Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  


Entry updated 29 September 2020. Tagged: International.

Science fiction in Bolivia is permeated with indigenous Myths of Origin (see Mythology) [see also The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] and references to national culture. The Bolivian sf genre may be divided into two spheres, respectively relating to the Fantasy world and to sf as a genre that seeks to address both the mythical universe and indigenous heritage.

Bolivian writers (and also foreigners) are drawn to thinking upon the nature of their mythical roots and their origins because of several factors: the fact that it is a landlocked country and the site of the ruins of one of the oldest cultures in the world, the Tiahuanaco culture; the proximity to the sacred Lake Titicaca; and the diverse geography that encompasses a good part of the Andes mountain range and portions of the Amazon jungle, as well as central valleys. The vestiges of Tiahuanaco culture, which preceded the Inca culture by thousands of years, means that thoughts of indigenous Identity predominate in Bolivia, and with them mythical legends that have sometimes inspired texts, many of them fantastic. The archaic mythic component prevails in Bolivian literature of both fantasy and sf.

Although there are no documented references about Fantasy literature or Scientific Romances of the early nineteenth century, it is necessary to cite an eccentric work by Bolivian writer, philologist and researcher, Emeterio Villamil de Rada: La lengua de Adán y el hombre de Tiahuanago ["Adam's Tongue and the Tiahuanago Man"] (1888). This argues that the Aymara language is the first language of human beings after Creation, a language from which other languages are born (see Linguistics). Also the author demonstrates that Eden was located in the Andes, where Tiahuanaco city, nowadays a place of ancient ruins, was probably the enclave where Adam lived (see Adam and Eve).

In the early twentieth century the poet Ricardo Jaimes Freyre, according to some critics, introduced the world of Fantasy into Bolivian literature. Although his work is rather poetic, with romantic motifs linked to classical myths, his magazine story "Los viajeros" ["The Travellers"] (1900 Almanaque Sudamericano de Buenos Aires ["South American Almanac of Buenos Aires"]), is perhaps the closest to the fantastic. It tells the story of an insensitive hermit who receives four travellers, the last of whom announces his own death.

One of the most important Bolivian writers of the early twentieth century, Adela Zamudio, also includes elements of the fantastic with some references to the sciences in her literary work. Thus, the short story "El Diablo químico" ["The Chemical Devil"] (1901) is an early sf tale in which a man falls into disgrace, when, making a scientific laboratory experiment (see Scientists), he is tempted by the devil, who leads him to confuse the formula and produce an evil elixir. Another interesting story is "Vértigo" ["Vertigo"] (1901), which, although it describes the world of insects, is a parable of society with its fears and dark institutions (see Dystopias). Both stories, with others published in local newspapers or magazines, were collected and published posthumously in two books: Novelas cortas ["Short Novels"] (coll 1943) and Cuentos Breves ["Brief Tales"] (coll 1943). Also of note is Zamudio's stage play for children, Violeta o la Princesa Azul ["Violet or Princess Blue"] (1890), which is a Parody of fairy tales.

Reflecting the conflicting times that Bolivia and all of Latin America went through after the wars of independence, José Aguirre Achá published Platonia, escenas de la democracia en la América Latina ["Platonia, Scenes of Democracy in Latin America"] (1923). This is a political Utopian novel about an imaginary country, Platones, home of three families, who have witnessed the ravages of corruption, bad Politics, and Economic deterioration in their nation since 1810. The families dream of changing their situation: the book shows the ideals of democracy.

Fantasy, adventure and myth are in turn the basis of the literary works of Diómedes Arze de Pereyra. This author, journalist and writer, who spent much of his life in the United States, took advantage of the rise of the Pulp magazines, where he published fantasy stories in the Lost Race sub-genre. Stories originally appearing in The Golden Book Magazine were assembled as the US-published novel The Land of the Golden Scarabs (stories January, February-March and July-September 1928 The Golden Book Magazine; 1928), and later in Spanish in Spain and Chile as El valle del sol ["The Valley of the Sun"] (1934). This novel chronicles the journey of a group hunting for gold in the Amazon and their encounter with a mythical Edenic civilization hidden in the jungles of Bolivia; the main character meets a local woman and marries her.

