jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2014

Guest post: Anthology "Alucinadas", by Cristina Jurado

Anthology “Alucinadas”: 10 selected authors, 11 stories

(by Cristina Jurado)


Cristina Macía
María Leticia Lara
Thanks to Alucinadas, 185 female authors found the perfect excuse to write the stories that were nagging at them, craving to become printed words. With Cristina Macía from Palabaristas as an accomplice, and the connivance of María Leticia Lara Palomino from the blog Fantástica Ficción, yours truly started to work on organizing a compilation of science fiction stories written by women in Spanish, soon available through the online platform  Lektu. We wanted to show the interest of female authors in this genre, in which the lack of publishing venues is well documented. This scarcity is due in part to the current penurious publishing landscape in the literary market, even though few emerging initiatives are trying to change things.

We present to you 10 plus 1 selected female authors -further information will be shared later about the 11th- most of them already with a publishing history, and one that we can consider a new talent. We got 205 submissions from 12 countries: Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Rumania. Sadly, the origin of some of them was untraceable.

Ana Díaz
Most of the submissions can be classified as dystopias (a very fashionable genre category, thanks to the last YA best-sellers), followed by fantasy stories, which were disqualified because they didn´t respect the terms and conditions of our call. Biopunk, horror science fiction, time travelling, cyberpunk, romance science fiction and post-apocalyptic stories were less popular. The uncommon were hard science fiction, steampunk, exploration fiction, social science fiction, military science fiction, humor science fiction, alternate history, science fiction thriller, weird and comics. Fortunately, our final selection showcases a wide variety of narrative styles and topics, illustrating the interests of female voices in science fiction. Special mention deserves the wonderful cover art by Ana Díaz, which reflects perfectly our objectives and the rationale behind Alucinadas.

Teresa P. Mira
The anthology opens with the winner of the submission call: “La Terpsícore” by Argentinian author Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría. This is the story of Captain Stephana Yurievna Levitánova´s static travelling in a singular spacecraft, whose artificial brain is incarnated in the body of a dead teenager. This is an example of quantic science fiction, as part of hard SF, because the expedition takes place not by moving the vessel from San Petersbourg, but reuniting inside several versions of the Captain from different alternate time lines. Levitánova has to face an ethical dilemma, reflecting the existentialist questioning in tune to Teresa´s professional carrier. She has a Phd in Philosophy and works as a professor and a researcher, exploring the relations between science fiction, philosophy and mythology. Some of her works have been published in magazines such as  “Próxima”, “Axxón”, “NM”, “Valinor” and “Opera galáctica”. Her short story “Memory” was included in the anthology Terra Nova by Sportula (both in the English and the Spanish versions) and was one of the finalists of 2013 Ignotus Awards. You can visit her blog to learn more about her literary carrier and personal interests. “La Terpsícore” won our call because of the range of its proposed ideas, as well as for offering all the elements –plot, characters, setting and narrative style- required to provoke the sense of wonder in the reader.

Felicidad Martínez
Felicidad Martínez is an industrial engineer from Valencia, and the author of the second story: “La plaga”. Alternating first and third person, Felicidad uses a very agile style in composing a militaristic space opera. Her incisive Lieutenant Rosenbaum squanders honesty and humor, and narrates the complications in a mission to a distant colony, after a mysterious indigenous insect attack. Even though she considers herself still as an amateur writer, Felicidad already has published works in her space opera universe of UC-Crow, developed also as a role-play game. Her novella “The texture of words” was included in Akasa-Puspa anthology by Aguilera y Redal, a finalist in the 2013 Ignotus Awards. Translated into Spanish, this story also appeared in the English anthology Terra Nova and in its Spanish version, Terra Nova 2. Her first novel “Horizonte Lunar” has been recently published by Sportula, and her short stories appear regularly in numerous science fiction anthologies.

Laura Ponce
“La tormenta” by Argentinian author Laura Ponce is set in planet Arkaris. It explores the effects of Arkarian environment in human destiny through the experiences of two military men. Stanisław Lem comes immediately to mind after reading it. The author credibly recreates a simple world, where the desert hides unsuspected secrets, strongly influencing its inhabitants. Laura is a writer, an editor, the director of “Revista Próxima” magazine and Ediciones Ayarmanot. She contributes every month in “Amazing Stories” with a feature on women in science fiction. Not only she collaborates with radio shows and traditional and online publications, but also her short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies in Argentina, Perú, Cuba and Spain. She is part of the Argentinian Center for Science Fiction and Philosophy, along with her countrywoman Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría. Both authors organize workshops and talks about the genre.

