Argentinean SF

Future Buenos AiresThe best known character from Argentinean SF is the Eternauta. Penned by Héctor G. Oesterheld at the end of the 1950s, the main character of the now almost mythical comic embodies the political pathos of the Peronista movement. The first version of the comic has become compulsory reading in high schools across Argentina. However, despite its foundational status, El Eternauta was not the first SF artifact in Argentine culture. On the contrary, Argentina has a long tradition of politically engaged SF whose roots can be found in the 19th Century. Novels like Eduardo L. Holmberg (1852-1937) Viaje maravilloso del Señor Nic Nac (1875) and Dos partidos en lucha. Fantasía científica (1875) underline the emergence of a narrative preoccupied both with social and political issues as well as with scientific advancement and its social and cultural consequences. By the turn of the century, Leopoldo Lugones (1874-1838) would explore  such consequences from the perspective of pseudosciences in a book like Las fuerzas extrañas (1906). By 1940, when  Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999) published La invención de Morel, Argentine SF enter its mature stage. Yet, critical interest was rare and at times dismissive, confining the modality to a sub-form of the fantastic, destined to blue collar workers and teenagers. It would take another fifty years before a spike in academic interest would produce some of the most interesting approach to the study of SF.

By then, magazines such as El Péndulo, Minotauro and Sinergia had already helped coalesced a very active fandom. El Péndulo, considered by many one of the best SF magazine ever produced worldwide, contributed to cement the popularity of some of the best SF writers in Spanish including Angélica Gorodischer, Carlos Gardini, Ana María Shúa, and Sergio Gaut vel Hartman.

Unfortunately, very few of these works have been translated into English. Aside from Cosmos Latinos (s.below), which is probably the best bet for a non- Spanish teacher, Darrel Lockhart’s Guide can provide suggestions on authors that might be translated as part of fantastic anthologies and mislabeled.

Lecture

This is the lecture “Argentinean SF” by Dr. Silvia Kurlat Ares (Independent Scholar):

Videofile – MP4

Or download this link via right-click and “save as…”: Lecture

Essay

The introductory essay “Argentinean Science Fiction” by Dr. Silvia Kurlat Ares (Independent Scholar) is available for download here:

Ares, Silvia – “Argentinean Science Fiction”

 

Recommended Stories for In-Class Discussion

Bell, Andrea and Yolanda Molina-Galivan. Cosmos Latinos: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 2003.

This is virtually the only compendium of translated short stories from Latin America and includes “only” four short stories from Argentina. Pablo Capanna’s “Acronia” (1966), Eduardo Goligorsky’s “The Last Refuge” (1967), Alberto Vanasco’s “Post-Boomboom” (1967) and Angélica Gorodischer’s “The Violet’s Embryos” (1973). It is a great anthology to start exploration in Argentinian SF but teacher should embrace the option of adding some novels or (if language proficiency allows) original Spanish material.

Bioy Casares. The Invention of Morel. New York: NYRB Classics, 2003. [Orig. La invención de Morel. 1940. New York: Penguin, 1996.]
Gorodischer, Angélica. Trafalgar. Northampton: Small Beer Press, 2013. [Orig. Trafalgar. 1979. Buenos Aires: Página/12, Editorial La página, 2004.
Gorodischer, Angélica. Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was. Northampton: Small Beer Press, 2003. [Orig. Kalpa Imperial. 1983/84. Buenos Aires: Emecé, 2001.]
Lugones, Leopoldo. Strange Forces. Chicago: LALRP, 2001. [Orig. Las fuerzas extrañas. 1906. México: Cátedra, 2007.]

Recommendations for further authors and “misplaced” stories:

Lockhart, Darrell B. Latin American Science Fiction Writers: An A-to-Z Guide. Westport: Greenwood, 2004

Most of Borges’ essays can be found in translation in this volume:

Borges, Jorge L., and Eliot Weinberger. Selected Non-Fictions. New York: Viking, 2000.

 

Works in Spanish only:

Borges, Jorge L. Biblioteca Personal: Prólogos. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1988.
Cohen, Marcelo. El fin de lo mismo. Buenos Aires: Grupo Anaya, 1992.
Cohen, Marcelo. Los acuáticos. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2001.
Cohen, Marcelo. Donde yo no estaba, Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2006
Cohen, Marcelo. Casa de Ottro. Una historia del Delta Panorámico. Buenos Aires, Alfaguara, 2009.
Gardini, Carlos. Mi cerebro animal. Buenos Aires: Minotauro, 1983.
Gardini, Carlos. Juegos Malabares. Buenos Aires: Minotauro, 1984.
Gardini, Carlos. El Libro de las Voces. Buenos Aires, Página/12, Editorial La página, 2004.
Gorodischer, Angélica. Opus Dos. Buenos Aires: Minotauro, 1967.
Gorodischer, Angélica. Bajo las jubeas en flor. Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Flor, 1973.
Gorodischer, Angélica. Casta luna electrónica. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Andrómeda, 1977.
Gorodischer, Angélica. Las repúblicas. Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Flor, 1991.
Oesterheld, Héctor Germán y Francisco Solano López. El Eternauta. 1957-59. Buenos Aires: Norma Editorial, 2008
Quiroga, Horacio. El hombre artificial. El mono que asesinó. Madrid: Valdemar Ediciones, 1989.

 

You can find specialist sources on Latin American SF at the University of Florida, Tampa.

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MLA Citation for this page:

 

Video Lecture:
Ares, Silvia. “Argentinean Science Fiction”. Video Lecture. A Virtual Introduction to Science Fiction. Ed. Lars Schmeink. Web. 2013.
<http://virtual-sf.com/?page_id=806>.
Essay:
Ares, Silvia. “Argentinean Science Fiction”.  A Virtual Introduction to Science Fiction. Ed. Lars Schmeink. Web. 2013.
<http://virtual-sf.com/?page_id=806>. 1-14.
Info Page:
Ares, Silvia and Lars Schmeink. “Argentinean Science Fiction”. Web Page.  A Virtual Introduction to Science Fiction. Ed. Lars Schmeink.
Web. 2013.<http://virtual-sf.com/?page_id=806>.

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