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Bermúdez Castillo, Gabriel

Entry updated 24 December 2020. Tagged: Author.

(1934-2019) Spanish solicitor and author, a pioneer in introducing local references, themes and characters into Spanish science fiction, highly influenced by Anglo-Saxon sf in the fifties and sixties. He published nine novels, three collections and more than twenty short stories and novellas, some considered classics of Spanish sf and repeatedly reprinted. He also used the pseudonym Gael Benjamín.

Bermúdez Castillo began writing stories in Fanzines in 1969. His first collection was El mundo Hókun ["The World Hókun"] (coll 1971) as by Gael Benjamín, including the novella "Amor en una isla verde" ["Love in a Green Island"] that won the European SF Award in 1972. His first novel was Viaje a un planeta Wu-Wei ["Voyage to a Wu-Wei Planet"] (1976), which narrates the Fantastic Voyage of a terrestrial woman through an exotic world, full of adventure and Humour. His second collection was La piel del infinito ["The Skin of Infinity"] (coll 1978) featuring one of his most reprinted stories: the hilarious "Cuestión de oportunidades" ["Matter of Opportunities"]. Shortly after, he published El Señor de la Rueda ["Master of the Wheel"] (1978), a funny recreation of medieval times mixed with details of car culture, moving castles and violent road jousting; and perhaps his best known short fiction, "La última lección sobre Cisneros" ["The Last Lesson of Cisneros"] (in Llorad por nuestro futuro ["Cry for Our Future"], anth 1978, ed Domingo Santos), a Time Travel story.

After a hiatus of several years, he published El hombre estrella ["Starman"] (1987), a novel that tells the story of a successful man in a matriarchal society, where women have physical and sexual predominance (see Women in SF). He also wrote Mano de Galaxia ["Hand of the Galaxy"], his most ambitious work, a Space Opera in which a tyrannical emperor of Earth covets the great wealth of minerals of the planet Golconda. The novel was divided into two volumes due to its length, the first being Golconda ["Golconda"] (1987); however, this was brutally censored by the publisher to remove scenes of "Sex and violence" [sic]. It was issued in full without censorship by the Spanish Fantasy & Science Fiction Association as Mano de Galaxia (2001 ebook) and finally in two printed volumes by the University of Zaragoza [see Checklist below].

Bermúdez Castillo continued his successful literary career. Salud Mortal ["Mortal Health"] (1993), winner of the Ignotus Award, describes a world ruled by the oligarchy of the medical class. Instantes estelares ["Stellar Instants"] (coll 1994) contains three novellas, finalists in several major Spanish awards. Demonios en el cielo ["Demons in the Sky"] (2001) won another Ignotus Award. El país del pasado ["The Country of the Past"] (2003), Espíritus de Marte ["Spirits of Mars"] (2012), an homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom novels, and Los herederos de Julio Verne ["The Heirs of Jules Verne"] (2013) (see Jules Verne), were his last books.

Bermúdez Castillo published his stories in the most important sf publishing houses and magazines of his time, including Nueva Dimensión and the Spanish edition of Asimov's SF, both run by Domingo Santos, who edited most of his novels. According to the critics, his fluid style connects with the best tradition of the adventure genre, but his stories are infused with social criticism, a surprising anarchist ideology and a traditional and sly humour. Thanks to him, Spanish sf began to develop its own literary identity, supported by a more realistic language and worldly characters. In 1992 he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award, later renamed the Gabriel Award, by the Spanish Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror Association. [MV]

Gabriel Bermúdez Castillo

born Valencia, Spain: 29 June 1934

died Elche, Spain: 19 May 2019

works

  • Viaje a un planeta Wu-Wei ["Voyage to a Wu-Wei Planet"] (Barcelona, Spain: Acervo, 1976) [pb/El Cubri]
  • El Señor de la Rueda ["Master of the Wheel"] (Madrid, Spain: Albia, 1978) [pb/]
  • El hombre estrella ["Starman"] (Barcelona, Spain: Ultramar, 1987) [pb/Antoni Garcés]
  • Golconda ["Golconda"] (Barcelona, Spain: Acervo, 1987) [heavily censored: pb/Tomás C Gilsanz]
    • Mano de Galaxia ["Hand of the Galaxy"] (Spain: Spanish Fantasy & Science Fiction Association, 2001) [vt of the above with text restored plus the second part, Haladriel below: na/]
      • Mano de Galaxia I. Golconda ["Hand of the Galaxy I. Golconda"] (Zaragoza, Spain: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 2008) [first half of the above: pb/José Luis Cano]
      • Mano de Galaxia II. Haladriel ["Hand of the Galaxy II. Haladriel"] (Zaragoza, Spain: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 2008) [second half of the above: pb/José Luis Cano]
  • Salud Mortal ["Mortal Health"] (Madrid, Spain: Miraguano, 1993) [pb/Rafael Estrada]
  • Demonios en el cielo ["Demons in the Sky"] (Bilbao, Spain: Juan José Aroz Editor, 2001) [pb/Koldo Campo]
  • El país del pasado ["The Country of the Past"] (Barcelona, Spain: Ediciones B, 2003) [pb/Alejandro Colucci and Sara Salvador]
  • Espíritus de Marte ["Spirits of Mars"] (Madrid, Spain: La Biblioteca del Laberinto, 2012) [pb/J. Allen St. John]
  • Los herederos de Julio Verne ["The Heirs of Jules Verne"] (Madrid, Spain: La Biblioteca del Laberinto, 2013) [pb/]
  • La casa de la vaguada ["The House of the Watercourse"] (Madrid, Spain: Pulpture, 2015) horror novella [pb/]

collections

  • El mundo Hókun ["The World Hókun"] (Zaragoza, Spain: Jabalambre, 1975) as by Gael Benjamín [coll: pb/Carlos Giménez]
  • La piel del infinito ["The skin of infinity"] (Barcelona, Spain: Dronte, 1978) [coll: pb/Enrique Torres]
  • Instantes estelares ["Stellar Instants"] (Madrid, Spain: Miraguano, 1994) [coll: pb/Rafael Estrada]

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