</p> <p>Field ofLatin-AmericanRachel Haywood Ferreira Iowa State University</p> <p>Abstract:</p> <p>This article examines the exponential growth of the field of Latin American science fiction in recent years, first through an evaluation of a series of critical/historical studies of the genre, and then by tracing the textual histories of a number of the region's earliest works of sf. The contemporary interest in identifying, science fiction is indica retrolabeling, and republishing the works that form the local roots of Latin American participation trends mean tive of the growing maturity of the genre there, as it stems from a desire to understand the nature and extent of in this global yet Northern-centered genre in areas heretofore viewed as periphery. These recent that writing, reading, teaching, or researching in the field of Latin American science fiction is now from even a few years ago.</p> <p>a vastly different experience</p> <p>science fiction bibliography, science fiction criticism, science fiction in Argentina, science fiction Key Words: in Brazil, science fiction in Chile, science fiction inMexico, science fiction in science fiction in Latin America, the nineteenth century, science fiction in Peru, science fiction in the twenty-first century</p> <p>By theNumbers: The Coming-of-Age ofLatin-American In</p> <p>Science Fiction, 1992-2007</p> <p>1985 theArgentine critic Pablo Capanna declared the growing independence of Latin American science fiction from Northern models: "Lo m?s importantees que se ha superado laetapa de recepci?n?cr?tica a veces y aerifica las m?s?de una literatura ajena. La madurez</p> <p>est? llegando" ("Ciencia ficci?n y los argentinos" 56). In 2000, the writer and critic Gabriel Trujillo Mu?oz reaffirmed this trend, describing Mexican readers' increasing identificationwith the genre: "En nuestro pa?s, por su cada vez m?s obvia presencia en la cotidianeidad de nuestrasvidas, se ha vuelto un</p> <p>362). Although the genre does not yet enjoy themarket share or the level of what Veronica has in the North (232), science fiction Hollinger has termed "'institutional 'respectability'" that it isbeginning to come into itsown inLatin America. Not only has therebeen awave of publication in science fiction in the past two decades,1 but therehas been an exponential increase in critical studies of the genre, particularly in the areas of bibliography and genre history. These recent trendshave meant that writing, reading, teaching, or researching in thefield of Latin American science fiction is now a vastly differentexperience from even a few years ago. Let us establish 1992 as a benchmark for purposes of comparison in our discussion of the recent developments in this field. Fifteen years ago, well intowhat Ram?n L?pez Castro has was still relatively described as a publication "boom" inLatin American science fiction (10), it texts belonging to the from either inside or outside Latin America, to identify difficult, many genre, to gain access to those texts, to locate their place in the trajectory of science fiction production inLatin America, or to perceive the shape ofthat trajectory. The Encyclopedia of</p> <p>g?nero</p> <p>popular,</p> <p>una</p> <p>literatura</p> <p>propia,</p> <p>cercana,</p> <p>comprensible"</p> <p>{Biografias</p> <p>Science Fiction, which has since become the international referencework of record in thefield, was still in itsfirst edition in 1992, under the titleThe Science Fiction Encyclopedia (1979), and Latin America had no entryof itsown. In the fairly brief entry for "Spain, Portugal and South Maxim Jakubowski, a British expert inFrench science fiction, all references America," written by to South America come ina sixty-six-word paragraph at the end. Only the countries ofArgentinaFerreira, Rachel Haywood of Latin-American Science Fiction" Hispania 91.2 (2008): 352-362</p> <p>"Back</p> <p>to the Future: The Expanding</p> <p>Field</p> <p>The Expanding Field ofLatin-American SF</p> <p>353</p> <p>and Brazil are mentioned, no titles are included, no secondary works, and only eight authors ("Jorge Luis Borges, Bioy Casares, Cort?zar and Ernesto Sabato [sic] [...], Andr? Carneiro, J.