Aguilera, Juan Miguel
Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist, Author.
(1960- ) Spanish illustrator, industrial designer by profession, and author. He is considered one of the best Spanish sf writers. He has published thirteen novels, half of them in collaboration with other authors; three novellas in collaboration; and fifteen or so short stories. His works convey like few others the sf Sense of Wonder.
His first story was "Sangrando correctamente" ["Bleeding Correctly"] (August 1981 Nueva Dimensión) with Javier Redal, this was the debut of one of the most fruitful literary partnerships in Spanish sf. Their joint work gave rise to the Akasa-Puspa saga, a Hard SF sequence set in the Far Future and comprising the seminal novels Mundos en el abismo ["Worlds into the Abyss"] (1988) and Hijos de la eternidad ["Children of Eternity"] (1990), later assembled as Mundos en la eternidad ["Worlds into Eternity"] (omni 2001). These books were a milestone in Spanish science fiction and they consolidated the maturity of the genre in Spain. The series' success led to the publication of more tales: the short story "Ari el tonto" ["Ari the Fool"] (May 1992 BEM), the novel El refugio ["The Shelter"] (1994) and the novellas En un vacío insondable ["In an Unfathomable Void"] (1994), later rewritten as Némesis ["Nemesis"] (2011), and "Maleficio" ["Hex"] (in Visiones 1995, anth 1995, ed Pedro Jorge Romero); the last three won Ignotus Awards. The final novel in the saga was Mundos y demonios ["Worlds and Demons"] (2005) by Aguilera alone.
Akasa-Puspa ["The Flower in the Sky" in Sanskrit] is a globular cluster in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way where the short distance between the Stars allows for quick travel in manned Imperial fusion Starships or the slower but equally effective self-directed solar-sail mercantile ships of the Utsarpini or religious caste of the Brotherhood. In Akasa-Puspa, humans coexist with Alien species like the extremely bellicose Angriffs, the enigmatic Hivers or the strange nested creatures of the Little Guild. This vast cosmic background in a state of permanent conflict is the setting for scientific discoveries and an ingenious commerce system of unmanned ships, for disputes over Political and Economic interests, and for several Wars. The books are written with careful scientific and speculative rigour, incorporating the latest theories in Biology, Evolution, Cosmology and Eschatology, so they have been justly compared to classics like The Mote in God's Eye (1974) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle or Ringworld (1970) by Niven alone.
Aguilera began a successful solo career with the novelette "El bosque de hielo" ["The Ice Forest"] (May 1996 BEM), winner of the Alberto Magno and Ignotus Awards, and later with other works published in France and Italy, where he won important literary awards. These include such novels as the Ignotus-winning medieval Alternate History La locura de dios ["The Madness of God"] (1998); El sueño de la razón ["The Dream of Reason"] (2006); and the magnificent Rhila ["Rhila"] (2008) about the possible discovery of America by Muslims. All are travel novels starring rationalistic characters who journey to distant lands where the usual problems of First Contact between different cultures appear.
Other important works are the Akasa-Puspa novella La Llavor del mal ["The Seed of Evil"] (1997), written in Catalan in collaboration with Ricardo Lázaro, which won the Juli Verne award from the Principality of Andorra and was followed by Aguilera's Spanish version as "Semilla" (in Visiones 1998, anth 1998, ed Rodolfo Martínez); the Ignotus-winning novella Contra el tiempo ["Against Time"] (2001), written with Rafael Marín; and the Celsius 232 award-winning Technothriller La red de Indra ["Indra's Net"] (2009). His works appeared in more than forty magazines and collections.
Aguilera has also edited three Anthologies: Visiones 2000 ["Visions 2000"] (anth 2000) published by Spanish Fantasy and Science Fiction Association, Más allá de Némesis ["Beyond Nemesis"] (anth 2013) and Antes de Akasa-Puspa ["Before Akasa-Puspa"] (anth 2015), the last two expanding the original universe of Akasa-Puspa with the help of other authors. Aguilera published five Graphic Novels with the artists Paco Roca and Rafael Fontériz, and he wrote the screenplay for the Spanish Hard SF film Stranded (2001) directed by María Lidón.
