From Publishers Weekly
Helpful explanatory notes, a comprehensive bibliography and a well-organized historical introduction all add value to this intriguing anthology, which contains 27 Spanish and Latin American SF stories, most of them brief, dating from 1862 to 2001. As the editors point out, Latino and Mediterranean countries are often perceived as consumers, if not victims, of the technology developed and sold by their northern neighbors. Hence, Latino writers tend to work with "soft" SF themes and a social science emphasis while incorporating Christian symbols and motifs, as in the powerful Cuban story "The Annunciation" (1983), or denouncing brutal totalitarian regimes, as in the shattering Brazilian "The Crystal Goblet" (1964). From Argentina, "Acronia" (1962), a frightening foreshadowing of an Orwellian online workplace, highlights the dangers of mechanization, while "The First Time" (1994), from Spain, postulates mental and moral decay as the end result of mindless consumerism. Flashes of wit and a gentler spirit (especially in the few stories by women) occasionally brighten this darkling plain of violence, perversions and utter hopelessness, but overall the political, social and economic turmoil that rocked Latin America in the 1970s and '80s seems still to pervade its science fiction, making for a gloomy, though instructive, reading experience.
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Cleverly caparisoned as a scholarly anthology, Cosmos Latinos
is a survey of Spanish and Portuguese sf from both sides of the Atlantic, most of it never before translated into English. Coverage begins in the nineteenth century and continues through the early years of the genre's definition to include many more recent than older stories. The introduction provides a historical overview of sf development in the Spanish-speaking world, and the notes accompanying the stories build useful contextual frameworks for appreciating the authors and their work. Many stories exploit familiar sf territory--the technologically advanced future, time travel and its repercussions, and so on--but obscurer corners are visited, too, as in an alternate Crucifixion occurring on a far-distant world just being explored by humans, and a recasting of the conquistadors as spacefarers. A welcome expansion of the sf terrain for Anglophones, especially since its scholarly trappings highlight how vital sf is in Latin America and Iberia. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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