[er?nimo]Monteiro, Dinah de Queiroz and Geraldo Mour?o"). Only a fewmonographs on Latin American science fictionwere inexistence at this time inEnglish, Spanish, or Portuguese. Two of the earliest andmost widely consulted are Pablo Capanna's 1966El sentido de la ciencia ficci?n and Andr? Carneiro's 1967 Introdu?ao ao estudo da "science fiction." These works are fairly representative of secondary sources available from the 1960s to the 1980s. Capanna's well written study,while it addresses the Argentine reader of science fiction, does not include</p> <p>Northern sf.2 Latin-American science-fiction magazines and fanzines also tended to emphasize thepublication of translations of textsbyNorthern authors, but some Latin American writers and criticswere firstpublished in these venues. Unfortunately these publications had limited, localfor a magazine was around three issues).</p> <p>informationabout science fictionwritten byArgentines; and of the 140 pages of Carneiro's text, just under seven are devoted to Brazilian science fiction, with the remainder a discussion of</p> <p>distribution, and they tended to be short-lived (with several significant exceptions, a typical run</p> <p>There were occasional academic dissertations and articles published in thefield before 1992, most frequent and widely distributed sites for criticismwere inanthologies of national or but the regional science fiction. The prefaces, introductions,author presentations, chronologies, biblio graphies, and so forth that surrounded the selections were of uneven quality and reliability. It would not be difficult to draw some skewed conclusions from an examination of a good number of theseworks: that science fiction is a purely space age genre inLatin America, that it is always highly derivative ofAnglo-American science fiction, that there are few ifany early examples of science fictionwritten there.A few anthologies that stand out from the small crowd are, to use examples from the relatively strong and consistent Argentine science fiction movement, Los argentinos en la luna (1968), for its pioneering efforts to trace and republish early national science fiction;Los universos vislumbrados (S?nchez 1978,2ndedition 1995), for thequality of its selections, for thehistorical and bibliographical depth of itsprologue by Elvio Gandolfo, and for its annotated chronology of Argentine science fiction (1947-1977); and Marcial Souto's La ciencia ficci?n en la Argentina (1985), for its introduction and for the inclusion of the con writers' answers to a questionnaire on their tributing work, their influences, and their ideas onfiction as a genre. cannot However, the importance of personal contacts, word-of-mouth, and collections be over-emphasized. science private</p> <p>team ofYolanda Molina-Gavil?n, Miguel ?ngel Fern?ndez Delgado, Andrea Bell, Luis Pestarini, and Juan Carlos Toledano (Latin Americans and Northerners; academics, freelance critics, writers,magazine publishers, and librarians) combined to produce the "Cronolog?a de cf latino americana: 1775-1999," published in Spanish in the journal Chasqui. The same team,with the addition of M. Elizabeth Ginway, has just produced an updated, English-language version of this bibliography in Science Fiction Studies entitled "A Chronology of Latin American Science Fiction, 1775-2005" {"SFS" inTable 1below). Although these bibliographies were published in Great Britain and theU.S., the international reach of thepublication venues and the diversity of the contributors are evidence that the stimuli behind these effortsat cataloguing the geographic and temporal diversity of Latin American science fiction are within as well as from coming fromwithout.</p> <p>Three particularly significant bibliographies of Latin-American science fiction have been produced since 1992.3 The second edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction ("Zs?F" in Table 1below), published in 1993, contains an entryon Latin America written byMauricio-Jos? Schwarz, aMexican writer-editor-critic,and Braulio Tavares, a Brazilian writer-critic. In 2000 the</p> <p>While none of these bibliographies claims tobe exhaustive?indeed all indicate their incom pleteness and invite contributions?they are convenient landmarks for a comparative overview of thedevelopment of thefield during the lastfifteenyears. The tables below underline fourof the trends revealed by thebibliographies. First, although science fiction has been written in virtually every Latin-American country, some countries have historically produced more sf than others</p> <p>354</p> <p>Hispania 91May 2008</p> <p>(Table 2). Second, therehas been an exponential increase in thenumber of primary and secondary sources of Latin American science fiction during thepresentwave: approximately 350 primary works have been published since 1992, versus approximately 800 works published in the