Bolivian sf begins in earnest with Víctima de los siglos ["Victim of the Centuries"] (1943) by Armando Montenegro. This novel is about a man who, after suffering the hecatomb of the atomic bomb (see Holocaust) and subsequently being frozen by a gas (see Suspended Animation), returns to life in the year 6943 (see Sleeper Awakes), in a City of the future where Telepathy is practiced. Many critics consider this novel to recall the styles of Jules Verne or H G Wells, whose works were described as "scientific fiction" (see Scientific Romances).

Written in 1944 and posthumously published, the novel Kristina y los profetas ["Kristina and prophets"] (2002) by Rafael García Rosquellas deals with the history of humanity and its future, narrated with shades taken from myth and philosophy.

From the 1950s the story "La Escalera" ["The Staircase"] by Edmundo Camargo is particularly noteworthy. The author, a well-known poet, wrote two short stories, both compiled in a posthumous book Del tiempo de los muertos ["Of the Time of the Dead"] (coll 1964). "La Escalera" is an almost kaleidoscopic story, where space is combined with surrealism. Things are enlarged or reduced before the character's eyes (see Great and Small); there is also the case of an old man who discovers how to convert a projected mental image into something material.

Likewise, in the 1960s Álvaro Pinedo Antezana published El encuentro ["The Encounter"] (coll 1967). Set in the Bolivian jungle, the novella-length title story involves an encounter with Extraterrestrial beings (see First Contact): the author presents the story, in the manner of testimony, as if it were true. Pinedo issued subsequently Historias extrañas ["Strange Stories"] (1984), a novel about the secrets of Tiahuanaco and Extraterrestrials. In the same decade, Salomón Baldomar Balcázar wrote a fantasy novel with scientific pretensions, Un volcán en Moscú ["A Volcano in Moscow"] (1968), which deals with the construction of an intercontinental tunnel leading to a volcano as a means of ensuring world peace and establishing a new political order (see Politics). This literary work addressed the concerns of the Cold War era. In the fairytale by Oscar Alfaro, Don Quijote en el Siglo XX ["Don Quixote in the Twentieth Century"] (1963, published posthumously in 1985 in book form), Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are accidentally thrown forward in time to 1963, come to the city of La Paz and find themselves in a modern world that seems demoniacal to them. The Technical University of Oruro organized a 1968 short story competition in which a work of Ernesto Camacho Ascarraga, "Grohumo" ["Grohumo"] (1968) was honoured. This appeared in the anthology Escritores Bolivianos 1968 ["Bolivian Storytellers 1968"] (coll 1982, Vol IV) published by the University. "Grohumo" is about a young Scientist who, following the work of his parents, explores other Dimensions parallel to the civilization of Earth, taking advantage of a gap in time (see Parallel Worlds).

In the 1970s, another group of authors explored sf more forcefully. The German, Harry Marcus, who had lived in Bolivia since his childhood, published El abismo de estrellas y otros cuentos ["The Abyss of Stars and Other Stories"] (coll 1970), bringing together stories published in local newspapers. For example, "El tirano" ["The Tyrant"] (1966 Presencia) was first published in the newspaper Presencia ["Presence"] in the "Suplemento Literario" ["Literary Supplement"] section. This described a kind of astral journey (see Time Travel) made by a parapsychologist to a city in ancient Greece. He arrives at a time when the people seek to rise up against the government they have never seen, despite its just decisions and the prosperity of the country. When the insurrection is carried out, the people discover that the government was only a book which priests consulted by asking it questions, creating a myth about the governor. Another story, "El globo" ["The Globe"] has to do with the news sensation that Marcus provoked in 1962 after the publication of "¿Hay platillos voladores en Cochabamba?" ["Are There Flying Saucers in Cochabamba?"] (1962 El Mundo), in the newspaper from Cochabamba, Bolivia, El mundo ["The World"]. This chronicle of his experiments caused concern in the population, leading journalists to publish news stories on the subject of UFOs. Marcus currently resides in Spain and continues to publish sf.