Yolanda Espiñeira
Yolanda Espiñeira, the Galician author of  “El método Schiwoll”, has conceived a science fiction thriller through two time lines: in the first, Mariana is being interrogated; in the second, we learn the details of her life in a luxurious district of planet Talití, which will help us unravel the raisons of her detention. Reflecting Yolanda´s passion for crime novels, she applies in this story the tropes of the genre to science fiction. It is the use of a circular structure, alternating first and third person, what allows the reader to be witness and accomplice at the same time. Yolanda is Spanish Philologist, specialized in the writings of José Ángel Valente. She currently combines her work as a teacher with her interest in Philosophy, in reading and in writing. She has published reviews and articles in the blog El almohadón de Plumas, in the online magazine El Fantascopio and in Prosa Inmortal magazine.

Nieves Delgado
The fifth story is “Casas Rojas” by Nieves Delgado. She is a Physicist from Galicia, where she teaches. Her interest in science fiction has leaded her to explore the influence of technology in society. Her emerging body of works, limited to short stories for now, is achieving the recognition of the science fiction community. Her story “Dariya”( Ellos son el future, Web Ficción Científica and Revista Terbi nº 7) is nominated to the 2014 Ignotus Awards, granted by the Spanish Association of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (AEFCFT). Her stories usually analyze the limits of being a human, questioning the essence of our species. In “Casas Rojas”, a government commission investigates CorpIA, a powerful company that produces androids for sexual use. Failures in some of the sexbots, which have started to attack their owners, are the premise to expose the impact of artificial intelligence in society and vice versa.

Lola Robles
Lola Robles is a feminist, pacifist and queer activist, and the author of “Mares que cambian”, the sixth story in the anthology. She is a Spanish Philologist and a writer, and since 2006 organizes Fantástikas, a workshop that discuses the role of women as authors and characters in science fiction and fantasy. She has published three science fiction novels: La rosa de las nieblas, El informe Monteverde y Flores de metal, and the anthology Historias del Crazy bar –co-written with Mª Concepción Regueiro-, as well as the realistic novel Cuentos de Amargarita Páez. Her short stories and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and Internet venues. “Mares que cambian” is a transgender space opera, in which society presents a multiplicity of sexual genders. In planet Jalawdri, intersexuality (hermaphroditism) is a normative reality that articulates a very sophisticated social framework. One of the most attractive aspects of this story is the use of male adjectives to refer to the main character, even when she is still a female, breaking grammar rules of gender agreement in Spanish. 

Sofía Rhei
“Techt”, the story of Sofía Rhei, is a semiotic dystopia with a touch of cyberpunk, recalling novels such as Fahrenheit 451 or 1984. The development of a condensed version of the language has important cultural and social consequences. The cyberpunk twist at the end of the story brings those consequences under a new and more disturbing light, and urges the reader to question the use of technology as a way of existential escapism, the same way the main character –Ludwig- does. Sofía is an author, experimental poet, editor and translator. As poet, she has published Las flores de alcohol (La bella Varsovia), Química (El gaviero), Otra explicación para el temblor de las hojas (Ayuntamiento de granada), Alicia Volátil (Cangrejo Pistolero), Bestiario Microscópico (Spórtula), and La simiente de la luz (Lapsus Calami). Her works have appeared in international publications and have been translated to other languages, achieving numerous honors. Part of her novels are intended to children and YA such us the Krippys (Montena) or El joven Moriarty (Fábulas de Albión) sagas, stand alone books like Olivia Shakespeare (Edelvives) or La calle Andersen –co-written with Marian Womack (La Galera)-, Flores de sombra (Alfaguara) and its sequel, Savia negra. She also writes science fiction and dark fantasy stories, which have appeared in Casatomada, Calle 20 and in anthologies such as Más allá de Némesis (Spórtula), Presencia humana (Aristas Martínez), Crónica de Tinieblas (Spórtula), Retrofuturismos (Fábulas de Albión) and TerraNova 3 (Fantascy).