previous 200 years (Table 1). Third, there has also been intense activity in the area of (re-) locating and/or retroactively labeling, or retrolabeling, both primary and secondary works of science fiction inLatin America. Reading horizontally across the row, "Works of sf through 1992" inTable 1,for example, shows an increase in thenumber of identifiedprimaryworks from 100 in 1993, to 600 in2000, to 800 in2007. Fourth, a comparison of the threebibliographies reveals that one of the has been made in thearea of early-Latin-American most dramatic retrolabeling efforts science fiction, with the seven pre-1926 works listed in The Encyclopedia ballooning tofifty-eight in2000, and eighty-one in2007.4Table Three Bibliographies 1 sf: ESF, Chasqui Chasqui, SFS</p> <p>of Science Fiction</p> <p>of Latin-American</p> <p>Works Works Works Works</p> <p>of sf through 1992 of sf through 1999 of sf through 2005 of sf through 1926</p> <p>ESF (1993)100 = total</p> <p>(through 1999) 600725 = total</p> <p>SFS 2005) (through 800 10001150 = total</p> <p>(early sf)_ Secondary sources through sources total</p> <p>58</p> <p>1999</p> <p>125 = total</p> <p>200250 = total</p> <p>Secondary</p> <p>All numbers are rounded down to the nearest multiple of 25 to allow for variations in the grouping of shorter works. The exception is the category "Works of sf through 1926," forwhich exact numbers are given._</p> <p>2005) (through</p> <p>Table A Breakdown by Country Works Argentina Brazil</p> <p>2 of sf Listed in SFS Totals through 2005</p> <p>of the 1150 Works</p> <p>of sf through 1926 (early sf) 23 10</p> <p>ChileCuba Mexico Other Total of all countries 33</p> <p>231 234 11683</p> <p>336 160 1160</p> <p>This final trend illustrates the scope of developments in thefield of Latin-American science fiction. The contemporary interestin locating and retrolabeling Latin-American roots for science fiction is indicative of thegrowing maturity of thegenre there,as itstems from a desire to under stand the extent of local participation in a global genre and to obtain local as well as Northern historical legitimacy for thatgenre. This retrolabelingmakes theproduction of a truly panoramic vision of science fiction inLatin America possible for thefirst time.Only now that the temporal extent of the genre is becoming known can its trajectorybe perceived and works from all eras be</p> <p>properly contextualized. The earliest works of Latin-American science fiction have often been victims ofmisplacing, mislabeling, andmisrepresentation. Once re-identified,reclaimed, and re evaluated in lightof their ties to the genre, theyhave proven to be valuable tools for reaching a broader understanding of Latin-American culture and cultural production as well as contributing new perspectives on the science-fiction genre as a whole. An examination of the publication, citation, and retrolabeling histories of some of the earliest works of Latin-American science</p> <p>The Expanding</p> <p>Field</p> <p>of Latin-American</p> <p>SF</p> <p>355</p> <p>fictionwill show thatthe textualhistories of theseworks parallel and explicate thedevelopment of Latin American science fiction as a genre and as a field. Significant groundwork has now been laid upon which furtherscholarship can be based. The Emergence, Re-Emergence, 1957, 2000 and Retrolabeling ofLatin-American Science Fiction: 1875,</p> <p>The storyof the earliest textsof Latin-American science fiction is almost universally one of first appearance followed by relative disappearance, then sporadic signs of re-emergence, and finally retrolabeling inconjunction with permutations of critical consideration, republication, and widespread name recognition. For purposes of reference and clarity, analysis of these textual</p> <p>histories will be centered around three representative dates: 1875 for the period when the texts were originally published; 1957 for the timewhen they were firstrecovered or republished inpart new works of genre sf were appearing in increasing numbers; and 2000 and when, concurrently, for the timewhen each early texthad definitively been retrolabeled and accepted as "sciencefiction" by the current wave of Latin-American sf scholars, writers, and readers.</p> <p>1875As a general tendency, the earliest texts of Latin-American science fiction were written during periods of political change or unrest in theirnations of origin, butwhen, at the same time, processes of national consolidation, economic development, and/or advances in science also made for optimism regardi...</p>