SOBRE AUTORES CUBANOS DE CIENCIA FICCIÓN

Estas entrevistas no fueron hechas por mí, lean el texto y encontrarán el nombre del autor. Pero las publico en este blog con la intención de hacer publicidad a los escritores cubanos de ciencia ficción. Es una forma de ayudar un poquitico al género dentro de mis modestas posibilidades. Lean aquí y entérense de quiénes son los que escriben en Cuba sobre aliens, cyberpunk y aventuras del espacio. Estoy enviando un guiño cariñoso a los amigos que tengo entre estos escritores, y a los menos amigos también. A fin de cuentas, nunca me ha faltado sprit de corp aunque lo disimule con toda mi alma(y si no se escribe así, recuerden que en inglés soy lo más burro del planeta)

CUESTIONARIO – ESCRITORES DE CUBA
June 2009 Junio 2009
Translated by Daniel W. Koon Traducido por Daniel W. Koon
The original questions (in Spanish) and the authors’ original responses to be published at Guaicán Literario Las preguntas originales (en español) y las respuestas originales de los autores a ser publicados en Guaicán Literario

On their own work: En su propio trabajo:
Ricardo Acevedo E. Ricardo Acevedo E.
Denis Álvarez Denis Álvarez
Yadira Álvarez Betancourt Yadira Álvarez Betancourt
Carlos Duarte Cano Carlos Duarte Cano
Anabel Enríquez Piñero Anabel Enríquez Piñero
Erik Flores Erik Flores
Leonardo Gala Leonardo Gala
Eliete Lorenzo Vila Eliete Lorenzo Vila
Erick J. Mota Erick J. Mota
Elaine Vilar Madruga < < < NEW!! Elaine Vilar Madruga <<<nuevo!! Added 7/21/2009 Añadido 7/21/2009 On the state of Cuban SF&F: Sobre el estado de Cuba SF & F:
Leonardo Gala Leonardo Gala
Vladimir Hernández < < < NEW!! Vladimir Hernández <<<nuevo!! Added 7/21/2009 Añadido 7/21/2009
Juan Pablo Noroña Juan Pablo Noroña

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Ricardo Acevedo E. Ricardo Acevedo E.

1. 1. Your current occupation? Su ocupación actual?
Right now I’m between jobs, looking for even a temporary one. Ahora mismo estoy entre los puestos de trabajo, buscando aunque sea temporal.

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre? ¿Cómo y cuándo empezar en el género?
At fifteen, just about to turn sixteen (1985), I discovered the existence of the Oscar Hurtado literary workshop from a note in the magazine “Juventud Técnica”. A los quince años, justo a punto de cumplir los dieciséis años (1985), descubrí la existencia del taller de Oscar Hurtado literaria de una nota en la revista “Juventud Técnica”. I joined and became its youngest member. Me incorporé y se convirtió en el miembro más joven.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre? ¿Por qué elegiste este género?
Ever since I was little I loved to listen to the stories my grandfather would tell, and they were about things like space, science, beings from other worlds, and so on. Desde que era pequeña me gustaba escuchar las historias de mi abuelo decía, y eran cosas como el espacio, la ciencia, los seres de otros mundos, y así sucesivamente.

4. 4. Who were your teachers? ¿Quiénes fueron tus maestros?
HG Wells, with his “War of the worlds” HG Wells, con su “Guerra de los mundos”
Ray Bradbury and his “Martian Chronicles” Ray Bradbury y sus “Crónicas Marcianas”
The Strugasky brothers [Arkady and Boris] Los hermanos Strugasky [Arkadi y Boris]
Asimov, with his Foundation series Asimov, con su serie de la Fundación
Stanislaw Lem Stanislaw Lem
Brian Aldiss Brian W. Aldiss
Frederik Pohl and CM Kornbluth’s “Space Merchants” Frederik Pohl y CM Kornbluth “Espacio Comerciantes”
And I was lucky enough to share with the following locals: Y tuve la suerte de compartir con los locales siguientes:
Daina Chaviano Daína Chaviano
Bruno Henriquez Bruno Henríquez
Ricardo L. García Fumero Ricardo L. García Fumero

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre? ¿Quiénes son tus escritores favoritos de Cuba en el género?
Yoss Yoss
Raúl Aguiar Raúl Aguiar
Michel Encinosa Michel Encinosa
Bruno Henríquez Bruno Henríquez
Roberto Estrada Roberto Estrada
Eduardo Frank Eduardo Frank
Daína Chaviano Daína Chaviano

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about? ¿Cuáles son sus temas preferidos para escribir?
I don’t have any favorite, but I’m passionate about contact with other civilizations and about future technology. Yo no tengo ningún favorito, pero me apasiona el contacto con otras civilizaciones y sobre la tecnología de futuro.

7. 7. For whom do you write? ¿Para quién escribe usted?
Principally for me. Principalmente para mí. And so it’s hard for me to bring my creations out in public because I’m so demanding of myself. Y lo que es difícil para mí llevar mis creaciones en público, porque estoy tan exigente de mí mismo.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work. Háblenos de su obra literaria.
Although I don’t have a lot of publications, I mostly work with microstories, poetry, and short stories. Aunque no tengo una gran cantidad de publicaciones, que en su mayoría trabajan con microhistorias, poesía y cuentos.

9. 9. What are you doing currently? ¿Qué haces actualmente?
I’ma director of the digital magazine miNatura, created in Havana in 1999, and now continuing from Spain; it specializes in fantasy, science fiction, and horror microfiction. Soy el director de la miNatura revista digital, creada en La Habana en 1999, y ahora la continuación de España, se especializa en la fantasía, ciencia ficción, y microfiction horror. I’ve complemented this work by creating and promoting two literary contests, one for genre microfiction, now in its seventh year, and the other in poetry, which began just this year, and I serve as judge for both contests. He complementado este trabajo mediante la creación y la promoción de dos concursos literarios, uno para microfiction género, ahora en su séptimo año, y el otro en la poesía, que comenzó este año, y servir como juez para los dos concursos. I’m also member of the jury for the International Prize of Electronic Publishers. También soy miembro del jurado del Premio Internacional de Editores de electrónica. And a founding member of the Cultural Association miNatura Soterrania (miNatura Underground) which publicizes fantasy literature and science fiction in the region of Spain where I reside. Y miembro fundador de la miNatura Asociación Cultural Soterrania (Metro miNatura), que publica la literatura fantástica y de ciencia ficción en la región de España donde resido.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature? ¿Cuáles son los retos y las perspectivas de la literatura cubana SF & F?
The scarcity of literature and the non-existence of an important prize and a specialized criticism present special challenges for the Cuban writer that are only overcome through ingenuity and through fantastic realism. La escasez de la literatura y la no existencia de un importante premio y la crítica especializada plantea retos especiales para el escritor cubano que sólo se superó gracias a su ingenio ya través de realismo fantástico. The Cuban genre writer has created what has come to be called “La fantasia sucia”, or dirty fantasy, a mix of Gibsonian cyberpunk with the occasional Afro-Cuban traditional spice, that still does not abandon the purest SF. El escritor de género cubano ha creado lo que ha venido a ser llamada “La fantasia sucia”, o la fantasía sucia, una mezcla de cyberpunk gibsoniano con los afro-spice ocasionales tradicional cubana, que todavía no abandona la SF más puro.

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Ricardo Acevedo E. (Born: Havana, Cuba, 1969). Ricardo Acevedo E. (Fecha de nacimiento: La Habana, Cuba, 1969). Graduate in Naval and Civil Construction, studying journalism, marketing and advertising and working as instructor in civil construction at the Ernesto Che Guevara Palace of Pioneers in Havana. Licenciado en Ciencias Navales y de la Construcción Civil, estudiando periodismo, el marketing y la publicidad y trabajar como instructor en la construcción civil en la Ernesto Che Guevara Palacio de los Pioneros en La Habana. Currently residing in Spain. Actualmente reside en España. Literary works include membership in the following literary workshops: Oscar Hurtado, Negro Hueco, Leonor Pérez Cabrera Literary Workshop and Espiral. Las obras literarias, la pertenencia de los talleres literarios siguientes: Oscar Hurtado, Negro Hueco, Leonor Pérez Cabrera, Taller Literario y Espiral. He has been a member of the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Literary Creation Group. Ha sido miembro de la Onelio Jorge Cardoso Grupo de Creación Literaria. His work has appeared in the anthologies Secretos del Futuro (Editorial Sed de Belleza: Cuba, 2006), Crónicas del mañana, 50 años de cuentos cubanos de Ciencia Ficción (Editorial Revolución: Cuba, 2009). Su trabajo ha aparecido en las antologías Secretos del Futuro (Editorial Sed de Belleza: Cuba, 2006), Crónicas del mañana, de 50 años de cuentos cubanos de Ciencia Ficción (Editorial Revolución: Cuba, 2009).
He has won prizes in poetry and fiction, among them second place in the Revista Juventud Técnica Prize (Cuba) in 2006, with the story Incorpore Sano, first place in poetry Casa Canaria (Havana); Special prize Dinosaurio de microcuento 2006, and finalist in Dinosaurio de microcuento 2008. Ha ganado premios en poesía y ficción, entre ellos el segundo lugar en la Revista Técnica del Premio Juventud (Cuba) en 2006, con la historia Incorpore Sano, el primer lugar en la poesía Casa Canaria (La Habana), Premio especial de Dinosaurio microcuento de 2006, y finalista Dinosaurio de microcuento en 2008.
He is currently director (with Carmen Rosa Signes) of the digital magazine miNatura, which has just inaugurated the VII Certamen Internacional de microcuento Fantástico miNatura, which has promoted the field of fantasy microfiction since 1999; and he also promotes another contest in fantasy poetry that presented its first awards this year. Actualmente es el director (con Carmen Rosa Signes) miNatura de la revista digital, que acaba de inaugurar el VII Certamen Internacional de microcuento miNatura Fantástico, que ha promovido el ámbito de la microfiction fantasía desde 1999, y también promueve otro concurso en la poesía de fantasía que presenta sus primeros premios de este año.

Relevant websites: Sitios web relevantes:
Digital magazine miNatura: http://www.servercronos.net/bloglgc/index.php/minatura/ MiNatura revista digital: http://www.servercronos.net/bloglgc/index.php/minatura/
Blog miNatura-Soterrania: http://minaturasoterrania-monelle.blogspot.com/ MiNatura blog-Soterrania: http://minaturasoterrania-monelle.blogspot.com/

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Denis Álvarez Denis Álvarez

1. 1. Your current occupation? Su ocupación actual?
Researcher. Investigador.

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre? ¿Cómo y cuándo empezar en el género?
Five years ago I decided get back to writing, and some of my first stories were linked to the genre. Hace cinco años decidí volver a escribir, y algunos de mis primeras historias estaban relacionadas con el género.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre? ¿Por qué elegiste este género?
I think because it develops a taste for the sciences as well as its ties to fantasy. Creo que porque se desarrolla un gusto por las ciencias, así como sus vínculos con la fantasía.