Also of note is Nazario Pardo Valle for El juicio final ["The Final Judgment"] (1971), which narrates the story of the End of the World in the year 2000 (see Disaster). The dilemma in the plot is the catastrophic idea that the resurrection of the dead could increase Overpopulation on Earth. To fix this problem the story posits the banishing of criminals to other planets, which will allow righteous men to choose their destiny in idyllic locations. Ramiro Condarco Morales is another writer who ventured into sf with Zedar de los espacios ["Zedar of Space"] (1975) about a space traveller who goes in search of his planet of origin (see Space Flight). During his journey he visits different worlds, including Earth where he longs to return because he finds love. But when he returns, he sees the planet transformed and the Inca world he once met has disappeared. This makes him realize the vastness of space and time (see Time Abyss). The poet, Pedro Shimose, also ventured into short fiction and published El coco se llamaba Drilo ["The Coconut Named Drilo"] (coll 1976), including the fantastic story "Ácido como fruta verde" ["Acid as Green Fruit"]. For his part, Fernando Diez de Medina presented a novel about the Atlantis-Bolivia connection, El Atlante y la Reina de Samos ["Atlas and the Queen of Samos"] (1979), which is anchored more in the Fantasy genre. This tells the story of a couple after the sinking of Atlantis, and their relationship on an Aegean island.

It is noteworthy that in the 1980s Bolivian writers demonstrated little or no interest in sf themes. Rare exception from that period include Alfonso Durana Gamarra with La forma tridimensional del futuro ["The Three-Dimensional Shape of the Future"] (coll 1989), a book of short stories containing references to myths and ancient cultures like Tiwanaku; also the German-Jewish writer, Werner Pless, a resident of Bolivia since World War Two, with Utopia 2487 ["Utopia 2487"] (work reprinted in 1989), about a man who wakes up after 500 years in a changed world (see Sleeper Awakes).

In the following decade of the 1990s, however, it is possible to find new initiatives in Bolivian sf. One example is Hugo Murillo Benich, best known for some surrealistic and fantastic short stories, poetry and painting. He had already published the fantastic tale "Paraíso" ["Paradise"] (1988), winner of the Franz Tamayo Award for Short Stories of that year, and other stories collected as Paraíso ["Paradise"] (coll 1990). Another book of his short stories is Ovnis y extraterrestres en los Andes ["UFOs and Aliens in the Andes"] (coll 1991), concerning fantastic sightings and encounters with Alien beings (see First Contact). He is also author of the short stories "El imperio de Wallallu" ["The Empire of Wallallu"] (1992 Presencia), which won the Short Story Award of the newspaper Presencia ["Presence"], and "Sucedió en Mairana" ["It Happened in Mairana"], published in the Anuario de la Unión de Escritores y Poetas de Oruro ["Almanac of the Union of Writers and Poets of Oruro"] and reproduced in the magazine Correveidile ["Run-go-and-tell"], issue 20 (2002 Correveidile).

In an apocalyptic tone, Fernando Aracena Cejas (under the pseudonym Carlos Nova) presented Latinoamérica 2025 ["Latin America 2025"] (1994), a novel is about a mega-corporation that dominates the world through corruption, repression and violence. Latin America has become an unlivable place. Faced with this situation, a group of young commandos is formed whose mission is to restore, through their struggle, human values. The author later updated the novel, this time published online as a saga: Latinoamérica 2025: cuando los jóvenes contralarán el mundo ["Latin America 2025: When Young People Will Control the World"] (1997 web) [see links below] and Latinoamérica 2026, la contraofensiva ["Latin America 2026, the Counteroffensive"] (1997 web) [see links below]. Aracena has also published short stories. One in the sf genre is "Evolución" ["Evolution"] in the anthology Poesía, narrativa, ensayo y anecdotario ["Poetry, Fiction, Essays and Anecdotes"] (anth 2009), published by the Union of Poets and Writers of Cochabamba.

One of the most recognized young Bolivian authors, Edmundo Paz Soldán, several of whose novels have transcended the borders of the country, has written two books in the field of sf: Sueños digitales ["Digital Dreams"] (2000) and El delirio de Turing ["Turing's Delirium"] (2003). The concern in all three is media ecology and especially how audiovisual Technology invades reality to make it something different to the senses (see Virtual Reality). The underlying theme in all these works, though their plots are different, is how reality is revealed as a simulacrum, to the point where reality no longer seems real. In the first novel, the invasion of video and Videogames into people's reality (see Perception), makes everyday life cease to have consistency for them, even going to create alternative realities; in the second, a hacker group fights against the government and multinationals who are predators of natural resources. In 2001 Francisco Cajías published the short story "Reality Runner" in the anthology Delfín del mundo y otros cuentos ["Dolphin of the World and Other Stories"] (anth 2001); this is a story about the immersive reality of Videogames. He is working on another sf book, «Iris» ["Iris"], about a Dystopian society.