Layla Martínez
Layla Martínez signs “Bienvenidos a Croatoan”, a story mixing time traveling and horror. Layla has a BA in Political Science and Sexology. She maintains her own blog, and works as translator and writer for different magazines and webs, contributing regularly in  “Culturamas” and “Diagonal”. Her experience as an editor, corrector and translator for various e-zines and alternative publications has leaded her to coordinate her own e-zine imprint: Antipersona. Her first poetry book, El libro de la crueldad (LVR Ediciones, 2012), combines prose poems with false biographies and verses. Some of her texts and poetry have been published in anthologies such as Sangrantes (Origami, 2013), Serial (El Gaviero, 2014) or Réquiem por Lolita (Fundación Málaga, 2014). “Bienvenidos a Croatoan” is set in an underground city, mirroring Madrid, in a post-apocalyptic future. Consuming dextralina allows drug customers to break the rules of physics, triggering unexpected consequences in the mental and physiological integrity of Hakim, the main character. Horror arrives through the inflamed love and guilty feelings Hakim has towards his sister, a dangerous cocktail set for the progressive disintegration of his personality.

Marian Womack
“Black Isle” by Marian Womack is a CliFi (Climate Change Fiction) story that analyzes the mutual influence of technology and nature, and its impact on humanity. The account of Dr. Andrew Hay questions our control over the environment and proposes a possible reactive answer. Marian (here you can visit her blog) is a writer, translator and editor from Cádiz, alumnae of Universities such as Glasgow and Oxford. She has published Memoria de la nieve (Tropo, 2011) and the YA book La calle Andersen (La Galera, 2014) co-written with Sofía Rhei. As an editor, she has been responsible of Beyond the Back Room: New Perspectives on Carmen Martín Gaite (Peter Lang, 2010) and her “New Gothic Weird” short stories have been included in anthologies such us Akelarre (Salto de Página, 2010), Presencia Humana3 (Aristas Martínez, 2014), or Steampunk. Antología Retrofuturista (Fábulas de Albión, 2012). She is the author of forewords and afterwords for genre books, such us the first English edition of La torre sin fin by Silvina Ocampo. She has worked in the selection of ghost stories by Charles Dickens or Mary Shelley, and has translated the works of Lord Dunsany, Gladys Mitchell, Henry James or Daphne du Maurier, among others. As an editor she is responsible of the publication of important European female authors within the weird genre in Ediciones Nevsky.

Carme Torras
(Photo © by Pere Virgili)
The last original story in Alucinadas is “Memoria de equipo” by Catalan author Carme Torras (you can access her literary blog here). She has a Phd in Computer Science and currently works as a research professor in Instituto de Robótica (CSIC-UPC). She combines her passion for scientific research with her love for literature and has published numerous books and articles about neuronal models, computing vision, artificial intelligence and robotics, and being praise by her peers. In the scientific field she has published: Pedres de toc (Columna, 2003) and Miracles perversos (Pagès, 2011), which were awarded with Primera Columna and Ferran Canyameres awards. Her science fiction novel La mutació sentimental (Pagès, 2008), was translated into Spanish (Milenio, 2012), obtaining awards such as Manuel de Pedrolo 2007 and Ictineu 2009.

Some of her stories about machines, like “Zac i el rellotge de l’ànima”, “La vita e-terna”, “Una arítmia silenciada” and “El joc de jocs” have been included in anthologies like Els fills del capità Verne (Pagès, 2005), Catarsi magazine (2013), Elles també maten (Llibres del Delicte, 2013) and Científics lletraferits (Universidad de Valencia, 2014). Robbie, the pioneer robot nanny (Interaction Studies, 2010) is an essay about the impact of science fiction in Ethics. “Memoria de equipo” is a cyberpunk story in which virtual reality technology is used within a legal framework. This is a collective tale articulated around a crime, attributed to the pivot of a University basketball team, which questions human capacity to manage memories.