4. 4. Who were your teachers? ¿Quiénes fueron tus maestros?
I didn’t have any teachers, but I did have guides, starting with Bradbury and the Soviet writers who created a very imaginative science fiction, such as Yefremov and the Strugatsky brothers. Yo no tenía ningún maestro, pero lo hice con guías, a partir de Bradbury y de los escritores soviéticos, que creó una ciencia ficción muy imaginativo, como Yefremov y los hermanos Strugatsky. And, of course, Asimov. Y, por supuesto, Asimov.

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre? ¿Quiénes son tus escritores favoritos de Cuba en el género?
Agustín de Rojas and Daína Chaviano. Agustín de Rojas y Daína Chaviano.

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about? ¿Cuáles son sus temas preferidos para escribir?
I don’t choose themes but I look for productive veins in the scientific news to mine for stories. No elijo los temas, pero yo busco para las venas productivas en las noticias científicas a las minas para las historias. I also try to develop an ironic science fiction associated with contemporary themes. También trato de desarrollar una ciencia ficción irónica relacionados con temas contemporáneos.

7. 7. For whom do you write? ¿Para quién escribe usted?
Principally for myself. Principalmente para mí. I like to reread my stories and to continually polish them. Me gusta leer mis historias y continuamente pulir.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work. Háblenos de su obra literaria.
It’s varied and I mostly write short stories. Es variada y sobre todo escribir cuentos. I work in several genres, but most of my stories are fantasy and SF. Yo trabajo en varios géneros, pero la mayoría de mis historias son la fantasía y ciencia ficción. Up until now I have only sent some stories to digital sites and my principal coup has been an honorable mention in the Ansible gathering in 2006. Hasta ahora sólo he enviado algunas historias a los sitios digitales y mi golpe principal ha sido una mención honorífica en la reunión Ansible en 2006.

9. 9. What are you doing currently? ¿Qué haces actualmente?
I continue to write. Sigo a escribir. I’d be happy to settle for a series of stories from the 23rd Century in which there are no extraterrestrials, just earthlings using their own technology to spread outward into space. Me encantaría que conformarse con una serie de historias de el siglo 23 en el que no hay extraterrestres, sólo terrícolas utilizando su propia tecnología para difundir hacia el espacio.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature? ¿Cuáles son los retos y las perspectivas de la literatura cubana SF & F?
To improve upon their professional skills, to work their way into the official publishing and distribution systems and regain the confidence of the officials inside. Para mejorar sus aptitudes profesionales, a trabajar su camino en la publicación oficial y los sistemas de distribución y recuperar la confianza de los funcionarios en su interior. Young people today, who could be the principal audience for SF, don’t have a taste for it, but prefer Fantasy. Los jóvenes de hoy, que podría ser el auditorio principal de la SF, no tienen un gusto por ella, pero prefieren Fantasy. Combining the two would be a way of attracting them. La combinación de los dos sería una forma de atraerlos. And I also see the last two years as a reversal, as many writers have abandoned the field. Y también veo a los dos últimos años como una inversión, como muchos escritores han abandonado el campo. And then there’s the lack of official support, and a small reading public… Y luego está la falta de apoyo oficial, y una lectura pequeña público …

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Yadira Álvarez Betancourt Yadira Álvarez Betancourt

1. 1. Your current occupation? Su ocupación actual?
Professor of Higher Education (Pedagogical University, Department of Special Education) Profesor de Educación Superior (Universidad Pedagógica del Departamento de Educación Especial)

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre? ¿Cómo y cuándo empezar en el género?
I was already writing in my twenties, horribly, and it was mostly fantasy. Yo ya estaba escrito en mis veintes, horriblemente, y fue sobre todo la fantasía. But publish? Pero publicar? Never. Nunca. Then (in 2005) I began to work at a digital news bulletin, “Informativo Estronia”, dedicated to information about and promotion of science fiction and fantasy within their distinctive creative contexts, and from there… Entonces (en 2005) comencé a trabajar en un boletín digital de noticias, “Informativo Estronia”, dedicado a la información y el fomento de la ciencia ficción y fantasía en sus contextos creativos distintivo, y de allí … well, here I am. Bueno, aquí estoy.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre? ¿Por qué elegiste este género?
Almost complete creative freedom, the possibility of playing around with impossibilities, even being able to translate situations from the real world and to modify them to adapt them to unreal environments. Casi total libertad creativa, la posibilidad de jugar con cosas imposibles, incluso siendo capaz de traducir las situaciones del mundo real y modificarlos para adaptarlos a entornos irreal. Analysis without alienation: not losing sight of reality, but not being immersed in it. Análisis sin alienación: no perder de vista la realidad, pero no estar inmerso en ella.

4. 4. Who were your teachers? ¿Quiénes fueron tus maestros?
First of all my parents, for guiding my tastes in literature, music and film, next the writers in workshops in the field, and, not least of all, Gonzalo Morán (co-editor of Informativo Estronia), Raúl Aguiar, Yoss… En primer lugar mis padres, para guiar mis gustos en la literatura, la música y el cine, junto a los escritores en los talleres en el campo, y, no menos importante de todos, Gonzalo Morán (co-editor del Informativo Estronia), Raúl Aguiar, Yoss .. .

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre? ¿Quiénes son tus escritores favoritos de Cuba en el género?
Daína Chaviano, Chely Lima, Agustín De Rojas. Daína Chaviano, Chely Lima, Agustín de Rojas.

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about? ¿Cuáles son sus temas preferidos para escribir?
I have no preferred theme: I still have lots to explore. No tengo ningún tema preferido: todavía tengo mucho que explorar.

7. 7. For whom do you write? ¿Para quién escribe usted?
For anybody who wants to take the effort to read me. Para cualquiera que quiera tomar la molestia de leer a mí.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work. Háblenos de su obra literaria.
Nothing published, but three stories awaiting publication in different anthologies. Nada de lo publicado, pero de tres pisos en espera de publicación en diferentes antologías. And articles published at the Fantasymundo.com site and in Informativo Estronia, all of them about SF&F books and films. Y ha publicado artículos en el sitio de Fantasymundo.com y en Estronia Informativo, todos ellos sobre SF & F libros y películas.

9. 9. What are you doing currently? ¿Qué haces actualmente?
Trying to get my feet on the ground (I do have to live), and pushing myself to the max to finish a series of SF stories and a novel of epic fantasy in spite of all the challenges of everyday life. Tratando de poner mis pies en el suelo (que tiene que vivir), y empujando a mí mismo al máximo para terminar una serie de historias de ciencia ficción y una novela de fantasía épica, a pesar de todos los desafíos de la vida cotidiana.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature? ¿Cuáles son los retos y las perspectivas de la literatura cubana SF & F?
The challenges? Los desafíos? Almost zero chance of publishing, too many delays in the editorial process, little appreciation for the genre in the most prestigious literary circles, practically no institutional help, and one long and uncomfortable et cetera. Casi nula posibilidad de publicar, muchas demoras en el proceso editorial, poco aprecio por el género en los círculos literarios más prestigiosos, prácticamente sin ayuda institucional, y un largo e incómodo, etcétera. Prospects? Perspectivas? Very sad. Muy triste. The directors of [publishing house] Gente Nueva seems interested in promoting SF&F, and I thank them for that; but notice that aside from the Calendario there are presently no prizes in those fields, practically no national competitions for the creators of science fiction and fantasy, and we are marginalized and demonized because of the many ignorant people walking around right now saying that they are “vampires” and “werewolves”, and so there are pronouncements against reading, watching or believing any science fiction and fantasy, in order to avoid sowing “escapism” and alienation in a youth that, truth be told, doesn’t need our books to flee reality. Los directores de [editorial] Gente Nueva parece interesado en la promoción de SF & F, y les agradezco por eso, pero nota que aparte de los Calendario actualmente no hay premios en esos campos, prácticamente no las competiciones nacionales para los creadores de la ciencia ficción y fantasía , y estamos marginados y satanizado por la gente ignorante caminando ahora diciendo que son “vampiros” y “hombres lobo”, y así hay declaraciones en contra de leer, ver o creer cualquier ciencia-ficción y la fantasía, a fin de evitar “siembra de escapismo” y la alienación en una juventud que, a decir verdad, no necesita de nuestros libros a huir de la realidad. (In fact, I’m certain that the vampires and werewolves in question have not read any more than three books in their lives.) (De hecho, estoy seguro de que los vampiros y hombres lobo en cuestión no han leído más de tres libros en su vida.)

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Carlos Duarte Cano Carlos Duarte Cano

1. 1. Your current occupation? Su ocupación actual?
Researcher, Doctor in Biological Sciences (PhD in Biology) Investigador, Doctor en Ciencias Biológicas (PhD en Biología)

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre? ¿Cómo y cuándo empezar en el género?
Around September of 2005, I found myself in a transitional stage between two research projects and able to enjoy a bit more “free time” than I had previously had. Alrededor de septiembre de 2005, me encontraba en una etapa de transición entre dos proyectos de investigación y poder disfrutar de un poco más “tiempo libre” de lo que había tenido anteriormente. Through Argentine writer Sergio Gaut vel Hartman I found “Taller 7” [Workshop 7], a virtual Internet workshop dedicated to fantasy literature, and I decided to try my luck. A través de el escritor argentino Sergio Gaut vel Hartman encontré “Taller 7” [Taller 7], un seminario virtual en Internet dedicado a la literatura fantástica, y decidí probar mi suerte.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre? ¿Por qué elegiste este género?
It picked me. Se eligió a mí. I did it instinctively since I’ve always loved science fiction. Lo hice por instinto ya que siempre me ha gustado la ciencia ficción. I began as a kid reading the “pulp fiction” stories of my brother with writers like Clarck Carrados and Law Space, who I just recently came to discover were Spaniards. Empecé como un niño leyendo la “pulp fiction” historias de mi hermano con escritores como Clarck Carrados y de Derecho del Espacio, a quien recientemente llegó a descubrir eran españoles. When I was 9 or 10 I wrote a couple of stories with that theme, failing to win the praise of my grandparents, my “literary career” remained in hibernation until I was 43. Cuando tenía 9 o 10 escribí un par de historias con ese tema, de no haber ganado los elogios de mis abuelos, mi “carrera literaria” se quedó en hibernación hasta que tuve 43. As an adult I continued to enjoy SF for its eminently speculative character of the field, which combines a good dose of imagination and a little bit of science to generate works that can be simultaneously entertaining and intellectually stimulating. Como adulto que siguió disfrutando de SF por su carácter eminentemente especulativo del terreno, que combina una buena dosis de imaginación y un poco de ciencia para generar obras que pueden ser a la vez entretenido e intelectualmente estimulante.

