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Puerto Rico

Entry updated 6 February 2013. Tagged: International.

As is well known, owing to the particular political situation of the island as a de facto colony of the United States, all Puerto Ricans hold US citizenship and, therefore, may live either on the island or on the mainland; some publish in Spanish and others in English. The latter is the case for Miami-born James Stevens-Arce, perhaps the first Puerto Rican to publish sf, and the most prolific. Stevens-Arce has dedicated his life to textual creation, by writing screenplays, commercials, short stories or novels; and in diverse genres: crime, Fantasy, Horror, sf, realism. He initially published in English as James A Stevens, and has divided most of his life between Florida and San Juan. He began publishing short stories in the late 1960s, appearing in various anthologies and magazines in the US as detailed in his entry (which see). His most popular work to date is the internationally acclaimed novel Soulsaver (2000), the story of a futuristic Christian theocracy in a US where San Juan de Puerto Rico becomes the centre of the nation.

Moret recently, two other Puerto Rican authors have published sf novels, both in Spanish: Rafael Acevedo and Pedro Cabiya. In 2001, the Universidad de Río Piedras' professor and poet, Rafael Acevedo published his sf debut novel Exquisito cadaver ["Exquisite Corpse"] (2001). This novel won an honorary mention in the prestigious Premio Casa de las Américas, Cuba, that same year. The novel is a mise in abyme of the poetic title, and a formal pastiche. It exposes a variety of elements of different literary traditions of the crime and sf sub-genres.

For his part, Pedro Cabiya, professor and cultural critic, has published three sf novels, La cabeza ["The Head"] (2005); Trance ["Trance"] (2007) and Malas hierbas ["Weeds"] (2011). Cabiya's stories are grotesque representations of the Puerto Rican and Caribbean culture (he currently lives in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic). His use of sf is an excuse to describe those societies and its obsessions with Sex, violence, social problems and personal inter-connections. Cabiya's novels have become very popular and even cultural icons in the Hispanic Caribbean.

Apart from these novels, there are also some short stories published in various collections and E-Zines, like "El terminator Boricua" ["The Boricua Terminator"] in Los viajes de Blanco White ["The Journeys of Blaco White"] (coll 2007) by José E Santos (1963-    ) and "La torre de Babel" ["The Tower of Babel"] by Ángel M Encarnación (1979-    ) in Cuaderno de juglaría ["Jongleur's Notebook"] (1979).

In a special 2008 issue of the Cuban E-Zine Qubit dedicated to Puerto Rico and edited by Raúl Aguiar, there is information regarding the existence and publication of several relevant short stories, such as "Cabeza cableada" (September 2008 Qubit) by Raúl Soto (1968-    ), (original title "Wirehead Games"), winner in 2003 of the Certamen de Literatura de la Universidad del Sagrado Corazón award (section in English), in San Juan de Puerto Rico; "Fierabrás" ["Fierabras"] (September 2008 Qubit), by Aravind Enrique Adyanthaya (1965-    ); and "Memorias inconclusas de Encerrado" ["Unfinished Memories of Encerrado"] (September 2008 Qubit) by Bruno Soreno (1970-    ).

According to Manuel Clavell (?   -    ) in "Coqueteos boricuas con la ciencia ficción. Bibliografía mínima" ["Boriqua Flirtings with Science Fiction. A Minimum Bibliography"] (September 2008 Qubit), a further sf publication is the comic "Las extrañas y terribles aventuras de Ánima Sola: Hambre" ["The Strange and Terrible Adventures of Anima Sola: Hunger"] (November 2003 Zemí Comics Inc), a collaborative work by Pedro Cabiya, who wrote the story, and the artists Israel González (?   -    ) and Yovanni Ramírez (?   -    ). In addition, Clavell mentions the short story "Prototipo Mayfair Galaxie" ["Prototype Mayfair Galaxy"] by Jose Liboy Erba (1964-    ) in his Cada vez te despides mejor ["Each Time You Say Goodbye, You Do it Better"] (coll 2003); and "Tres soles en Anexia" ["Three Suns in Anexia"] by Bruno Soreno (1972-    ), in Expresiones: muestras de ensayo, teatro, narrativa, arte y poesía de la Generación X ["Expressions: Samples of Drama, Fiction, Art and Poetry of Generation X"] (anth 2003) edited by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. [JCTR]

see also: Latin America.


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