Angélica Gorodischer
“A la luz de la casta luna electrónica” by Argentinian Angélica Gorodischer is included in this anthology out of the call for submissions. It can be considered as a generous endorsement to our project, delighted to be benefiting from Angélica´s talent and notoriety. For that reason, all the people involved in Alucinadas want to thank her, and honor her as one of the most important science fiction authors in Spanish. Hers are numerous novels: Opus dos (Minotauro, 1966), Kalpa Imperial (Minotauro, 1984 y Emece Editores, 2001), Floreros de alabastro, alfombras de bokhara (Emecé, 1985), Jugo de Mango (Emecé, 1988 y Emecé Editores, 1995), Fabula de la virgen y el bombero (Ediciones de la Flor, 1993), Prodigios (Lumen, 1994), La noche del inocente (Emecé, 1996), Doquier (Emecé, 2002), Tumba de jaguares (Emecé, 2005), Tres colores ( Emecé, 2008), Tirabuzón (Editorial Fundación Ross, 2011), and Las señoras de la calle Brenner (Emecé, 2012). Angélica has written numerous collections of short stories, such as Cuentos con soldados (Club del Orden, 1965), Las Pelucas (Sudamericana, 1969), Bajo las jubeas en flor (Ediciones de la Flor, 1973), Casta luna electronica (Andrómeda, 1977), Trafalgar (El Cid, 1979), Mala noche y parir hembra (La Campana, 1983), Las Repúblicas (Ediciones
de la Flor, 1991), Técnicas de supervivencia (Ed. Municipal de Rosario, 1994), Como triunfar en la vida (Emecé, 1998), Menta (Emecé, 2000), and Querido amigo (Edhasa 2006). She has participated in many anthologies, written essays, cultivated the biography genre, and her works have been even adapted to the big screen. Some of her books are available in other languages: Ursula K. Le Guin translated into English Kalpa Imperial in 2003. Along her carrier, she is been honored by numerous international awards, like the 2011 World Fantasy Award, presented by the World Fantasy Convention to praise a lifetime achievements. Those who still don´t know the adventures of the intergalactic merchant Trafalgar “Traf” Medrano will be able to meet him thanks to “A la luz de la casta luna electrónica”. This story uses a very subtle and intelligent humor to question social actuality: from gender and social classes relations and the role of women in society, to patriarchal traditions. The bumpy sexual encounter, between the main character and a female high government representative of an aristo-matriarchal planet, will trigger a chain of events that will prevent Trafalgar´s commercial pursuits.

Ann VanderMeer
The foreword of this book is by an international celebrated editor: Ann VanderMeer. She was the fiction editor of “Weird Tales” when the magazine won the Hugo Award in 2009, and he co-edited –together with husband Jeff VanderMeer- The Weird (Tor Books, 2012), which also won the British Fantasy Award. Founder of Buzzcity Press, Ann has co-edited: The New Weird (Tachyon Publications, 2008); Best American Fantasy (Prime Books, 2007) y Best American Fantasy v.2 (Prime Books, 2009); Last Drink Bird Head: A Flash Fiction Anthology for Charity (Ministry of Whimsy, 2009); Steampunk (Tachyon Publications, 2008), Steampunk II, Steampunk Reloaded (Tachyon Publications, 2012), Steampunk  III, Steampunk Revolution (Tachyon Publications, 2012); Fast Ships, Black Sails (Night Shade Books, 2008); The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (Harper Voyager, 2011); The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals: The Evil Monkey Dialogues (Tachyon Publications, 2010); The Time Traveler´s Almanac (Tor Books, 2014); y Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology (coming out in 2015 in PM Press). Ann not only has shared the objectives of this anthology, but also has get involved in the project, offering much needed advise and answering many questions, despite her numerous professional endeavors.

Alucinadas is a road we just started to take. Now we only need for the readers to walk with us, enjoying the outcome of our female authors´ imagination. We hope this will be a prosperous and ever growing initiative that will allow women to claim a much-deserved visibility in the Spanish science fiction field.


Cristina Jurado
About Cristina Jurado:

Cristina Jurado Marcos writes the sci-fi blog Más ficción que ciencia. Having a degree in Advertising and Public Relations by Universidad de Seville and a Masters in Rhetoric by Northwestern University (USA), she currently studies Philosophy for fun. She considers herself a globetrotter after living in Edinburgh, Chicago, Paris or Dubai. Her short stories have appeared in several sci-fi online magazines and anthologies. Her first novel From Orange to Blue was published in 2012.

(You can also read this article in Spanish at Fantífica/También puedes leer este artículo en español en Fantífica)

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