Iván Prado Sejas is another author with a series of futuristic and sf novels. His work Inka Kutimunña (El Inca ha vuelto) ["The Inca Has Returned"] (1998) can be considered futuristic: in this work, the indigenous people take political power when they become aware of their role in history, as well as their status as heirs to a rich culture and to an ancient tradition. Prado Sejas later deepened his interest in sf with Las Amazonas, poder y gloria ["Amazons, Power and Glory"] (2006), which takes up the role of Amazon warriors and links them with the Atlanteans. The fantastic tone of this novel also takes us to mythical worlds in an attempt to explain the genesis of the Earth. Prado Sejas also published El crepúsculo en la noche de los tiempos ["Twilight in the Night of Time"] (2008), about an Alien couple who, after wandering off course and participating in the liberation of a doomed planet, mingle with humans on Earth while their fellows search for them. Another book by this author is Los sueños del padre: cuentos de marcianos, terrimarcianos y terrícolas ["The Dreams of the Father: Stories of Martians, Earth-Martians and Earthers"] (2009), a work about the colonization of Mars by Andean Earthers (see Colonization of Other Worlds) and the need to spread love. His latest novel is Samay Pata: al rescate de los Selenitas ["Samay Pata: To the Rescue of the Selenites"] (2012), based on the idea that certain planets near Earth were inhabited and that, because of some catastrophe, their cultures became extinct. Prado is also author of the short story, "Galaxia mía, tuya o nuestra" ["Galaxy Mine, Yours or Ours"] (2011 Malhablados bien escritos), published in the digital magazine Malhablados bien escritos ["Foul-Mouthed, Well Written"].

The first decade of the twenty-first century marks the true emergence of sf in Bolivia, with a generation restless to explore the genre in creative ways. Besides the aforementioned authors others should be cited who now seem to form a heterogeneous though interesting movement.

One is Dora Gómez Fernández, writer of literary studies, whose novel Más allá de la luna ["Beyond the Moon"] (2000) is aimed at children and Young Adults; it features an interplanetary journey (see Space Flight) and the adventures of a group of Earth children on the planet Aurora. Also part of the new generation is the writer Rodrigo Antezana Patton, author of El viaje ["The Journey"] (2001), which describes an apocalyptic world populated by two species. The first species is humanoid, and the second similar to a mechanical race (see Race in SF), and they are engaged in constant warfare. Along with Emilio Martínez, Antezana edited Inmigraciones de Arkham ["Immigrations from Arkham"] (anth 2005), a book of short stories in the manner H P Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, which includes the tales "Entropía" ["Entropy"] by Edmundo Paz Soldán, "El lago" ["The Lake"] by Miguel Esquirol, "Inmigraciones de Arkham" ["Immigrations from Arkham"] by Emilio Martínez, and others. Another sf novel by this author is Sendero hacia el atardecer ["Path Into the Sunset"] (2007), which chronicles a post-apocalyptic time (see Post-Holocaust): Earth has endured a Third World War; there is a single leader who has unified humanity through tyranny. This novel, unlike the others, was published online chapter-by-chapter on the author's blog: "Mi Meme" ["My Meme"].

Miguel Lundín Peredo is another young writer with new aesthetic ideas. The book El reloj de Kennedy ["Kennedy's Clock"] (2004) contains his first sf stories. Among its offerings are a story about a Robot that wonders about love, and another about a Superhero. Another book of his sole authorship is Un pueblo llamado Dreamcast ["A Town Called Dreamcast"] (2011), about a young Videogame designer who enters into a world created by his father's company; a conspiracy emerges, and the game characters come to life, leaving the game and committing a series of crimes. He has also written Kamasutra photoshop ["Kamasutra Photoshop"] (2007), Chaparetech ["Chaparetech"] (2008), Armageddon Sphere X ["Armageddon Sphere X"] (2011), about an Alien race (see Race in SF), Sukaida-Yuain, looking for a sphere caught by a Japanese corporation for experiments. He has another set of novelettes available for purchase online: Fuga de Tropicalópolis ["Escape from Tropicalopolis"] (2011 web), Nabiki viaja a Olympuscollo ["Nabiki Travels to Olympuscollo"] (2012 web), Total Ikarri ["Total Inkarri"] (2012 web), Cyborgs, niños robots y tormentas eléctricas ["Cyborgs, Robot Kids and Electrical Storms"] (2012 web), etc. Lundín Peredo has also created fantasy Comics with Superheroes who possess great Superpowers. One of his comic series is Cómix Lundineta ["Lundineta Comix"] (2008), which includes such titles as V de Vengador ["V for Avenger"], Quijote Patrol ["Quixote Patrol"] and Olympuscollo Sentinels ["Olympuscollo Sentinels"]. Lundín Peredo has also written blog novellas on Crime and Punishment themes.