4. 4. Who were your teachers? ¿Quiénes fueron tus maestros?
First of all my past readings. En primer lugar, mis lecturas anteriores. Becoming as a writer in one’s forties has that advantage: you’ve read enough to be able to appreciate when what you’re doing has achieved an acceptable quality. Convertirse en un escritor en uno de los cuarenta tiene esa ventaja: usted ha leído lo suficiente como para poder apreciar cuando lo que está haciendo ha alcanzado una calidad aceptable. I learned enough in Taller 7 from the critiques of my peers or from more experienced writers. He aprendido lo suficiente en el Taller 7 de las críticas de mis compañeros o de los escritores más experimentados. Rolando Pajón and Yssel Mendoza helped me with my first literary babblings, friends who had intervened more or less on the how-to of writing. Rolando Pajón Yssel Mendoza y me ayudaron con mis primeros balbuceos literarios, los amigos que habían intervenido de forma más o menos en el cómo-a de la escritura. Yoss, who I visited one memorable afternoon to show him the three stories I had written, has always been very cooperative and stimulating. Yoss, que visité una tarde memorable para mostrarle las tres historias que había escrito, siempre ha sido muy cooperativo y estimulante. The rest was mostly self-taught, as I tried to learn from my favorite writers: LeGuin, the Strugatsky brothers, Pohl, Lem, Sturgeon, Tolkien, Simmons, among others. El resto fue principalmente autodidacta, como he tratado de aprender de mis escritores favoritos: Le Guin, los hermanos Strugatski, Pohl, Lem, Esturión, Tolkien, Simmons, entre otros.

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre? ¿Quiénes son tus escritores favoritos de Cuba en el género?
The first story by a Cuban SF writer to leave an impact on me was Ángel Arango’s “Un inesperado Visitante” [An unexpected visitor], which has always seemed to me to be world-class writing. La primera historia de un escritor cubano SF dejar un impacto en mí fue Ángel Arango “Un inesperado visitante” [Una visita inesperada], que siempre me pareció que el mundo-clase de escritura. Then Agustín de Rojas made me tremble with “Espiral” [Spiral] and, even if his other two novels are better written, reading them does not compare to the unrepeatable dazzling pleasure that his first novel produced. Luego, Agustín de Rojas me hizo temblar de “Espiral” [Espiral] y, aunque sus otras dos novelas son mejores por escrito, su lectura no se compara con el placer deslumbrante irrepetible que su primera novela producida. Later it was Daína with her “Fábula de una Abuela Extraterrestre” [Fable of an extraterrestrial grandmother]. Más tarde se Daína con su “Fábula de una abuela Extraterrestre” [Fábula de una abuela extraterrestre]. Later I discovered Yoss, whose short stories I enjoy more than his novels. Más tarde descubrí Yoss, cuyos cuentos me gusta más de sus novelas. Next followed Michel [Encinosa] from whom, however, I prefer the marvels of that more recognizable Sotreun [one of Encinosa’s fictional universes], to the eternal neon sterility of Ofidia [the other], and last but not least, Juan Pablo Noroña, whose short stories enjoy the double bonus of excellent ideas and exquisite prose. Luego siguió Michel [Encinosa] a partir de los cuales, sin embargo, prefiero las maravillas de la que Sotreun más reconocible [uno de los universos de ficción Encinosa’s], a la esterilidad de neón eterna de Ofidia [el otro], y, por último pero no menos importante, Juan Pablo Noroña, cuyas historias cortas disfrutar de la doble bono de excelentes ideas y la prosa exquisita.

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about? ¿Cuáles son sus temas preferidos para escribir?
I don’t think I have a thematic predilection. No creo que tengo una predilección temática. SF lends itself to whichever angle the writer wishes — love, war, migration, racism, the problems of gender, sport, humor – there’s room for all of it. FS se presta a que sea el ángulo de los deseos escritor – el amor, la guerra, la migración, el racismo, los problemas de género, deporte, humor – que hay espacio para todo. But I think that good SF has to be speculative, to make the reader think and to touch on human conflicts in one form or the other, while still remaining entertaining. Pero creo que el SF tiene que ser bien especulativo, para que el lector piense y tocar en los conflictos humanos de una forma u otra, sin dejar de ser entretenida.

7. 7. For whom do you write? ¿Para quién escribe usted?
For myself, first of all, because I enjoy writing and it allows me to disconnect from my daily problems, of which there are plenty. Para mí, en primer lugar, porque me gusta escribir y me permite desconectar de mis problemas diarios, de los cuales hay muchos. On the other hand, writing allows me to express things that I carry inside and that I would have a hard time expressing in any other way, because I am an introvert and pretty shy. Por otro lado, la escritura me permite expresar cosas que llevo dentro y que iba a tener dificultades para expresar de ninguna otra manera, porque yo soy una persona introvertida y muy tímida. Or rather, in a certain fashion, writing is an act of catharsis. O más bien, en cierta manera, la escritura es un acto de catarsis. Beyond that it’s marvelous that someone can find what I write to be interesting or simply entertaining and, if somehow I get paid for it, that more than makes up for whatever else may be missing. Más allá de que es maravilloso que alguien pueda encontrar lo que yo escribo para ser interesante o simplemente entretenido y, si de alguna manera me han pagado por él, que más que compensa cualquier cosa que falte.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work. Háblenos de su obra literaria.
I don’t have a lot written, since I haven’t been creating for long. No tengo mucho escrito, ya que no han ido creando durante mucho tiempo. My work requires a lot of dedication and then there’s my family: I have four children, and the two littlest ones take a lot of my time. Mi trabajo requiere mucha dedicación y luego está mi familia: tengo cuatro hijos, y los dos más pequeños requieren de mucho tiempo. Then there are those “terrible, small delights of the home” as Silvio Rodríguez puts it. Luego están los “terribles, pequeñas delicias de la casa”, como dice Silvio Rodríguez. And so I only have about twenty stories. Y por lo que sólo unos veinte cuentos. Five of these have been published, and others are in the process. Cinco de ellos han sido publicados, y otros están en el proceso. There are also several on the Internet, principally at Axxón. También hay varios en Internet, principalmente en Axxón. I’ve been lucky to have won a couple of contests and to have had one of my stories selected for the 2008 Fabricantes de Sueños [Dream Makers] anthology. He tenido la suerte de haber ganado un par de concursos y de haber tenido uno de mis relatos seleccionados para el 2008 Fabricantes de Sueños [Dream Makers] antología.

9. 9. What are you doing currently? ¿Qué haces actualmente?
I recently finished a work for the 2009 Edad de Oro competition, and I will try to finish up several stories that are only half done. Hace poco terminé una obra para el 2009 la competencia Edad de Oro, y voy a tratar de terminar varias historias que están a medio hacer. I am collaborating as coordinator of Guaicán and of the Espacio Abierto Literary Workshop, a new literary workshop that continues the tradition of earlier workshops such as Jules Verne, Oscar Hurtado, El Negro Hueco, and most recently Espiral. Estoy colaborando como coordinador de Guaicán y del Espacio Taller Literario Abierto, un taller literario que sigue la tradición de los talleres anteriores, tales como Julio Verne, Oscar Hurtado, El Hueco Negro y, más recientemente Espiral. I think it’s necessary for the less experienced writers. Creo que es necesario que los escritores menos experimentados. I should have been planning my first novel but I still see it as a distant goal. Debería haber estado planeando mi primera novela, pero aún lo ven como un objetivo lejano. It must be the sensation of not having enough time that pushes me to write short stories. Debe ser la sensación de no tener tiempo suficiente como para que me empuja a escribir cuentos.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature? ¿Cuáles son los retos y las perspectivas de la literatura cubana SF & F?
I think the biggest challenge is to create good literature and to have it be seen as such. Creo que el mayor desafío es crear buena literatura y tener que ser visto como tal. As the critical mass of writers doing it grows, it grows harder to keep ignoring it. Como la masa crítica de escritores haciendo que crece, se hace más difícil mantener ignorarlo. That’s why we must keep on working and stop blaming others. Es por eso que debemos seguir trabajando y dejar de culpar a otros. We can’t just sit around and wait for them to take our texts out of our hands to turn them over to the printers. No podemos quedarnos sentados y esperar a que nos los textos fuera de nuestras manos para darles la vuelta a las impresoras. “The path is made by walking,” as the poet [Antonio Machado] says. “El camino se hace al andar”, como el poeta [Antonio Machado] dice. There are those who think that you get further by walking alone and by stepping on those that come behind, but I think that cooperating and helping each other increases our own possibilities. Hay quienes piensan que si usted está lejos de caminar en solitario y por la intensificación en los que vienen detrás, pero creo que la cooperación y la ayuda mutua otros aumentos nuestras propias posibilidades.
Another major goal and the dream of writers and fans is to one day have a Cuban print SF magazine. Otro de los objetivos principales y el sueño de los escritores y los aficionados es un día un cubano de impresión SF revista. It’s needed, and I hope to see it one day, even if admitting this makes me guilty of utopian optimism. Es necesario, y espero ver algún día, incluso admitiendo esto me hace culpable de optimismo utópico.
Prospects? Perspectivas? In the precarious world in which we live, the future is unpredictable, and that’s what makes it such a rich topic to write about. En el mundo de precariedad en la que vivimos, el futuro es impredecible, y eso es lo que hace que sea un tema tan rico para escribir sobre él.

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Anabel Enríquez Piñero Anabel Enríquez Piñero

1. 1. Your current occupation? Su ocupación actual?
I presently work in the field of institutional communication and public relations. Yo actualmente trabajo en el campo de la comunicación institucional y relaciones públicas. I have a degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Communications Sciences. Tengo un título en psicología y una maestría en Ciencias de la Comunicación. I also work as a television screenwriter. Yo también trabajo como guionista de televisión.

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre? ¿Cómo y cuándo empezar en el género?
Around 1990 I wrote my first science fiction story and my first article, both of which were published much later (the article first, incidentally). Alrededor de 1990 escribí mi primer relato de ciencia ficción y mi primer artículo, los cuales fueron publicados mucho más tarde (el primer artículo, por cierto). Then my interest in science fiction narrative was interrupted by a stage where I wrote a lot in verse. Entonces mi interés en la narrativa de ciencia ficción, fue interrumpida por una etapa en la que escribí mucho en verso. Still, I read a lot and wrote sketches for fantasy novels that I left half-finished and forgotten. Sin embargo, he leído un montón de dibujos y escribió novelas de fantasía que he dejado a medio terminar y olvidado. Around 2000 I returned to the field with a more sustained effort. Alrededor del año 2000 regresé al campo con un esfuerzo más sostenido. I’ve published articles in digital and print magazines and a book of stories (“Nada que declarar” [Nothing to declare], Casa Editora Abril, 2007), I have been included in two anthologies [“Secretos del Futuro” [Secrets of the Future], published by Sed de Bellezas in 2005; and “Crónicas del mañana” [Chronicles of tomorrow], 2009)… He publicado artículos en revistas digitales y de impresión y un libro de cuentos declarar ( “Nada que” [nada que declarar], Casa Editora Abril, 2007), que han sido incluidos en dos antologías [ “Secretos del Futuro” [Secretos de la el futuro], publicado por la Sed de Bellezas en 2005, y “Crónicas del mañana” [Crónicas de mañana], 2009) … not much, really, for a 35 year old. no mucho, en realidad, para un 35 años de edad.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre? ¿Por qué elegiste este género?
It must be, first of all, because my family never inhibited my imagination. Es preciso, en primer lugar, porque mi familia nunca inhibido mi imaginación. Secondly, because I belong to a privileged generation, one that lived through boom times in our childhood and part of our teenage years that allowed us to dream, to jump the barrier of material immediacy: a generation of hopes. En segundo lugar, porque pertenezco a una generación privilegiada, que vivió tiempos de auge en nuestra infancia y parte de nuestra adolescencia que nos permitió soñar, saltar la barrera de la inmediatez material: una generación de esperanzas. Thirdly, and as a consequence of the last, because it comes naturally to me. En tercer lugar, y como consecuencia de la última, porque es algo natural para mí. I don’t have to force my stories into the genre; it’s where they’re grown, and they are expressed in terms of the genre, without any special effort. No tengo la fuerza de mis historias en el género, es donde están aumentado, y que se expresan en términos de género, sin ningún esfuerzo especial. So, why not go with that? Así que, ¿por qué no ir con eso?

