Porcayo, Gerardo

Tagged: Author

(1966-    ) Mexican author and anthologist first trained as an electrical technician and as a chemist, an abortive career from which he obtained some knowledge shown in his sf writing. He later studied literature, earning a master's degree in Hispanic American Literature. He began his writing career in Puebla, where, in 1988, with another sf author, José Luis Zárate (1966-    ), he founded the Puebla Circle of SF and Popular Science under the sponsorship of the Puebla State Council of Science and Technology; and in 1991 the fanzine Prolepsis which lasted only a few issues, but is probably the first published in Mexico. Also, Porcayo and José Luis Zárate were invited as Mexican delegates to the First Southern Cone Convention of SF and Fantasy, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1991. From there, they brought the technology to create the first electronic sf magazine in Mexico, published on 3.5" diskettes, called La langosta se ha posado ["The Lobster Has Landed"], and distributed free. The Puebla State Council of Science and Technology organized the National Puebla SF Award from 1984, and Porcayo participated each year, obtaining three honorable mentions before 1993. This last year was very special for Porcayo, because he obtained the first international recognition to his writing career with the Argentinean Axxón Primordial award for "Los motivos de Medusa" ["Medusa's Motives"] (November 1997 Umbrales), presented by the publishers of Axxón magazine for the best short story published in Argentina in 1991-1992; this is about a man who awakes from a long cryogenic dream (see Sleeper Awakes) to find himself nursed by sophisticated Robots who try to conceal a catastrophe. For the same short story Porcayo won the Kalpa Award, presented by the Mexican Association of SF and Fantasy for the best published sf and fantasy work of the previous year. Also in 1993 Porcayo won the Puebla SF Award, with "Imágenes rotas, sueños de herrumbre" ["Broken Images, Rust Dreams"] (November-December 1994 Umbrales), the story of a group of hackers who meet to tell their adventures. From the beginning of his writing career, his fiction evoked many mythological topics and characters.

"Imágenes rotas, sueños de herrumbre" could be considered as an introduction to Porcayo's most important novel to date, which he also published in 1993: La primera calle de la soledad ["The First Street of Solitude"] (1993), presented as the first Cyberpunk novel in Spanish America. Although the claim is not precise, because at least two Brazilian cyberpunk novels were published previously – Alfredo Sirkis' (1950-    ) Silicone XXI (1985) and Fausto Fawcett's Santa Clara Poltergeist (1991) – Porcayo's novel could be considered the first important cyberpunk novel published in Spanish Latin America. It is not, as some critics label it, a simple tribute to the work of Philip K Dick, to whom the novel is dedicated and by whom it was certainly inspired: a Near Future world full of intrigue, espionage on a worldwide scale, political manipulation and religious wars. It also develops a religion that Porcayo conceived in one of his nightmares: the Christ-receptionism, created by an old priest who was marooned on the Moon but survived thanks to a divinity who needs to be fed by his worshippers being represented by a crucified android, under all the Spanish-American religious idiosyncrasy. The main character, a hacker called Zorro, fights against a police state, rival cults and corporations dealing with virtual drugs, called electric dreams; he needs to travel from Mexico City to other countries and even the Moon in order to survive and seek revenge against his enemies. From this novel onwards, Porcayo started to develop a very personal style, being able to write an entire novel from beginning to end in prose very close to blank verse.

La primera calle de la soledad was the starting point for the Mexican school of Cyberpunk. At least a dozen Mexican authors including Porcayo himself began to write (mostly in short stories and without denying their American model) of a cyberpunk world full of Mexican religiosity, Politics and social problems located in their largest Cities. This work was chiefly published in magazines and Fanzines: Porcayo assembled the most representative authors in his anthology Silicio en la memoria ["Silicon inside the Memory"] (anth 1998). Several contributors were to become important authors of Mexican sf and fantasy. The Mexican cyberpunk movement also caught the attention of some local and foreign scholars.

In 1994, Porcayo won the Más Allá Award, presented by the Argentinean Circle of SF and Fantasy (CACYF) for a short story written with Carlos Alberto Limón (1972-    ), "Vástago de furia y tiempo" ["Scion of Fury and Time"] (April 1996 Umbrales), telling the story of a hired killer who is also a time traveller (see Time Travel) who wants to kill a president but is seriously tormented by guilt and as a side effect of Drug abuse. At the end of the 1990s, Porcayo began his Vampire period with the novel Dolorosa ["Our Lady of Sorrows"] (1999), a mixture of vampire mythology with Latin American religious devotion located in Mexico City; and with Sombras sin tiempo: Antología vampírica personal ["Shadows Without Time: a Personal Vampire Anthology"] (coll 1999), including some short stories which seem inspired by blues lyrics. He has also tried his hand with a detective and a mainstream novel.

Porcayo has also many sf novels and short stories unpublished in book form, although some of have appeared as plaquettes (pamphlets or chapbooks). Las sentencias de la oscuridad ["The Mottos of Darkness"] (1997 La Jornada de Oriente; 2001 chap), a novel telling the adventures of a castaway space pilot in a strange planet, was first published in instalments in the Puebla newspaper La Jornada de Oriente in 1997, and later as a plaquette. Cuando las sirenas cantan ["When Sirens Sing"] (2004 chap) parodies classic Pulp adventure fiction; it won the Sizigias award, presented by the Mexican Association of SF and Fantasy, for the best novel of 2004.

In memory of Philip K Dick, held in great respect by many contemporary Mexican authors, Porcayo published an anthology to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of his passing: El hombre en las dos puertas ["The Man Between Two Doors"] (anth 2002), considered one of the most original anthologies of its decade; it won the 2002 Sizigias award for best anthology. Most of the authors included, among them José Luis Zárate, Pepe Rojo, Gabriel Benítez (1969-    ), Alberto Chimal (1970-    ) and Gabriel Trujillo (1958-    ), were able to capture all Dick's Paranoia and imaginative weirdness. Porcayo included his own short story "Antenas sin Marte" ["Antennae without Mars"], located in the same universe of La primera calle de la soledad.

For his master's degree in Hispanic American Literature, Porcayo chose as his thesis topic one of the most emblematic works of the Argentinean sf and fantasy author Angélica Gorodischer, Bajo las jubeas en flor ["Under the Flowering Jubeas"] (coll 1973), presenting this as a paradigm of Latin American sf.

Very active and prolific as always, Porcayo is now a university professor of literature in Puebla, Mexico, has his own blog and also runs a blogzine which tries to recover the feeling of the old diskette-based electronic magazine La langosta se ha posado, under the name of La langosta se ha posteado ["The Lobster Has Been Posted"]. [MAFD]

Gerardo Horacio Porcayo Villalobos

born Cuernavaca, Morelos: 10 May 1966

died

works

works as editor

about the author

  • Juan Ignacio Muñoz Zapata. "Narrative and dystopian forms of life in Mexican cyberpunk novel La primera calle de la soledad" in SF, Imperialisms and the Third World (North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2010) edited by Ericka Hoagland and Reema Sarwal. [nonfiction: anth: pp188-201: pb/]
  • Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz. Entry in Biografías del Futuro: La ciencia ficción mexicana y sus autores ["Biographies from the Future: Mexican Science Fiction and Its Authors"] (Mexicali, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, 2000) [nonfiction: anth: pp281-288: pb/]
  • Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz. Entry in Latin American Science Fiction Writers: An A-to-Z Guide (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004) edited by Darrell B Lockhart [nonfiction: anth: pp155-157: hb/nonpictorial]

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