A Secret History of Latinx Science Fiction #HispanicHeritageMonth #LatinxHeritageMonth
If you happen to go to Buenos Aires, and you happen to have a cup of coffe at La Biela, you may find yourself sitting next to a table occupied by statues. The statues are of legendary Argentinian writers Jorge Luis Borges and Alfred Bioy Casares, central figures in the secret history of latinx science fiction, as commemorated in the first latinx science fiction collection at the Pollak Library at Cal State Fullerton. Curated by science fiction scholar David Sandner, the collection is believed to be the first of its kind. Here’s more from US Latinx SF:
International Latinx SF traditions influence US Latinx writers. Yet these traditions have often been unrecognized by US sf. Further, in their own countries, Latinx sf, like its US counterpart, often struggles for literary respectability. Frequently, Latinx sf is co-opted into the capacious “magical realist” label slapped on any non-realist Latinx literary work and so is simply ignored as sf.
The Argentinian writers and friends Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares provide an early instructive example of internationally famous Latinx works being undervalued as sf. Borges’ imaginative fictions have been called “magical realist.” Yet the sharp reasoning in his work, from the controlled approach to infinity in the strangely logical illogic of “The Library of Babel” to the estranging world-building of “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” make one wonder what might be gained from a “sfnal” approach . Rachel Haywood Ferreira (The Emergence of Latin American Science Fiction, 2011) calls such reconsiderations of genre “retrolabelling,” an important technique when the sf elements, long ignored, must be actively dug out to be understood aright.
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