4. 4. Who were your teachers? ¿Quiénes fueron tus maestros?
I owe my encounter with the field at age eleven to Agustin de Rojas, my hometown colleague and friend, by way of his second novel. Le debo mi encuentro con el campo a los once años a Agustín de Rojas, ciudad natal de mi colega y amigo, por medio de su segunda novela. Reading “Una leyenda del futuro” [A legend of the future] at that age left its mark on me for life. Lectura “Una leyenda del futuro” [Una leyenda del futuro] a esa edad dejó su huella en mí para la vida. And if you then find out that that writer lives in your own city, well… Y si luego descubrimos que el escritor que vive en su propia ciudad, bueno … it’s like a miracle. Es como un milagro. I was fifteen when I had my first chance to speak with Agustín, and it was an incredible experience, for it confirmed for me the human quality that shone through in his text. Tenía quince años cuando tuve mi primera oportunidad de hablar con Agustín, y fue una experiencia increíble, ya que me confirmó la calidad humana que brilló en su texto. I had the opportunity to read “El Año 200” [The Year 200] before it was published, and to have access to his library of science fiction and fantasy literature, which was an incredible privilege for a teenager from the sticks. Tuve la oportunidad de leer “El Año 200” [el año 200] antes de su publicación, y de tener acceso a su biblioteca de ciencia ficción y literatura fantástica, que era un privilegio increíble para un adolescente de los palos. I got to know the work of Anne McCaffery, of Harlan Ellison, of Brian Aldiss, of many many Hugo and Nebula award winners, thanks to that friendship with Agustín, and he, undoubtedly clinched my irreversible attraction to the genre. Llegué a conocer la obra de Anne McCaffrey, de Harlan Ellison, de Brian Aldiss, de Hugo y muchos, muchos ganadores de los premios Nebula, gracias a que la amistad con Agustín, y él, sin duda, ha conseguido mi atracción irreversible al género. Some of my friends condemn me, I still don’t know whether in jest or seriously, because my stories have the dramatic influence of Agustín’s work. Algunos de mis amigos me condenan, yo todavía no sé si en broma o en serio, porque mis historias tienen la dramática influencia del trabajo de Agustín. I don’t know if it’s true, but if it is, that would not bother me in the least. No sé si es verdad, pero si lo es, que no me molestaría en lo más mínimo.

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre? ¿Quiénes son tus escritores favoritos de Cuba en el género?
From the backyard, Agustín de Rojas and Michel Encinosa (the Michel who wrote “Sol Negro”, “Haramanaz”, even the one who wrote “Niños de Neón” and “Veredas”) are my favorites. Desde el patio trasero, Agustín de Rojas y Michel Encinosa (Michel, quien escribió “Sol negro”, “Haramanaz”, incluso el que escribió “Niños de Neón” y “Veredas”) son mis favoritos. The first one brought me to science fiction, the second one to heroic fantasy, and I feel very happy for having been introduced to both genres by writers from my own country. El primero me llevó a la ciencia ficción, la segunda a la fantasía heroica, y me siento muy feliz por haber sido introducido a ambos géneros por los escritores de mi propio país.

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about? ¿Cuáles son sus temas preferidos para escribir?
There are scholars who say that every writer has a ‘recurring theme’ or motif in their narratives, and although their stories may vary in their external appearance, in their characters, or in their circumstances, the writers always write about the same thing: loneliness, vulnerability, resentment… Hay expertos que dicen que cada escritor tiene un “tema recurrente o motivo en sus relatos, y aunque sus historias pueden variar en su aspecto exterior, en sus personajes, o en su caso, los escritores siempre escriben sobre lo mismo: la soledad , la vulnerabilidad, el resentimiento … Sometimes I try to figure out what theme defines me, what theme is hiding behind the story I think I’m telling, whether it is an adventure in deep space, or in some lost colony, or in a near future. A veces me tratan de averiguar lo que me define el tema, ¿qué tema se esconde detrás de la historia creo que estoy diciendo, si se trata de una aventura en el espacio profundo, o en alguna colonia perdida, o en un futuro próximo. I think that I would have to leave that up to the readers: they rediscover you every day. Creo que tendría que dejar que hasta los lectores: que redescubrir que todos los días. On a more practical level, I write about human drama, about conflicts caused and sustained by technological change and about fears, wishes and hopes. En un plano más práctico, escribo sobre el drama humano, acerca de los conflictos provocada y sostenida por el cambio tecnológico y sobre los miedos, deseos y esperanzas. What else is literature about? ¿Qué otra cosa es la literatura acerca de?

7. 7. For whom do you write? ¿Para quién escribe usted?
I write to communicate with someone, a hypothetical reader sometimes, sometimes a more concrete audience that I sense might be a possible outlet for my stories. Les escribo para comunicarse con alguien, un lector hipotético a veces, a veces, a un público más concreto que he sentido podría ser una salida posible para mis historias. Clearly I write because I enjoy it, because of an inner need, because creating produces a state of personal satisfaction in me, but I don’t just write for me. Es evidente que escribo porque me divierte, porque de una necesidad interna, porque la creación produce un estado de satisfacción personal en mí, pero no me acaba de escribir para mí. If I did, I would just keep a diary instead of writing stories or novels. Si lo hiciera, sólo quiero llevar un diario en vez de escribir cuentos o novelas.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work. Háblenos de su obra literaria.
What can I say? ¿Qué puedo decir? Perhaps that I enjoy threading the path between hard SF and sociological SF; that I incorporate historical elements in my stories; that I pay a lot of attention to my characters and that I prefer to write in the first person. Tal vez eso me gusta enhebrar la ruta entre el SF y SF duro sociológica, que incorpore los elementos históricos en mis historias, que me prestan mucha atención a mis personajes, y que yo prefiero escribir en primera persona. That I have a novel I’ve been finishing up for over ten years in which I somehow apply almost everything I know about neuropsychology and marketing into a kind of social experiment set against the backdrop of a lost colony, or that in addition to this fictional universe “Axãralán”, I have created a role-playing game, and a few other stories. Que tengo una novela que he estado terminando por más de diez años en los que de alguna manera se aplican casi todo lo que sé acerca de la neuropsicología y la comercialización en una especie de experimento social, con el trasfondo de una colonia perdida, o que además de esta ficción universo “Axãralán”, he creado un juego de rol, y algunas historias de otros. The rest of the stories can’t be grouped together in a common context, other than the Kay and Kirk stories about two explorers locked in an eternal dispute, whose universe I share with the writer Erick J. Mota. El resto de las historias no se pueden agrupar en un contexto común, que no sea el Kay y Kirk historias sobre dos exploradores atrapados en un conflicto eterno, cuyo universo que comparto con el escritor Erick J. Mota. As a columnist I enjoy confronting issues of gender, the process of creation, and analyzing the work of national writers. Como columnista Me gusta afrontar las cuestiones de género, el proceso de creación, y el análisis de la obra de escritores nacionales. As a promoter of the genre I’ve been a founding member since 2000 of the literary workshop Espiral, redefined as the Espiral Creation Group in 2004. Como promotor de este género que he sido miembro fundador desde 2000 del taller literario Espiral, redefinido como la creación del Grupo Espiral en 2004. As a member of that group I’ve participated in the organizing committees of some twelve national events, festivals or theoretical meetings, such as Ansible (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Villaficción 2002, Council of Lorien (2004, 2005, 2006) and Arco de Korad (2007), as well as in organizing the “Arena” Contest for short stories, over its four years. Como miembro de ese grupo que he participado en los comités organizadores de una docena de eventos nacionales, festivales o reuniones teóricas, como Ansible (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Villaficción 2002, el Consejo de Lorien (2004, 2005, 2006 ) y el Arco de Korad (2007), así como en la organización de la “Arena” Concurso de relatos cortos, sobre sus cuatro años.

