Science Fiction Studies

#103 = Volume 34, Part 3 = November 2007


Yolanda Molina-Gavilán, Andrea Bell, Miguel ángel Fernández- Delgado, M. Elizabeth Ginway, Luis Pestarini, and Juan Carlos Toledano Redondo

A Chronology of Latin-American Science Fiction, 1775-2005

Abstract. -- This bibliography presents the most comprehensive inventory to date of science fiction published in Latin America. Arranged chronologically and spanning more than two centuries (1775-2005), it gives bibliographic information about sf novels, anthologies, magazines, and key short stories originally published in Spanish or Portuguese. The listings are prefaced by an essay that reviews the genre’s development and its major exponents in each country and region studied. The bibliography also contains a directory of primary works available in English translation and concludes with a guide to relevant critical essays.

Rachel Haywood Ferreira

The First Wave: Latin American Science Fiction Discovers Its Roots

Abstract. -- This essay examines three of the earliest works of Latin American sf together for the first time: “México en el año 1970” [Mexico in the Year 1970, 1844, Mexico], Páginas da história do Brasil escripta no anno de 2000 [Pages from the History of Brazil Written in the Year 2000, 1868-72, Brazil], and Viaje maravilloso del Señor Nic-Nac al planeta Marte [The Marvelous Journey of Mr. Nic-Nac to the Planet Mars, 1875-76, Argentina]. Nineteenth-century works such as these have been added to the genealogical tree of Latin American sf in recent years. The addition of pre-space-age texts to the corpus of Latin American sf does more than provide its writers and readers with local roots: it broadens our understanding of the genre in Latin America and the periphery; it extends our perceptions of the role of science in Latin American literature and culture; and, together with later Latin American sf, it contributes new perspectives and new narrative possibilities to the genre as a whole.

Aaron Dziubinskyj

Eduardo Urzaiz’s Eugenia: Eugenics, Gender, and Dystopian Society in Twenty Third-Century Mexico

Abstract. -- The earliest known work of Mexican sf was a moon voyage tale penned by the eighteenth-century Franciscan Friar Rivas in the San Francisco de Mérida Convent, on the Yucatán Peninsula. A century and a half later, in 1919, Eduardo Urzaiz would publish Mexico’s first sf novel of the twentieth century, Eugenia, also in the town of Mérida. What both of these works have in common is a critical view of the societies of their respective authors vis-à-vis enlightened scientific discourse. An extensive corpus of speculative fiction—to which Eugenia belongs—inspired by the science of eugenics was published during the period from the late-nineteenth to the early-twentieth centuries. Urzaiz, who wrote extensively but produced little fiction, lends his unique perspective as a trained medical doctor with a specialty in mental illness to the question of eugenics as a viable solution for social and moral reform. This article analyzes Eugenia, Urzaiz’s only novel, as a work of dystopian sf set against the backdrop of twenty-third century Villautopia, in the Subconfederation of Central America, within its literary and historical contexts.

J. Andrew Brown

Edmundo Paz Soldán and his Precursors: Borges, Dick, and the SF Canon

Abstract. -- This article charts the ways in which Jorge Luis Borges has been deployed in the articulation of sf literary canons. It begins with an analysis of the Argentine writer’s own ambiguous relationship with science fiction, then turns to his adoption as an honored precursor by Stanislaw Lem and William Gibson. In particular, it focuses on Philip K. Dick’s career and, using ideas from Borges’s essay "Kafka and his Precursors," examines the various methods by which Dick’s supporters have used Borges in their defense of the American novelist. The culminating aspect of this construction of a Borgesian sf canon is the work of Bolivian novelist Edmundo Paz Soldán, especially his 2003 novel Turing’s Delirium. In this novel, Paz Soldán constructs a web of intertextual references and allusions that set Borges and Dick on an even footing as co-precursors to a new Latin American literary tradition.

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