Discovering Cuban Sci-fi


This post was very interesting. Anyone know if the mentioned novels, or anything else by Restless Books is available in hard copy (I have a fetish, I guess)?

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He told me that toward the end of his life, de Rojas had either lost his mind or become a hyperrealist, since, as Yoss put it, he would go around telling people that Fidel Castro didn’t actually exist

Back in the early days when Fidel was a Muppet, he was more convincing, waving his arms and moving around when giving speeches. These days the CGI Fidel just sits around hardly moving to save on rendering costs.

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Fantastic post. It’s stuff like this that keeps me coming back to Boing Boing. Since I don’t speak a lick of Spanish, I’ll have to eagerly await the English translation.

One comment though. The authors’ statement toward the end, “The United States is obsessed with the future; it builds its identity around the idea that tomorrow will be better than today,” makes me think he hasn’t read much contemporary SF in the last several years. It seems to be almost universally grim and dark.



I am a native Spanish speaker, and a science fiction fan since I was 8 years old. I am 31 now, and during that time, I have read a lot, and I mean a lot, of science fiction in Spanish. More than “a handful of Argentines, Spaniards and Colombians”. Among my first SF experiences were the novelas de a duro , novelettes written by Spaniards with anglo saxon noms de plume, they were horrible by my current standards, but delicious and short enough for a kid high on SF. Then you have people Like Juan Miguel Aguilera, or the wonderful Rodolfo Martinez, who wrote the best essay about Isaac Asimov’s SF that I have read, in any language (ón-Asimov-Spanish-Edition-ebook/dp/B006VY8GXW/ref=smi_www_rcolv2_go_smi?_encoding=UTF8&Version=1&entries=0), or the sensational Emilio Bueso.

It’s great that you discovered Yoss, congratulations, and I hope that Yoss has a blast in the US, and if he choses to return to CUba he will be inspired with new ideas for more stories. However, there is no need to dismiss the rest of the SF written in Spanish. I suggest that you learn more about it, you might find some books that you might want to translate and publish.


Exactly. Spain is actually the one Spanish-speaking country that has reached first-world status. Even America realizes that England kind of defines English literature. So does Spain Spanish literature.


Excuse me for the shameless plug, but for those interested in SF from Spain and Latin America I would like to point out that last year I collaborated in the publication of Terra Nova: An Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Science Fiction. It includes six stories, one of them by Cuban Eric J. Mota (it is a zombie story of sorts, but more a commentary on the political situation in Cuba). The other five are by authors from Argentina and Spain.

It also includes an article by the editor, Mariano Villarreal, on Spanish SF. You can read an extract here:

You can find further info on the anthology on this post: and I’d be happy to provide digital review copies, so feel free to contact me if you’re interested.

So here’s hoping more SF from Spain and Latin America gets translated, read and enjoyed by English speakers. It certainly deserves it!


An interview with Yoss appeared on Amazing Stories in October of 2013 -;

Amazing regularly features posts, in spanish (and less regularly Portuguese) from spanish speaking contributors from across the globe - Spain, Agrentina, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia and Cuba among them - and has been doing so since early 2013.

In the wake of mheberger’s post (‘grim and dark’) I remembered an article on Cuban cyberpunk:
TOLEDANO REDONDO, JUAN CARLOS. 2005. From socialist realism to anarchist-capitalism: Cuban cyberpunk. Science Fiction Studies 32(3): 442-466.
Also, in 2010 the anthology ‘Vaporpunk’ was published, showcasing steampunk stories – not in Spanish, but in Portugues, from Portugal and Brazil. So there is more Latin American sci-fi.

Agustín de Rojas is like a legend of our SF. The year 200 is a complex, yet quite interesting book. But there are more old cuban authors worth reading. About Yoss, we are close friends (well, as close as 900km allow) and I have to thank him for pushing my novel into the publishing process and correcting some newbie mistakes I made. I agree with Ilan that he is an excellent person, I usually review his work and he reviews mine. His work mentioned here is good, but he has even better stuff, like Havana No Metro 2033, his contribution to the Metro 2033 universe and Al final de la senda/El advenimiento (2 great novels).

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