9. 9. What are you doing currently? ¿Qué haces actualmente?
Finishing the scripts for a series of sports adventures of 72 half-hour chapters for Cuban television. De acabado el guión de una serie de aventuras de deportes de los 72 capítulos de media hora para la televisión cubana. It’s called “Adrenalina 360” and we’ve got our hands full writing it, all ten of them. Se llama “Adrenalina 360” y tenemos las manos llenas de escritura, todo diez de ellos. 80% of our team are science fiction or fantasy writers. El 80% de nuestro equipo son los escritores de ciencia ficción o fantasía. So I don’t have to tell you that it is a series with a fantasy bias, plus we have managed to sneak in our own references: an allusion to a film here, an homage to a novel there… Así que no tengo que decirte que es una serie con un sesgo de fantasía, además de que hemos logrado colarse en nuestras propias referencias: una alusión a una película aquí, un homenaje a una novela hay … and occasionally the story allows to ignore the limits of how things work in the regular world. y en ocasiones la historia permite hacer caso omiso de los límites de cómo funcionan las cosas en el mundo ordinario. We hope to get it to the Cuban public in 2010. Esperamos poder conseguir que el público cubano en 2010. And updating many stories and essays that these nearly two years of writing the series have led me to abandon. Y muchas historias de actualización y ensayos que estos casi dos años de escribir la serie me han llevado a abandonar. This ought to keep my own two hands full, to which I add those of my husband, Javier de la Torre, with whom I am beginning to write a novel (alongside the TV series) of historic fiction with many fantasy elements. Esto debe mantener mis dos manos llenas, a la que añadir las de mi esposo, Javier de la Torre, con quien estoy empezando a escribir una novela (junto con la serie de televisión) de la ficción histórica con muchos elementos de fantasía.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature? ¿Cuáles son los retos y las perspectivas de la literatura cubana SF & F?
The biggest challenge is to keep going and to grow as a movement. El mayor reto es seguir adelante y crecer como movimiento. The history of the genre in Cuba is a history of interruptions and discontinuity. La historia del género en Cuba es una historia de las interrupciones y discontinuidad. As with so much of our national reality, it seems like we need to reinvent the wheel every time a handful of new writers bursts onto the stage. Como en gran parte de nuestra realidad nacional, parece que tenemos que reinventar la rueda cada vez que un puñado de nuevos estallidos de escritores en el escenario. Generational ties have come apart, and this is due in good part to migratory exodus and to lukewarm publishers, and not only does it affect science fiction, but it does so in cycles, affecting them in the worst way. Lazos generacionales han separado, y esto es debido en buena parte al éxodo migratorio a los editores y tibio, y no sólo afecta a la ciencia ficción, pero lo hace en ciclos, que les afectan en la peor manera. The creators who have stayed in Cuba, who were already well known in the 80s and 90s, have become a bit isolated. Los creadores que han permanecido en Cuba, que ya eran bien conocidos en los años 80 y 90 años, se han vuelto un poco aislado. Even the most recent generation of writers is suffering from those effects. Incluso la generación más reciente de los escritores es el sufrimiento de esos efectos. It is difficult to maintain a movement with so much fluctuation, even more so if it has always been a minority genre. Es difícil mantener un movimiento con las fluctuaciones tanto, más aún si siempre ha sido un género minoritario. Still, there are workshops and annual events, and personal development for the recognition of the genre (and incidentally for the person doing the development). Sin embargo, hay talleres y eventos anuales, y el desarrollo personal para el reconocimiento del género (y de paso para la persona que hace el desarrollo). One barely manages to increase a little the number of books published annually and already a black cloud of upcoming editorial restrictions and economic crisis is looming, threatening to flood the floor even as it’s starting to recover from the last storm to batter the body of our national fantasy literature. Uno apenas logra aumentar un poco el número de libros publicados anualmente y negro ya una nube de restricciones editoriales próximo y la crisis económica es inminente, amenaza con inundar el suelo incluso cuando está comenzando a recuperarse de la última tormenta para golpear el cuerpo de nuestro Sistema Nacional de la literatura fantástica. On the other hand, let’s not kid ourselves, even if the literature of fantasy — science fiction, fantasy, horror, the absurd – catches the attention of a lot of readers, there aren’ta lot of writers involved in it. Por otro lado, no nos engañemos, aunque la literatura fantástica – ciencia ficción, fantasía, terror, el absurdo – llama la atención de muchos de los lectores, no hay muchos escritores que participan en él. Still, new writers arise from among the ranks of the readers. Sin embargo, los nuevos escritores surgen de entre las filas de los lectores. We are approaching a dangerous stage, one in which the young people who are at the age of leaning toward literary creation have little or no background in the fantasy literature, and if you add to that that Hollywood produces ever less edifying genre films, the landscape for our future writers is rather dystopic. Nos estamos acercando a una etapa peligrosa, en la que los jóvenes que están en la edad de la inclinación hacia la creación literaria tienen poca o ninguna experiencia en la literatura fantástica, y si se agrega a la que Hollywood produce cada vez menos películas de género de edificación, el paisaje para nuestros futuros escritores es más bien distópica. I believe, however, that there are people with a lot of potential that if they work in earnest can leave a very important impact this decade on the future of the genre in Cuba, if they can manage to get it to print, of course. Creo, sin embargo, que hay gente con mucho potencial que si trabajan en serio puede dejar un impacto muy importante en esta década sobre el futuro del género en Cuba, si logran llegar a la impresión, por supuesto. I am talking about more or less newer writers like Carlos Duarte, Erick Mota, Sigrid Victoria, Javier de la Torre, Duchy Man, Alberto Mesa, Eliete Lorenzo, Abel Ballester, Gabriel Gil, Leonardo Gala, Elaine Vilar, Yadira Álvarez, Jeffrey Dueñas, Ricardo Acevedo, Istvan Bent… very different and very personal styles; of others who venture into fantasy occasionally but very skillfully like those two citizens from Holguín [in Eastern Cuba], Rubén R. Rodríguez y Víctor Hugo Pérez Gallo, and of those, although already known and published, who will perhaps write the fantasy work of their lives this decade. Estoy hablando de más o menos nuevos escritores como Carlos Duarte, Erick Mota, Sigrid Victoria, Javier de la Torre, Ducado Man, Alberto Mesa, Eliete Lorenzo, Abel Ballester, Gabriel Gil, Leonardo Gala, Elaine Vilar, Yadira Álvarez, Jeffrey Dueñas , Ricardo Acevedo, Istvan Bent … muy diferentes y estilos personales, de otros que se aventuran en la fantasía de vez en cuando, pero muy hábilmente, como los dos ciudadanos de Holguín [en el este de Cuba], Rubén R. Rodríguez y Víctor Hugo Pérez Gallo, y de ellos, aunque ya conocidos y publicados, que tal vez va a escribir la obra de fantasía de sus vidas de esta década. I’m referring to Yoss, Raúl Aguiar, Michel Encinosa, Juan Pablo Noroña, or Raúl Flores. Me estoy refiriendo a Yoss, Raúl Aguiar, Michel Encinosa, Juan Pablo Noroña, o Raúl Flores.

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Erik Flores Erik Flores

1. 1. Your current occupation? Su ocupación actual?
These days I’m working at a computer factory, although the job I’ve worked at longest has been Microprocessor Operator. En estos días estoy trabajando en una fábrica de computadoras, aunque el trabajo que he trabajado en el más largo ha sido de microprocesador operador.

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre? ¿Cómo y cuándo empezar en el género?
In 2004, my literary partner, Jesús B. Minsal Díaz, (with whom I create and sign all my works) and I tried to create a substitute for the defunct Cuban comics magazine “Comicos”, in which we had hoped to include stories of our own. En 2004, mi pareja literaria, Jesús Minsal Díaz B., (con el que crear y firmar todas mis obras) y traté de crear un sustituto de la difunta revista cubana cómics “Comicos”, en la que habíamos esperado para incluir historias de la nuestra. Given the almost total closure of the genre of comics in our country (due to scarcity of raw materials, along with other less convincing justifications), and essentially, because of the discrimination it faces along with all the other unfortunately-labeled “subgenres” (that is: science fiction, fantasy and horror) that formed and continue to form 100% of our creations, we found ourselves needing to find another escape route and way to realize the stories that we wanted to create. Teniendo en cuenta el cierre casi total del género del cómic en nuestro país (debido a la escasez de materias primas, junto con otras menos justificaciones convincentes), y, esencialmente, debido a la discriminación que enfrenta junto con todos los otros por desgracia-la etiqueta “subgéneros” ( es decir: la ciencia ficción, fantasía y terror) que se formaron y siguen formando el 100% de nuestras creaciones, nos encontramos en la necesidad de encontrar otra vía de escape y la forma de realizar las historias que queríamos crear. That’s how, without intending to, we fell into the world of literature, which as we always say is the mother of everything. Así es como, sin proponérselo, que cayó en el mundo de la literatura, que como siempre decimos es la madre de todo. From that moment, we began to write our stories, trying even today to further improve our plots and prose. A partir de ese momento, empezamos a escribir nuestras historias, tratando incluso hoy en día para mejorar aún más nuestras parcelas y prosa.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre? ¿Por qué elegiste este género?
In reality I have to admit that Science Fiction is not my forte, at least not Hard SF. En realidad tengo que admitir que la ciencia ficción no es mi fuerte, por lo menos no duro SF. I consider myself closer to Fantasy and Horror, but it is also necessary to clarify that the barriers between these genres are becoming ever thinner and easy to cross in every sense. Yo me considero más cercano a la fantasía y horror, pero también es necesario aclarar que las barreras entre los géneros son cada vez más delgado y fácil de cruzar en todos los sentidos. That’s why some of our works (Jesús Minsal’s and mine) touch the genre of scientific fiction, while others, almost clearly fantasies, have technological elements that permit them to be classified within that genre. Es por eso que algunos de nuestros trabajos (Jesús Minsal y la mía) tocar el género de la ficción científica, mientras que otros, casi con claridad las fantasías, con elementos tecnológicos que les permitan ser clasificadas dentro de ese género. Of course we love Science Fiction and many of its variants and branches, from the most famous and classic examples like “Star Wars” to the new entries to the genre like “Dead Space” or “The Chronicles of Riddick” (examples in which one sees the fusion of SF with fantasy and horror), but I’m digressing from the topic, in truth we chose SF (together with the other two genres) because that’s what we enjoy, because we thought there was nothing more pleasurable (and arduous) than to create a universe, a world, a history, a character, completely different from what we see day in and day out (and at the same time similar enough that the readers can see their own daily lives and experiences reflected in them), we also advocate for the approach that fiction is an escape from reality, a form of release from the environment that surrounds us. Por supuesto nos encanta la ciencia ficción y muchas de sus variantes y ramas, de los ejemplos más famosos y clásicos como “Star Wars” para las entradas nuevas en el género, como “Dead Space” o “The Chronicles of Riddick” (ejemplos en que una considera que la fusión de la ciencia ficción con la fantasía y el horror), pero estoy desviando del tema, en realidad elegimos SF (junto con los otros dos géneros), porque eso es lo que nos gusta, porque pensamos que no había nada más agradable (y ardua ) que para crear un universo, un mundo, una historia, un personaje completamente diferente de lo que vemos día a día (y al mismo tiempo lo suficientemente similares para que los lectores pueden ver sus propias vidas y las experiencias cotidianas reflejadas en ellos) , también abogan por el enfoque que la ficción es una evasión de la realidad, una forma de liberación del entorno que nos rodea. In fiction we can experience adventures, actions, challenges, lives that we would never dare to dream of in the real world. En la ficción que podemos experimentar aventuras, acciones, los retos, la vida que nunca se atrevería a soñar en el mundo real. Fiction is a door to the imagination, a retreat from the everyday, to travel to dreamscapes and to return with a renewed vision of the world that surrounds us. La ficción es una puerta a la imaginación, un refugio de la vida cotidiana, para viajar a Dreamscapes y volver con una visión renovada del mundo que nos rodea. There are many more reasons, but I guess that’ll suffice for now. Hay muchas más razones, pero supongo que lo suficiente por ahora.