From a more esoteric and philosophical framework, Fernando Villena Villegas offers La sabiduría solar de los Andes y el canto de Wira Pirú ["Solar Wisdom of the Andes and the Song of Wira Pirú"] (2004), about the search for a mythical bird in the heart of the Bolivian Amazon. The story is based on an ancient Indian legend from the Guarasug-We people about a bird whose song soothes the ills of men. Gary Daher's El Huésped ["The Guest"] (2004) is a Dystopian novel about the surveillance society.

In a similar vein is Arturo von Vacano's La aventura del anular extraviado ["The Adventure of the Lost Ring Finger"] (2005 web) [see links below], a fantasy novel with the tone of a detective novel that recounts the adventures of a character named Huascar Endara Watson. Watson must face such opponents as a witch, a murderer, a torturer (see Torture), a dictator, a military man, etc, and overcome them with the help of a woman, an intergalactic monk, and a magical Machine. He has also written sf stories since 2009 under the overall title of Diez y ocho cuentos ["Eighteen Stories"], all available online from his website. The most memorable are: "Selena viene" ["Selene Comes"], "Carta a Borges" ["Letter to Borges"], "Memoria del Cronoauta" ["Crononaut's Memory"], "2030 en la Institución Lopezsiana" ["2030 in the Lopezsian Institution"], "Salvación" ["Salvation"].

In the Virtual Reality vein, Cristina Trigo de Quiroga published Las muertes de Gabriel ["The Deaths of Gabriel"] (2006), which chronicles the virtual adventures of a character who can die and be reborn again and again when he experiences the real death of a loved one. The Peruvian writer Enrique Congrains Martin, upon settling in Bolivia, wrote: El narrador de historias ["The Storyteller"] (2006), a novel whose action takes place in 2075 in Mendoza, a province of Argentina, where the United Nations attempts to placate an invasion of Chile. Since Argentina is a Protectorate of Mexico, this becomes a Dystopian state. In turn several countries in South America have disappeared due to geopolitical wars. In Mendoza there survives an old bookstore, in which books are seen as archaeological objects to which groups of nostalgic readers flock to find forgotten knowledge. The narrator is a Bolivian who, because of his country has disappeared from the map, takes on Argentinian nationality (see Politics).

A current trend in the younger generation of Bolivian writers is Cyberpunk sf. The 30th edition of the Cuban magazine Qubit ["Qubit"] (January 2008) is dedicated to Bolivian Cyberpunk. It includes the short stories "El Koan testador" ["The Testator Koan"] by Greg Mercado, "Cognitivo disidente" ["Cognitive Dissident"] by Nayra Corzón, "La Biblia de Maltavos" ["Bible of Maltavos"] by Gary Daher Canedo. Further Bolivian Cyberpunk narratives include De cuando en cuando Saturnina ["Saturnina From Time to Time"] (2004) by Alison Spedding (1962-    ), a British anthropologist who has lived in Bolivia since 1989. In England she had previously published three fantasy novels about Alexander the Great. Due to her professional experience, her political interests and research on the Aymara culture published in socio-anthropological studies, she has taken up literature again in Bolivia. De cuando en cuando Saturnina is part of a trilogy that began with Manuel y Fortunato ["Manuel and Fortunato"] (1997) and Viento de la Cordillera ["Andean Wind"] (2001), historical novels that contain elements of folktales with plots set in the past. De cuando en cuando Saturnina, on the contrary, takes place in the future when Bolivia has ceased to exist as a nation, and in its stead a region called Qullasuyu Marka has been established. The indigenous people, after a revolt in 2022, have decided to rebuild the Aymara domain, wherein prevails a futuristic labour union (see Politics). The story consists of various oral testimonies, like a puzzle in the style of Rayuela ["Hopscotch"] by Julio Cortázar. The strength of this novel is its anarcho-Feminist view, mixed language, vision of the overexploited world, and, above all, the involvement of the indigenous in the exploration of space (see Space Flight).