Finally, Aguilera was the creator of more than a hundred book covers, a successful additional career for which he received seven Ignotus Awards. He is the top winner of this award with sixteen trophies besides being the top winner in categories such as Novel, Novella and Illustration, although he has also received it for Short Story and Graphic Novel.
In summary, Juan Miguel Aguilera is a writer characterized by his sense of wonder. Jules Verne influenced him in a remarkable way in his vision of the travel novel (see Fantastic Voyage) and, consequently, his style is dynamic and visual, clearly oriented towards the adventure story and scientific popularization of disciplines as diverse as biology, astrophysics, astronautics or history, which the author develops in a highly educational way. An excellent storyteller, his overflowing inventiveness is always respectful of scientific rigor. All this results in complex, absorbing and very exciting stories, in which the reader is pleasantly overwhelmed.
In 2013 Aguilera and Javier Redal were honoured with the Gabriel Award by the Spanish Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror Association. [MV]
Juan Miguel Aguilera
born Valencia, Spain: 6 August 1960
- Mundos en el abismo ["Worlds into the Abyss"] (Barcelona, Spain: Ultramar, 1988) with Javier Redal [Akasa-Puspa: pb/Antoni Garcés]
- Hijos de la eternidad ["Children of Eternity"] (Barcelona, Spain: Ultramar, 1990) with Javier Redal [Akasa-Puspa: pb/Antoni Garcés]
- Mundos en la eternidad ["Worlds into Eternity"] (Madrid, Spain: Equipo Sirius, 2001) with Javier Redal [omni of the above two: Akasa-Puspa: pb/Juan Miguel Aguilera, Javier Redal]
- En un vacío insondable ["In an Unfathomable Void"] (Tenerife, Spain: La Calle de la Costa, 1994) with Javier Redal [novella: Akasa-Puspa: pb/Juan Miguel Aguilera, Paco Roca]
- El refugio ["The Shelter"] (Barcelona, Spain: Ediciones B, 1994) with Javier Redal [Akasa-Puspa: pb/Trazo]
- La Llavor del mal ["The Seed of Evil"] (Barcelona, Spain: Pagès Editors, 1997) with Ricardo Lázaro [novella: written in Catalan: Akasa-Puspa: pb/]
- Mundos y demonios ["Worlds and Demons"] (Barcelona, Spain: Minotauro, 2005) [Akasa-Puspa: pb/Opalworks]
- La locura de Dios ["The Madness of God"] (Barcelona, Spain: Ediciones B, 1998) [pb/Rafael Fontériz]
- Contra el tiempo ["Against Time"] (Madrid, Spain: Artifex, 2001) with Rafael Marín [novella: pb/Concepción Corrales]
- Náufragos ["Stranded"] (Madrid, Spain: Punto de Lectura, 2001) with Eduardo Vaquerizo [pb/]
- Rihla ["Rihla"] (Barcelona, Spain: Minotauro, 2004) [pb/Opalworks]
- El sueño de la razón ["The Dream of Reason"] (Barcelona, Spain: Minotauro, 2006) [pb/El Bosco]
- La red de Indra ["Indra's Network"] (Madrid, Spain: Alamut, 2009) [pb/Alejandro Terán, Marina Taibo]
- La zona ["The Zone"] (Madrid, Spain: Espasa Calpe, 2012) with Javier Negrete [pb/Calderón Studio]
- Oceanum ["Oceanum"] (Barcelona, Spain: Edebé, 2012) with Rafael Marín [pb/]
- Sindbad en el País del Sueño ["Sindbad in the Land of Dreams"] (Barcelona, Spain: Fantascy, 2014) [pb/Juan Miguel Aguilera]
works as editor
- Más allá de Némesis ["Beyond Nemesis"] (Gijón, Spain: Sportula, 2013) [anth: Akasa-Puspa: pb/Juan Miguel Aguilera]
- Antes de Akasa-Puspa ["Before Akasa-Puspa"] (Gijón, Spain: Sportula, 2015) [anth: Akasa-Puspa: pb/Juan Miguel Aguilera]
individual titles as editor
- Visiones 2000 ["Visions 2000"] (Spain: Spanish Fantasy and Science Fiction Association, 2000) [anth: pb/Juan Miguel Aguilera]
- Juan Miguel Aguilera at La Tercera Fundación ["The Third Foundation"] (in Spanish)
- Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Internet Movie Database – Stranded
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