4. 4. Who were your teachers? ¿Quiénes fueron tus maestros?
All right, in flesh and blood, we would say that we have had two teachers. Bueno, en carne y hueso, diríamos que hemos tenido dos profesores. The first is MR. El primero es MR. RAÚL AGUIAR, in all caps, naturally. RAÚL AGUIAR, en mayúsculas, naturalmente. Raúl was one of the first people to lend us his confidence as regards our works (which was somewhat less polished back then), he gave us good advice (which he continues to do), he is the kind of teacher that we think every young aspiring writer (of SF or whatever) ought to have, since his vision in the process of analyzing a work is something difficult to find, let alone equal. Raúl fue una de las primeras personas que nos prestan su confianza en lo que respecta a nuestras obras (que fue algo menos brillante en ese entonces), nos dio un buen consejo (que sigue haciendo), es el tipo de profesor que pensamos que todos los jóvenes aspirante a escritor (de la ciencia ficción o lo que sea) debe tener, ya que su visión en el proceso de analizar una obra es algo difícil de encontrar, por no hablar de igualdad.
The second of our teachers (even if he doesn’t consider himself as such) is José Miguel Sánchez Gómez, better known in our little literary world as YOSS. El segundo de nuestros maestros (aunque no se considera como tal) es José Miguel Sánchez Gómez, mejor conocido en nuestro mundo literario poco como Yoss. He is much more than the ideal reader that every writer needs, he is a person capable of great care when it comes to critiquing and he can still tell you without mincing words every monumental mistake that you have committed, he is a very patient person with beginners and although he doesn’t seem to get hung up on it, his influence and knowledge tend to rub off on the people around him. Él es mucho más que el lector ideal que todo escritor necesita, es una persona capaz de mucho cuidado a la hora de criticar y todavía puede decir sin palabras picado todos los errores monumentales que han cometido, que es una persona muy paciente con principiantes y aunque no parece que se colgó en él, su influencia y el conocimiento tienden a borrarse en la gente alrededor de él.
To be fair, other persons have touched our brief literary career, they have both counseled and critiqued us, but up till now the relation we have established with these two gentlemen has not been equaled by any others. Para ser justos, otras personas están presentes en nuestra carrera literaria breve, ambos han aconsejado y nos criticaron, pero hasta ahora la relación que hemos establecido con estos dos caballeros no ha sido igualada por ningún otro. But I couldn’t finish without mentioning those anonymous teachers who are the true writers of the genre, those writers who have influenced by their form and style. Pero yo no podía terminar sin mencionar a aquellos maestros anónimos que son los verdaderos autores del género, los escritores que han influido en su forma y estilo. In these cases several teachers would enter the discussion: Lovecraft (my favorite), Stephen King (whom I try to imitate in my writing), Dan Simmons (who showed us the power of SF), Quiroga (whose stories located in a Latin American context have influenced us favorably) and others besides… En estos casos, varios profesores se entraría en el debate: Lovecraft (mi favorito), Stephen King (a quien tratan de imitar en mi escrito), Dan Simmons (quien nos mostró el poder de la SF), Quiroga (cuyas historias situado en una región de América Latina contexto nos han influido favorablemente) y otros, además de …

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre? ¿Quiénes son tus escritores favoritos de Cuba en el género?
We just mentioned them in the last response, YOSS and RAÚL AGUIAR. Que acabamos de mencionar en la última respuesta, Yoss y RAUL AGUIAR. The uchronias that grow from Raúl’s imagination are excellent ones. El uchronias que crecen de la imaginación de Raúl son excelentes. Yoss’ stories and novels have always left us with the sensation that there’s good material in Cuba for writing SF. Yoss cuentos y novelas que siempre nos dejó con la sensación de que hay buen material en Cuba para escribir ciencia ficción.

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about? ¿Cuáles son sus temas preferidos para escribir?
Anything that we consider novel or entertaining, or anything that connects the story in question with whatever it is we are already working on. Cualquier cosa que consideramos novela o entretenimiento, o cualquier cosa que se conecta la historia en cuestión, con lo que sea que ya estamos trabajando.

7. 7. For whom do you write? ¿Para quién escribe usted?
Very good question, and hopefully I can read the answers of the other persons who are filling out this questionnaire. I hate the hypocritical answer (although may those referred to excuse my sincerity) of “I write for myself”. NO and a thousand times no, we write for the readers, for the public, for those who are inclined to invest their time in reading our creations. You need to play fair with these people because otherwise you lose credibility as a storyteller and your works fall into the status of “okay, not bad, but…” (and after the “but” can come the biggest horrors). It’s essential for us that the public understands the story we are telling, that they like it, that they feel attracted to and identify with the characters and situations, that they feel caught up in the story, that it doesn’t let them go until the end (and of course, that they like the outcome). That is the type of dedication and devotion that we believe ought to exist in every creator, a complete devotion to their followers (real or imagined, present or future) and consequently to their work. A good job only has merit if the public to whom it is directed finds it adequate: that’s our premise.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work.
Hehehe, a question that requires effort to respond to because the references come from very close and the truth is that there is no better opinion of oneself than what others are saying. Our work (I prefer to omit the term “literary” preceding “work” when it’s really something outside that label, or at least something of mass-appeal) is characterized by a simple, direct language, without a lot of frills, metaphors and/or other prose adornments. We always lay our money on the side of the force of the story, on content ahead of form (although we don’t deny the value of style and narrative quality in every creation). As I’ve already said, our stories seek to capture the reader, to help him enjoy a pleasurable moment while he’s reading, to play with him, sometimes to fool him in order to surprise him with an unexpected ending, other times to lead him through some well-tilled field but which turns before his eyes into something new and interesting capable of attracting him like a moth to the flame. As far as themes, I already wrote that our work doesn’t fall into neat categories: we have written sports SF stories, high fantasy, stories situated in antique societies altered by the appearance of a fantastic or SF element, and since a long time ago a novel where war between two peoples permitted us to develop an adventure that we hope satisfies the fanatics of the genre.

9. 9. What are you doing currently?
Once more I’ll refer to what I’ve just written in the previous question. We are caught up in the ending of a novel that essentially narrates the war between two powerful races in the universe, with galactic voyages (both with and without technology) and bloody, pitiless combats, the characters are developed up to the point where their personal interests and each of their own psyches impose themselves on the collective good.
Still, we are not closed to other projects. While we labor on the novel, we have participated in contests and sent stories to different anthologies. We are always ready to work on whatever project wants to include us (if it’s in SFF&T, of course).

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature?
Difficult because I don’t know whether I can manage to cover it all or whether I should simply limit my scope to what I consider the most essential, which is at the same time easier because there’s a lot.
The first thing I would consider a challenge is to create “un espacio fijo”, a fixed meetingplace, one of quality which pays Cuban writers for publishing their work.
To achieve a high enough level for the writers of these genres to catch up with already-celebrated foreign writers. With that I would not want to be misinterpreted; I’m convinced that there is much talent and imagination here, as much as there can be in any place, only that perhaps for want of exposure, or for lack of experience in relations with the publishers dedicated to publishing in the field, and/or thousands of factors, we Cubans are not considered capable of standing up to the height of an established person of letters (especially within SF).
Convincing the publishing houses (foreign as well as national) of the quality of our works and (now I’m going to venture into a completely utopic place) that they come to establish the professionalism of writers of SFF&T. By that I mean that they pay us for what we do (if it’s good enough, naturally), so that we can finally say that we live off our writing and not from those other innumerable jobs that we have to work in order to survive while we devote our free time to creating.

I think that’s enough. Thanks for the missive and for having considered it important to listen to my opinions on these things. Many thanks. Muchas gracias.

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Leonardo Gala

1. 1. Your current occupation?
Computer engineer. I work as a network administrator.

2. 2. How and when were you initiated into the genre?
As a kid I remember that the films that I enjoyed most were science fiction (“Star Wars”, “Battlestar Galactica”, “Star Trek”), some Soviet space travel film, and animated Japanese cartoons like “Tezuka´s Hi no Tori”. I also remember having listened to a radio series, “Los Hombres sin Sombra” [Men without Shadows], when I lived in Santa Clara. And I read a lot of science fiction books, mostly Soviet, Cuban, or Eastern European. That was all in the 1980s. One day in La Lenin (a preuniversity institute) I found that I wanted to write stories like the ones I enjoyed, and so I began to write science fiction stories.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre?
There are specific things that it seems to me can only be said through science fiction, like in “Fahrenheit 451”, or “1984”, or in “The Dispossessed”. When I started, I was interested in writing about “the distant future”. Today, in some respects, the future is almost the present, so I could say, I´m more interested in writing about “the incoming present” right now. I’m afraid that at this rate one day I’ll be writing about the “distant past”. 😉 😉
In any event, writing science fiction seems a way of not letting what I write get stale. That’s what I most enjoy about the field.

4. 4. Who were your teachers?
When I started to write, I enjoyed Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man” and “Fahrenheit 451” a lot, plus everything by Daína Chaviano, and everything from Agustín de Rojas. I tried to imitate how they wrote at the start of the 1990s, and I read them quite a bit, so I could say that they were my teachers. 😉 😉

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre?
In the 1990s: Agustín de Rojas and Daína Chaviano. I could read their books forever.
Now: Yoss, Michel Encinosa, and Juan Pablo Noroña.

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about?
The theme I’ve dealt with most is that of Artificial Intelligence. Also, robots, paranormal humans, cloning. In general, technology.

7. 7. For whom do you write?
Basically, I write for myself. In the 1990s science fiction books disappeared from the country and I was used to reading plenty of SF up till then, so I began to make up stories that could fill that need. I remember that it was rather frustrating: nothing that I did seemed any good. Then one day I read a story to my little brother, and when he said he liked it I saw that I could also write for others.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work.
I have finished a book with 5 stories located in a cyberpunk universe named Bajavel [or “Low-vel” in Spanish]. One of the stories, “Ed Dedos” won the very first Salomón Prize, and was included by Yoss in “Crónicas del Mañana”, an anthology of 50 years of SF in our country. The name of the book is “Cuentos de Bajavel” (Stories of Bajavel) and it is in press at Letras Cubanas.
I also have: También tengo:
—some stories that take place in the heroic-fantasy universe Dardath.
—an unfinished novel taking place in Bajavel (I’m not planning to finish it, but to excavate it for new ideas)
—several stories that don’t belong to any particular universe.
I like hard science fiction a lot, and some of the stories in “Cuentos de Bajavel” fall into this category, in my opinion.

9. 9. What are you doing currently?
Right now I am writing a novel, also taking place in Bajavel. It´s basically a retelling of the fourth story that I first intended to put in “Cuentos de Bajavel”, but then realized it was a longer than 20 pages, and so I decided to turn it into a novel. I´m working real hard, trying to make sure that this does not become my second “unfinished” novel from the Bajavel universe. 😉 😉

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature?
I think the biggest challenge is improving the technique of our youngest writers. They seem to me to be very much influenced by films and TV series, and so they tend to write in terms of physical action, without much psychological depth.
Another challenge would be to achieve (and maintain) a periodic presence in the bookstores. In this decade there have been more books published than in the 90s, but I think the number is still insufficient if we want to reach out to other audiences besides our traditional one. Sometimes it seems to me that the publishing houses sense that SF is for teenagers or young adults, and they always seem to want to label it in the “humor” category. There is no erotic Cuban SF. (The only book that comes to mind is “Pluma de León” [The Lion’s Feather], published this year by Yoss.) There is no political SF. There are no uchronias. No alternate histories. No hard SF. But, as writers, we are interested in those themes or subgenres, and it seems to me that there are indeed readers interested in them too. I’m interested, for sure.
Among the prospects, it seems to me that the publishers are a bit more accessible now than in the 90s, or at the start of the 2000s. And also it seems to me that the fans are more conscious of their importance than before.

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Eliete Lorenzo Vila

1. 1. Your current occupation?
I work as Administrator and Commercializer of the Cuban Observatory of Science and Technology (OCCYT)

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre?
I think I can say that I had the privilege of attending one of the oldest literary workshops in the field, the “Jules Verne” workshop that operated from Playa, with my uncle and grandfather. I was between 9 and 10 then and had already written my first things. I began to work more seriously at it starting at 17, with some stories.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre?
It has always captured my imagination: I’m very much given to fantasy, especially epic fantasy. I tend to believe a lot in the existence of magic. Although I don’t stop reading other subgenres like space opera or cyberpunk, fantasy horror and magical realism, which some don’t consider part of fantasy.