The work of Antonio Portugal Alvizuri is set in the Andean indigenous mythical world, with references to connections with beings from other worlds, particularly Underground. His first book, La Chinkana del Titicaca: los túneles secretos del Lago Sagrado ["The Chinkana of the Titicaca: The Secret Tunnels of the Sacred Lake"] (2007), is a fantasy story where the author is involved as a character. In the book he recounts the experience of his journey to the Island of the Sun when the writer goes in search of archaeological data. While camping in the open air, he wakes up and meets a family that knows the existence of a secret tunnel, the Chinkana, from which light-beings emerge in circular ships. Interested in learning more about this tunnel, he enters it and makes contact with these other beings (see Hollow Earth). Portugal then published Ciudades secretas en los Andes ["Secret Cities of the Andes"] (2008), which is another "well-documented" personal account of his encounters with Underground beings and messages they communicate to him. Another book of his, En contacto con los Maestros Mayores ["In Contact with the High Masters"] (2010), is a work that refers to indigenous myths and the mission of the narrator to tell the experiences of the past.

Sara María Mansilla's work is almost along the same line of Fantasy and adventure novels. Since 2008 she has published a series of novels aimed at young people. According to some critics, this saga, El mundo fantástico de Benjamín ["The Fantastic World of Benjamin"], could be compared to the Harry Potter novels by J K Rowling (1965-    ). They are: Benjamín y el séptimo cofre de oro ["Benjamin and the Seventh Gold Coffer"] (2008), Benjamín y el bastón de Zenón ["Benjamin and Zeno's Cane"] (2009), Benjamín y el canto de los bosques ["Benjamin and the Song of the Forest"] (2010) and Benjamín y la cueva del desierto ["Benjamin and the Cave of the Desert"] (2012). In them her character, Benjamín Grillo Jenecherú, delves into the world of mysteries and through them learns about the geography of Bolivia and endangered species. The series of books is aimed at forming an awareness of the environment and its conservation (see Ecology).

Another young writer is Marcela Gutiérrez with La mujer que no se equivocaba ["The Woman Who Did No Wrong"] (2008). This book consists of a series of short stories such as the contact between an old woman who has come back to life and an Extraterrestrial being, or that of a teenager who travels into another Dimension and sees alternative futures (see Time Travel). The work Tukzon: Historias colaterales ["Tukzon: Collateral Stories"] (2008) by Giovanna Rivero is also important insofar as it is a novel that refers to the idea of sf in the present: it is about migration, and reference is made to the present and future images as if they were imaginary. Rivero published another novel: Helena 2022: La vera crónica de un naufragio en el tiempo ["Helena 2022: the True Chronicli of a Shipwreck in Time"] (2012), about a group of children who need to populate a new Earth-like planet in an effort to establish a new Utopia; on the way, though, their Spaceship encounters a Black Hole and they are transported into 1633 to the Italian Inquisition. Gonzalo Montero Lara began with the short sf story "Victoria de la Pachamama" ["Victory of Pachamama"], part of Pétalos de Sangre ["Petals of Blood"] (coll 2009). Then he produced the collection Huellas de luna ["Moonprints"] (coll 2010), which mixes the mythic past with current social reality, and the novel El misterio de las tres tetillas ["The Mystery of the Three Nipples"] (2012), that deals with the search for a fabulous treasure, relating the mythical world of Tiahuanacu, fantastic and antediluvian creatures, and spy adventures. Adolfo Cáceres Romero's El despertar de la bella durmiente ["The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty"] (coll 2009) is a book of short stories about Time Travel.

Special mention should be made of Miguel Esquirol Ríos, a young scholar and promoter of sf in Bolivia. He was one of the first to write regular articles on Bolivian sf. Among his critical works to be found on the web are: "Ciencia ficción boliviana" ["Bolivian Science Fiction"] (January 2008 Qubit, number 30), "Un país de ciencia ficción" ["A Science Fiction Country"] (3 November 2010 Sitio de Ciencia Ficción ["Science Fiction Site"] web) and "Bolivia: a sci-fy country" (2010). Apart from his articles, he has published Memorias del futuro ["Memories of the Future"] (coll 2008), a book of short stories in the sf Cyberpunk genre, including tales of mythical Monsters, of hybrid technological men (see Cyborgs), of a trip to Orion, of a race war in Bolivia, and of the importance of Technology in the lives of human beings. One of the most interesting stories in this book is "El cementerio de los elefantes" ["The Elephant Graveyard"], a Cyberpunk homage to the Bolivian poet Jaime Saenz and his description of the indigent; in Esquirol Ríos's story the indigent have been physically transformed by science to perform subhuman tasks. He has also written a sort of scientific paper and philosophical science fiction tale, "El otro manifiesto antropófago" ["The Other Cannibal Manifesto"] (2008 web). This is a text that is online and enters into dialogue with the classic "Manifiesto antropófago" ["Cannibal Manifesto"] by the Brazilian Oswald de Andrade (see Brazil), through a narrator who confronts us with three endings regarding fascism imported to the American continent.

