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Cunha, Fausto

Entry updated 24 August 2020. Tagged: Author.

(1923-2004) Brazilian author and well-known literary critic, whose full name is Fausto Fernandes da Cunha. He is one of the central figures of the GRD generation of the 1960s, i.e., those writers published by Gumercindo Rocha Dorea, and is best known for his collections As noites marcianas ["Martian Nights"] (coll 1960) and O dia da nuvem ["The Day of the Cloud"] (coll 1980). His other sf works include a Young Adult novel, O Lobo do espaço ["The Space Wolf"] (1977), and a collection of fantasy stories, O beijo antes do sono ["A Kiss before Sleep"] (coll 1974). In addition to several volumes of literary criticism, Cunha is also known for his seminal essay "Ficção científica no Brasil – um planeta quase desabitado" ["Science Fiction in Brazil – An Almost Uninhabited Planet"], which appeared in the Brazilian translation of L David Allen's A Science Fiction Reader's Guide (1973). He also edited three anthologies of sf in translation: Encontro no espaço ["Encounters in Space"] (anth 1969), Antologia do espaço ["An Anthology of Space"] (anth 1975) and Antologia cósmica ["Cosmic Anthology"] (anth 1982).

Cunha addresses many traditional themes of Anglo-American science fiction, such as Space Flight, Aliens and Time Travel, among others, yet often with a humanistic, Brazilian perspective. For example, the story "Regresso" ["Return"] – which like all others cited below first appeared in As noites marcianas ["Martian Nights"] – tells of Pedro Santos, a Black Brazilian astronaut who disappears when his Spaceship is lost in outer space, only to return centuries later to discover that an entire field of study called "Santologia" has been named after him. Stories about Aliens, such as "Chamam-me de monstro" ["They Call Me Monster"] and "Cygni 61" ["61 Cygni"] are told from an alien's point of view, as it experiences life on earth, and, in the latter case, enters the body of a human female. In "Mobile", a grandfather tells of his adventures in outer space, where he has contact with a crystalline race of beings, from whom he narrowly escapes. The encounter does not result in new knowledge or trade, and in this sense the mission does not fit the typical "fight or trade" paradigms of North American sf. The ethics of Technology are tested in "O dia que passou" ["The Day that Passed"] when a man uses a Time Machine to try to undo a murder he commits, and in "O anzol e os peixes" ["The Hook and the Fish"] in which advertisers (see Advertising) can manipulate consumer behaviour through olfactory means, inadvertently causing mass suicide. Among Cunha's most interesting stories is "Última estrela", ["Last Star"], published in his collection O dia da nuvem ["The Day of the Cloud"] (coll 1980), in which a space explorer recounts his experiences, including sexual encounters with humanoid alien species and also encounters with an alien race of spiders, ending in a dreamlike sequence. [MEG]

Fausto Fernandes da Cunha

born Recife, Brazil: 1923

died Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 30 January 2004

works (selected)

  • As noites marcianas ["Martian Nights"] (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: GRD, 1960) [coll: pb/]
  • "Ficção científica no Brasil: um planeta quase desabitado" ["Science Fiction in Brazil – An Almost Uninhabited Planet"] in No mundo da ficção científica by L David Allen, trans Antonio Alexandre Faccioli and Gregório Pelegi Toloy. (São Paulo, Brazil: Summus, 1976) [nonfiction: pp5-20: pb/]
  • O lobo do espaço ["The Space Wolf"] (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Cátedra, 1976) [pb/]
  • O dia da nuvem ["The Day of the Cloud"] (São Paulo, Brazil: Cultura, 1980) [coll: pb/]

about the author

  • David L Dunbar. "Unique Motifs in Brazilian Science Fiction." (Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona, 1976) [nonfiction: PhD dissertation: pb/]
  • Leo Barrow. "Fausto Cunha" in Dictionary of Contemporary Brazilian Authors (Tempe, Arizona: Center for Latin American Studies, Arizona State Press, 1981) edited by David Foster and Roberto Reis [nonfiction: pp42-32: hb/]
  • M Elizabeth Ginway. Brazilian Science Fiction: Cultural Myths and Nationhood in the Land of the Future (Lewisberg, Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press, 2004) [nonfiction: pp31, 38, 61, 63,72,75: hb/]
  • "Fausto Cunha 1923-2004" (May 2005 Megalon: Fanzine de Ficção científica e horror no 71) [pp4-9: mag/]
  • Leonardo, Edivaldo Marcondes. "Ficção Científica nos anos 60 e 70 e Fausto Cunha" ["Science Fiction of the 60s, 70s and Fausto Cunha"] (Campinas, Brazil: Universidade de Campinas, 2007) [nonfiction: MA thesis: pb/]
  • Ramiro Giroldo. "Alteridade à margem: Estudo de As noite marcianas de Fausto Cunha." ["Alterity at the Margin: A Study of Martian Nights by Fausto Cunha"] (São Paulo, Brazil: Universidade de São Paulo, 2012) [nonfiction: PhD dissertation: pb/]


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