4. 4. Who were your teachers?
Fittingly, from my grandfather [Orlando Vila Rodríguez] and my uncle [Orlando Vila García], passing through the Strugatsky brothers, Orson Scott Card and my favorite of all, Theodore Sturgeon.

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre?
Agustín de Rojas was obviously a big star for those of us who were poking around in the literature at the end of the 80s, although I began with the works of Daína Chaviano and Chely Lima, from which I loved “Fábulas de una abuela extraterrestre” [Fables of an extraterrestrial grandmother, by Chaviano].

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about?
Stories that could be everyday tales, only in different environments. I’m very interested in seeing human feelings and conflicts reflected in distant races, epic fantasy, medievalism, professions less usual for women, and the magic they carry inside.

7. 7. For whom do you write?
For everybody. When you write to present a new universe to the world, you feel that you are sharing something beautiful with the others, that you are leaving behind a little piece of your new dream. And that includes my daughters too, one of whom is already following the path of the genre with her own created universe.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work.
I’ve discovered that it’s not easy for me to write short stories. One of them, “Tarot”, has been published in the Anthology “Secretos del Futuro” [Secrets of the Future] and both in the digital magazine “Disparo en Red”. The problem is that I end up loving my characters so much, that the stories grow longer and longer on me, at an alarming rate, so I have decided to dedicate myself exclusively to novel writing. “Señores de la Noche” [Lords of the Night] is my first attempt, and it has already won a “Caballo de Coral” [Seahorse] Creation Stipend from the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Center.

9. 9. What are you doing currently?
I continue to be absorbed in the novel “Señores de la Noche”. It’s complex and there is such a lot of work to be done that I may have 3 volumes in it. Which makes it practically impossible to publish in our country.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature?
Every day the mainstream gains more space. It’s called serious literature, while SF is considered “minor literature”. The fantasy competitions are disappearing, sometimes the contests themselves feel that within the genre there’s no room for the theme of fantasy and they throw out those works that deal with whichever of the subgenres that have to do with it. The publishers prioritize the mainstream works, the juries sometimes choose works that don’t even have anything to do with the genre.
Prospects? Who knows? ¿Quién sabe? We’ve been fighting for space for years, fighting to let people know what we are doing. Give up writing? Never, but what it takes to get published here is another story entirely.

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Erick J. Mota

1. 1. Your current occupation?
I have a degree in Physics and Astronomy, but right now I’m working as a web administrator.

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre?
At the university I was already writing in my spare time, but it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that I joined what was then the Espiral workshop that was starting to show serious signs of creative energy.

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre?
It has always been impossible for me to do anything apart from science fiction or fantasy. I suppose it has to do with my particular way of seeing events and the things that surround me in my daily life.

4. 4. Who were your teachers?
I learned a lot from reading. Books — and not just SF, but all books in general — have been my best teachers. But I ought to mention writers who have made me what I am today, so I’d have to mention Stanislaw Lem and Robert Heinlein.

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre?
Agustín de Rojas, Miguel Collazo

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about?
I don’t have preferences, as far as themes, but I have a certain tendency towards adventure stories and towards warlike conflicts.

7. 7. For whom do you write?
For myself. I don’t have an objective public or anything like that. I just write what I like.

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work.
Within science fiction one could say that there are two great tendencies. First, space (a la space opera), but with a Russian mechanical touch (minus the utopian socialism) and more of a tendency toward adventure. And the other within cyberpunk, but based in an alternate Havana, and trying to present a different esthetic than cyberpunk environments. Showing more the beauty of a decadent city, half sunken in a Soviet technological esthetic. But without neon, since copying Gibson is quite enough without trying to reinvent a second “Neuromancer”.

9. 9. What are you doing currently?
I am working on stories located in the universe of Havana-Underwater. Maybe I’ll start a second novel.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature?
It seems to me that the biggest challenge for Cuban SF&F is to be authentic. To try to differentiate between our cyberpunk and that of Gibson or Sterling. Between our heroic fantasy and Tolkien’s. To be authentic in the sense that someone who reads an SF story, even if it’s located in deep space and deals with Dyson spheres, would say “A Cuban must have written that,” instead of “that sounds like a translation of something I once read; I think it was called ‘Dune’.” In terms of prospects, it seems to me that the genre has been slumbering too long. Now things are being published – either electronically or on paper, some years something, other years not so much — but it’s being published. It’s the opportunity to write and to publish. To write more and publish more, and to let the others decide whether it’s good or bad, or whether there is a literary movement, or even a fanbase.

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Elaine Vilar Madruga

1. 1. Your current occupation?
All right, I’m young enough — 20 — that this is practically my first time answering questions about my profession. Right now I am a music teacher, teaching classical guitar within the ‘Casas de Cultura’ system. I graduated from the National School of Art in that specialty barely a year and a half ago.

2. 2. How and when did you get started in the genre?
It happened when I was fourteen, without my even noticing. Of course back then I would not have dared to say that I was writing science fiction, far from it; I simply knew that I loved dreaming up fantastic and improbable things, until… simply, one day I told myself that, yes, I had spent over three years writing SF and that it was now time to accept it. I guess that answers the “when”…
Now the “how” is a little difficult… well, I started to create a series of stories located on a dystopic world and then I discovered that they fit together like puzzle pieces, and that’s how my first collection of stories “was born”. I entered it in a contest and got an honorable mention. I think that that first prize was a tremendous incentive for me to keep writing SF. After that I met a group of writers from the field that greatly encouraged me to keep trying.
That answer your question?

3. 3. Why did you choose this genre?
It’s not really the only field in which I write, but it certainly is the one in which I feel most comfortable… almost at home.
I chose it ? If I told you that it was totally the reverse and that SF and Fantasy were the ones who completely overpowered me, that would be denying free will. But I suppose that it’s the most honest answer. In any event, I don’t see myself, nor do I imagine myself, as a creator without writing SF… or at least trying to.
Furthermore, SF is one of the genres with the most infinite possibilities for creating: it is a kind of pact between the writer and the reader, almost magical. I think that I would suffocate a little in any other genre.

4. 4. Who were your teachers?
Teachers? Profesores?
The list is a bit long. Direct teachers, that have critiqued me and listened… First of all, José Miguel Sánchez (Yoss), who was the first to read one of my works and to be pretty tolerant of it. A good friend, besides. Also, Gina Picart, who nourished me incredibly with her narrative style, the richness of her language, her very particular style of storytelling… a total master of the art of writing. And now of course, finally, Raúl Aguiar, who was directly my teacher in the Narrative Techniques Course at the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Center… one of those teachers who critiques your stories mercilessly, without discouraging you, with such good sensitivity that it always comes out of there a better work.
Now, indirectly, I have been greatly nourished by other writers, like Daína Chaviano, although I’ve never had a chance to meet her. At the international level there are many others who I consider my teachers, but this list would get too long.

5. 5. Who are your favorite Cuban writers within the genre?
Let’s see: I adore Michel Encinosa Fú’s heroic fantasy, the neomythology of Chaviano, Gina Picart’s fantasy. Also Yoss’ books (“Al final de la senda”) grab my attention, and Anabel Enríquez’s and Raúl Aguiar’s stories. Although I ought to tell you that there are new writers who will soon grab the public’s attention, very young and talented persons who unfortunately have not been published. But I’m sure that in a few little years they’ll be talking about Gabriel Gil…

6. 6. What are your favorite themes to write about?
I don’t have any specific themes. The stories take shape with their own life. But if I have to answer that question I would tell you that I prefer neomythology and dystopic worlds. Somehow, I think that the fundamental thing for me is that HUMANITY, the HUMAN SOUL, predominates over any science fiction element. Without stepping on toes or needlessly insulting the field, without man, SF would just be the sound of metals… nothing more.

7. 7. For whom do you write?
Egotistically, for me. I would never write or publish a story if I didn’t already feel comfortable with it. Maybe that’s asking too much of the reader, for him or her to be a kind of alter ego of the writer, but in the end those are risks that one sometimes runs.
Of course, once I feel comfortable with the story I try to make the reader also feel comfortable with it, without trying to get 100% of the universe to understand me, to share my tastes or feel some affinity with the story or the novel.
I don’t want to write for everyone, but yes, I do want those who happen upon my work to become my loyal readers. The Holy Grail of every writer, no?

8. 8. Tell us about your literary work.
Very difficult. Muy difícil.
Some of the critiques that I’ve heard of my work would tell you that I have a baroque style, that I let myself get carried away by the sound of the words — Curse that music I studied! — so that my stories sometimes come out cryptic…
Anyway… I suppose that in some aspects they aren’t far from the truth. In others, no.
If it’s true that I’m attracted by the sound of words, without a doubt. But what writer doesn’t feel that attraction? I think that, somehow, this is all part of what some people call stylistic differences between writers.
Right off the top I can tell you that what I search for in my work is exactly what I answered in the other question: that the reader sees in it the HUMAN BEING, in a more or less foreign context or world. I’m very interested in the themes of the loss of values, of inhumanity, of the primitive and salvage that lives in the depths of every one of us. That’s why i find dystopic worlds so compelling…

9. 9. What are you doing currently?
From a literary standpoint I am awaiting the appearance of my first SF novel, already postponed a couple of times, which is why I’m ACHING so to have it in my hands already. Plus, I am totally caught up in a project that I’m working on with a group of friends and my colleague: a new workshop for fantasy art and literary creation, which carries the name “Espacio Abierto” [Open Space]. It has been very gratifying to see the acceptance and the good luck that the workshop, a successor to the “Espiral” group of fantasy art and creation, has had. Many of us young and no longer so young writers and others have banded together, and now I no longer feel like a fish out of water. There are five of us organizing and directing the workshop (JP Noroña, Eliette Lorenzo, Carlos Duarte, Jeffrey López and an assistant), although we have called on the help of many, many friends.
Beyond that, writing and writing… and more writing. I’ve finished my second novel, and I am involved in new literary projects, such as organizing the event “Behíque 2009”, a sort of festival that brings together Cuban SF writers and fans.