In Bolivia there is also an interesting concern with thinking about and describing the future. The intention of projecting the imagination is evident in many of the aforementioned works. This has been the purpose of anthologizing, of collecting the work of writers either in books or on web sites such as "Ciencia Ficción y Fantasía en Bolivia" ["Science Fiction and Fantasy in Bolivia"], as well as literary competitions. For example, in the early twenty-first century Juan Gonzáles edited Memoria de lo que vendrá ["Memory of Things to Come"] (anth 2000), showcasing the work of young writers under 30. It is a heterogeneous book of short stories whose prevailing topics include electronic Music, Videogames and Computers. Among the stories in this volume are "Los moradores del reflejo" ["Dwellers in the Reflection"] by Emilio Martínez, which tells of passing from reality through to the other side of a computer screen, and "Relaxex" ["Relaxex"] by Alejandro Brugues, about a hallucinogenic Drug that serves to contact a goddess.

In 2001, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) held a contest for chronicles and journalistic texts on sf, and in 2002 the United Nations Program for Bolivia (UNPB) launched an sf competition aimed at children and young people in this country. Selecting from among the large number of works entered ino the contest (around 250), Rafael Archondo edited a volume of the best entries: El futuro en cuentos ["The Future in Short Stories"] (anth 2002), including the essay by Archondo, "La Bolivia pensada por sus jóvenes escritores: paraíso o infierno, un país soñado desde los extremos" ["Bolivia Imagined by Its Young Writers: Paradise Or Hell, a Country Dreamed from the Edges"], about sf devised by the new generations.

On the other hand, the magazine Correveidile ["Run-go-and-tell"], issue number 8, under the title "Cuentos crueles y extraños" ["Cruel and Strange Tales"], contains short sf by young Bolivian writers such as Beatriz Loayza Millán with "El espejo" ["The Mirror"], Giovanna Rivero with "Pies de agua" ["Feet of Water"], Marcela Gutiérrez with "Titulares de periódicos" ["Newspaper Headlines"] and María Soledad Quiroga with "El árbol que da tazas de té" ["The Tree that Yields Teacups"]. Correveidile's twentieth issue was another anthology titled "Fantasía y ciencia ficción" ["Fantasy and Science Fiction"] with tales by: Harry Marcus, "El último poema" ["The Last Poem"]; Hugo Murillo Benich, "Sucedió en Mairana" ["It Happened in Mairana"]; Gary Daher, "La Biblia de Maltavos" ["The Bible of Maltavos"]; Marcela Gutiérrez, "La colonia" ["The Colony"]; and a chapter from the novel Víctima de los siglos ["Victim of the Centuries"] (1943) by Armando Montenegro.

A separate paragraph should be dedicated to Bolivian sf Comics, many of which are in the style of the futuristic Japanese Manga school. Among its creators are: Mario Markus with Bilis Negra ["Black Bile"] (2001), which tells of the ravages of biotechnology by the year 2045; Noel Castillo with Planeta Polvo ["Dust Planet"] (2008), a series of adventures on a strange planet; Juan Carlos Porcel with Comics such as Al filo del tiempo ["At the Edge of Time"] (2007), about an energy suit that has special powers, Ciudad de anillos ["City of Rings"] (2007), on individuals injected with microorganisms which allow them to double their physical and psychological potentials, Blogocausto ["Blogocaust"] (2008), about the digital world, and also Exterminatus ["Exterminatus"] (2008), a Cyberpunk comic about a violent futuristic world; Marcelino Fabián with Lima-Limón ["Lime-Lemon"] (2008), a comic about two superheroines in an imaginary kitsch world; Rolando Valdéz with the saga Súpercholita ["Supercholita"] (2008), about an indigenous superhero; Abel Cabrera with Samkaim ["Samkaim"] (2008), about several destructive gods (see Gods and Demons); Román Nina with La edad del mundo ["The Age of the World"] (2008), a kind of saga of mythical characters in a gloomy future; Jorge Siles Trigoso with El Kusillo ["The Kusillo"] (2009), about an anonymous Superhero from 2080; Andrés López Antelo with the comic ANG (Androide Nocivo Genocida) ["HGA (Harmful Genocidal Android)"] (2011), about a Robot in the Post-Holocaust world of the future.