10. 10. What are the challenges and prospects for Cuban SF&F literature?
The challenges are immense. First of all we need the publishers on the Island and, why not? also the ones outside to open up more to us. It is true that some Cuban publishers have opened their doors to us, that a number of not too shabby SFF anthologies have been prepared and have now been authorized for publication, but more is needed. We need the creation of a contest for SF novels, with a chance of publication. There needs to be more publication of new writers. We need to reach an even wider public.
Those are some of the challenges… although some might call me pessimist, dystopic…
The prospects?
I like to believe that everything is improving. The Cuban SF movement is very healthy right now and has excellent writers — those already well known as well as those who aren’t yet — working inside it, almost always in comeraderie and unity.
The most important thing is to keep working. It is the only thing that can validate our works, otherwise this all sounds like cheap philosophy.
After that, at some moment, the doors will open little by little…

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Leonardo Gala

1. 1. What can you tell us about the current landscape of Cuban SF[&F]?
As writers, it seems to me that we need to explore new areas. There is interest in writing better, and the readers expect better writing from a Cuban writer. Some of the writers from the start of the 2000s are no longer in the country, and it seems that they are not writing much (with the exception of Vladimir Hernández).
Publishing continues to be difficult but there are two Prizes that make it possible: The Calendario of the AHS, and the Edad de Oro, de Gente Nueva.
Among the active writers in Cuba, Yoss is the one who has the most public works (both inside and outside Cuba), who tends to write more about the genre, and who possesses the greatest thematic diversity. Michel Encinosa would be the next writer, with the interesting fact that he continues to write for two very different universes: Ofidia and Sol Negro, one cyberpunk and the other heroic fantasy. Of the founding members of Espiral, Anabel Enríquez, Juan Pablo Noroña (who writes really well and does some very interesting things, but has not yet had any book of his own published) and Erick Mota. With the exception of Noroña, all of them have been honored with a Calendario Prize, and Erick Mota also won the Edad de Oro.
Among the new writers that have appeared, there are people like Carlos Duarte, who have connected with writers from other countries, by e-mail or through sites like Axxón. Or like Gabriel Gil, Yadira Álvarez or Elaine Vilar, who have passed through the Onelio Center. Or like me. 😉 😉

2. 2. Do you think that there is a considerable audience of followers of the genre?
I think that there is an important audience of followers of the genre in the country, and they are getting organized. I think that perhaps it would be possible to have in the near future (finally) a Cuban Association of SF&F.
Right now the second Behique event is being prepared. Under its aegis conferences, presentations, panels with young writers are being organized, and the Salomón [Solomon] prizes are also awarded (a fitting successor to the David Prize). The Behique is the latest in a line of periodic SF&F events that has included Ansible, Council of Lorien and Cubaficción.

3. 3. Is there anything you find that characterizes Cuban SF, some common thread among the local writers?
There is a lot of influence from Soviet and US SF. There is also a tendency on the part of the writers to individualize their works, to make them more personal. It seems to me that there is more interest in making “SF in Cuba” than in making “Cuban SF”.

4. 4. Do you think it’s possible to speak of classical and contemporary writers with the field?
Yes, I think so. Sí, creo que sí.
The classics: Ángel Arango, Oscar Hurtado, Miguel Collazo, Agustín de Rojas, Daína Chaviano, F. Mond, and Bruno Henríquez.
Contemporaries: Yoss, Michel Encinosa, Vladimir Hernández and Juan Pablo Noroña.

5. 5. What can you tell us about the role of the electronic world in the development of Cuba SF&F?
Guaicán Literario has proven to be very efficient, even when it has been offline. It is a web presence, and for those who are looking for information on SF&F in Cuba, it’s a good starting point for figuring out who is who.
In the period from 2003 to 2007 there have been various digital publications in the country, the majority sent by mail. SF&F tended to be one of the themes covered, and they were directed to a wider public than the fans of these genres, but it also attracted them.
Sadly, of these fanzines, “Disparo en Red” (Erick Mota, Javier de la Torre), the only one that consciously dedicated itself to the genre, disappeared after Number 50. It was a way to read good SF “made in Cuba”, and horror stories made their appearances, not just SF&F.
Raúl Aguiar’s “Qubit”, is another kind of bulletin, dealing with the cyberpunk movement, and covers not just what happens in Cuba, which gives it much greater perspective for a lover of the genre. Some special numbers have appeared with the tendencies of cyberpunk in the countries of Latin America with stories, interviews and articles, as well as special issues devoted to cyberpunk and protocyberpunks like Gibson, Stephenson, Dick, etc.
Basically, the digital publications provide what paper publications could not: information, news, tendencies, history of the genre…, and they made possible the appearance of a kind of reader (and writer) distinct from those at the start of the 1990s.

6. 6. Other thoughts?
Many thanks, Daniel, for giving me the chance to fill out your questionnaires. I hope my answers have been helpful.

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Vladimir Hernández

1. 1. What can you tell us about the present landscape of Cuban Science Fiction and Fantasy?
Very little. Muy poco. I’ve lost “direct” contact with SF&F on the Island. Maybe the Argentine online magazine Axxón would be the ideal site to learn more about the SF that is being created in Cuba.

2. 2. Do you think there is a considerable volume of followers of the genre in the country?
Yes, I believe so. Sí, creo que sí. Science fiction was “adored” in the 1980s (as was the “classic” detective story, fantasy, and spy novels), so I’m sure that we can count on (at least) hundreds of thousands of readers on the island; what happened is that the Ministry of Culture was not interested in promoting this kind of publishing policy and “genre” literature was impoverished until it practically disappeared. A real shame. Una verdadera lástima. Also, sadly for our depleted ranks, the cultivators of the genre who left Cuba, with very few exceptions, abandoned the genre. Unlike with the Cuban mainstream or social novelists, there is no diasporan Cuban SF “literature”.

3. 3. Do you find anything that characterizes Cuban SF, some common thread among the backyard writers?
Except for certain humorous tendencies in general (in which I myself sometimes indulge) and especially in short stories, I don’t find too many common threads in the SF literature. Each has his style, each is a distinct planet.

4. 4. Do you think that one can now speak of classic and contemporaneous writers within Cuban SF&F?
Yes, of course. Sí, por supuesto. Ángel Arango, Correa, Hurtado and many others of their generation are perfect examples of classic SF (albeit a kind of 1960s classicism, fertile, but a decade behind what the English-speaking SF world was doing).
The generation stretching from Agustín de Rojas and Daína Chaviano to the more or less numerous group that Yoss calls in retrospect the “Juventud Técnica” generation, write about a variety of themes, inserting themselves into SF of both a classical and a more clearly New Wave style. And I am only speaking of SF; Fantasy is another kettle of fish altogether.
And yes, then we came along in the 90s: Yoss, Fabrico González Neira, Ariel Cruz, Alberto Mesa, Michel Encinoza, Juan Pablo Noroña, Duchy Man, Arezki Hernández, Yailín Pérez, Juan Alexander Padrón, and myself: the “cyberpunk” or “post-cyberpunk” generation (although I prefer to call it “the underground generation”, since we were forged without the benefits of publishers, in the middle of a paper crisis; and despite this hardship, I think it has been a good mix). If there’s anything new I can say about the underground generation of the 90s it’s that I [we] wrote about everything, without distinction: SF, Fantasy, Horror, even Slipstream; spaceships, cybernetics, AI, neural networks, aliens, zombies, possessions, Druids, demons, magic and witchcraft, elves, fairies, “güijes” , time travel, utopias, dystopias and uchronias, the worlds of the mind, hallucinogenic worlds, and worlds of fantasy, with the added bonus of an irreverant sense of humor converging in our stories. Most of us continue waging war both inside and outside the country.
Of the rest, of the most recent hatchlings in our country, I know practically nothing.

5. 5. What can you tell us about the role of the electronic world in the development of Cuban SF&F?
It has been tremendous. Although there are precendents like the electronic distribution of the magazine “i+Real”, the Internet has been our great engine since the 90s, reaching one of its greatest expressions in “El Guaicán Literario”, Gerardo Chávez’s since vanished virtual magazine. The electronic pulse has done more than any publishing or cultural entity in the last 30 years to raise Cuban SFF to an international level. Another form of poetic justice, perhaps?

6. 6. Other thoughts?
A colossal platitude: we need to keep writing. And to use interpersonal contact to reshuffle the “genetic material”. We have to succeed at producing novels and publishing them in Spain, Latin America and Miami, where a large part of our readers reside. We have to keep expanding, because part of our process of maturing lies in that process. I think that we have to pop up in anthologies in Cuba as well as in other countries. And to hunt for meeting places, for information, be it virtual or physical, to construct spaces in the Internet that keep the link creative and informative, available to every group (those of the diaspora as well as those inside) and all the generations of writers and readers of the genre throughout the Cuban literary world.

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Juan Pablo Noroña

1. 1. What can you tell us about the present landscape of Cuban Science Fiction and Fantasy?
It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible to describe. Winds of opportunity are blowing and it remains to be seen what will become of them, whether they will become reality. One hopeful sign is the publication of the SF anthology “Crónicas del Mañana” [Chronicles of tomorrow], part of a collection commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution… So SF is no longer the gassy dog that must be discretely removed from the parlor when guests arrive, but rather the retarded cousin who must be invited to the big family reunions.
There have also been messages inviting writers to trust their manuscripts with the publishers, as well as a new SF section opening in the Publishing House Gente Nueva. That house specializes in literature for kids and teens, and is, incidentally, one of the few sanctuaries for the literary subgenres of detective stories, fantasy, romance, adventure… even pirate adventures! It also hosts the Edad de Oro [Golden Age] prize in Science Fiction every other year, a prize shared with detective fiction. In other words, this is a combined category in which both genres compete: the year the detective story wins, SF comes up empty. Of course, the work submitted must suit the publisher’s target audience. Couldn’t be otherwise. And in a similar vein: the Edad de Oro contest is limited by readership — under 17– the Juventud Técnica contest is limited by text — fewer than 6 pages — and the Calendario contest by writer — younger than 35. In other words, restrictions, restrictions… One can say that the restrictions that SF suffers mirror the restrictions the country suffers, but that’s not quite it. I believe that the biggest problem is that reader preferences are irrelevant to the publishing/cultural establishment, that there is no feedback… but I imagine that if most readers could send a message, it would be “get this smug, unreadable mainstream fiction off of our backs and give us SF, detective stories, and adventures.”
In general, there continue to be few books, relatively few writers, crappy publicity, intellectual discrimination, and as if that weren’t enough, a ton of petty bickering. The undeniably good news is that new chumps, I mean writers, keep appearing all the time.

2. 2. Do you think there is a considerable volume of followers of the genre in the country?
You could fill a ballpark — field and stands — and it would be crammed so tightly that you couldn’t cross from one side to the other. They are by and large students and young professionals, but readership cuts across all types, ages and genders.

3. 3. Do you find anything that characterizes Cuban SF, some common thread among the backyard writers?
Yes. Sí. They all write everything in Spanish.

4. 4. Do you think that one can now speak of classic and contemporaneous writers within Cuban SF&F?
Of course there are classics. Where would we be without Ángel Arango, Oscar Hurtado, Miguel Collazo, Daína Chaviano, Alberto Serret, Chely Lima, Agustín de Rojas?

5. 5. What can you tell us about the role of the electronic world in the development of Cuban SF&F?
That it is the best thing we’ve got, a realm of intellectual democracy in which the trappings of glitz and pomp that characterize the national mainstream have no place. Plus, they can’t remove a thing we publish out there.

6. 6. Other thoughts?
I don’t want to sound bitter or depressed, but if I were to add anything, it would be that I see better prospects for the genre than for me, personally. I have the nagging suspicion that my train has already left the station and that I have no ticket for the next engine… just my impression. I have managed to make a number of enemies despite playing nice, I have made a lot of inconvenient choices, I have refused to ‘go along to get along’, and I have committed the mistake of being honest. In an environment as harsh as the Cuban literary world, that has proven to be fatal.

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Soy escritora, periodista especializada en La Habana de la colonia y la república, investigadora, crítica literaria, guionista de cine, radio y televisión
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