In Cinema, sf films in Bolivia are few but enlightening. The animated medium-length film by Jesús Pérez, La tierra está enferma ["The Earth is Sick"] (1991) was the first attempt to raise environmental awareness through cartoons with the tale of an Aymaran child who witnesses environmental degradation, soil erosion and the problems this means for the survival of mankind. The film suggests that if there are changes in people's attitudes and well-defined social policies the future could be promising (see Climate Change). Another film is the feature-length El Triángulo del Lago ["The Lake Triangle"] (1999), directed by Mauricio Calderón. After the disappearance of a woman in the Bermuda Triangle, the protagonist, who has returned to Bolivia, finds a way to locate her. He uses the paranormal phenomena in his home and discovers he can travel through time ... to Atlantis. Through an inter-dimensional door on Lake Titicaca, he carries out his journeys while being watched by beings from another universe. The theme of travel through an inter-dimensional door is also present in the German-Bolivian coproduction, Escríbeme postales a Copacabana ["Write Me Postcards to Copacabana"] (2009) by the young German director Thomas Kröntaler. Although this is not necessarily sf, part of the plot uses the passage between Dimensions to create a dramatic story. The character discovers a secret passage between Lake Walchensee (Munich, Germany) and Lake Titicaca (La Paz, Bolivia).

More recent literary production of Bolivian sf has continued from 2010 to the present. Some of these recent authors and works are: Eduardo Ascarrunz with the novel El salar de maravilla ["The Wonderful Salt Flat"] (2010), which begins with an interview that the author conducted with astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin – who said that a UFO escorted Apollo XI on its moon landing – and turns it into a novel that also includes the Andean mythical past in the mix; Biyú Suárez with Paralelo 22 ["Parallel 22"] (coll 2010), a book of short stories about people who come from the future, also a portrait of the City of Santa Cruz in the twenty-third century; Rolando Albornoz with La invasión de los seres salidos de la no existencia ["The Invasion of the Beings that Come Out of Non-Existence"] (2010), a novel about beings that materialize in objects or subjects; Sisina Anze with El abrigo negro ["The Black Coat"] (2010), about a miner who buys Hitler's coat with which he travels in time; the story continues in La conjura del abrigo negro ["The Conspiracy of the Black Coat"] (2013); another of her works is La clonación de Cristo ["Cloning Christ"] (2011), which tells a story of the Cloning of Christ, his rebirth and for that effect, the advent of the Apocalypse; the continuation is Las últimas profecías ["The Latest Prophecies"] (2013), which re-imagines the origin of Christ related to Alien worlds; Ronald Rodríguez Gonzáles with Hyperrealidad, el evangelio de las profundidades ["Hyperreality, the Gospel of the Depths"] (2011), a Cyberpunk novel about worlds in other dimensions; Homero Carvalho Oliva with Seres sobrenaturales y mágicos de Bolivia ["Supernatural and Magical Beings of Bolivia"] (2011), which is a sort of bestiary [see also The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] of fantastic, mythical animals; Fanny Escobar Silva with El mensaje secreto de la ciudad perdida ["The Secret Message of the Lost City"] (2011), about an inter-dimensional trip through the Sun Gate of Tiahuanaco, a journey that leads the characters to ancient Atlantis; Vilma Tapia Anaya with Fábulas íntimas y otros atavíos ["Intimate Fables and Other Trappings"] (2011), about reality and unreality, and the world of dreams from which one can go from one world to another as if through a Black Hole; Dennis Morales with Venus reluciente ["Shimmering Venus"] (2012), about a woman's world whose survival is suddenly threatened by the appearance of a man; Gonzalo Lema with Después de las bombas ["After the Bombs"] (2012), about a future world where mutations prevail (see Mutants); and finally Álvaro Pérez Quehui with El Hombre ["The Man"] (2013), about a simulated virtual universe (see Virtual Reality). [IRM]

see also: Latin America.

further reading


previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies