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Saiz Cidoncha, Carlos

Entry updated 16 August 2021. Tagged: Author.

(1939-2018) Spanish author, considered one of the best writers of Space Opera; he also wrote as by Denis Klein and Darío Solano Ruiz. He published about twenty sf and fantasy novels, five collections and more than seventy-five short stories and novellas, plus five nonfiction books and many articles on themes and authors related to the Golden Age of SF.

In addition to a degree in Physics, Law and Criminology, he received a doctorate in Information Sciences for which he wrote Spain's first doctoral thesis on sf: La ciencia ficción como fenómeno de comunicación y de cultura de masas en España ["Science fiction as a Phenomenon of Communication and Mass Culture in Spain"] (1988), an extension of his first nonfiction book Historia de la ciencia ficción en España ["History of Science Fiction in Spain"] (1976), then the most comprehensive study of the subject.

As a civil servant in the Spanish Institute of Meteorology, he requested transfer to the then province of Equatorial Guinea, where he lived the experience of colonization and subsequent decolonization; a vision that powerfully influenced his narrative vision. Saiz Cidoncha was a multifaceted author; in addition to sf and fantasy, he ventured into horror in a handful of stories and also wrote on Spanish military history, with several studies of piracy in Latin America, guerrillas in Cuba and other Latin American countries, and republican aviation during the Spanish Civil War.

In the fan field, he took part in the seminal Círculo de Lectores de Anticipación ["Circle of Anticipation Readers"] in late 1960s; this later became the current Spanish Fantasy, SF and Horror Association. He was one of the organizers of HispaCon 1975 in Madrid and since then he regularly attended all subsequent conventions. He was also one of the outstanding contributors to Nueva Dimensión magazine, with a score of articles, and he even ran it together with the sf historian Agustín Jaureguízar during the darkest period of this publication (seven issues in 1978), until the return of Domingo Santos as editor. He also wrote the scripts for several Comics series with artist Alfonso Azpiri: heroic fantasy in Zephyd (1978), erotic sf in the popular Lorna (1979) and Alpha Cosmos (1974).

Saiz Cidoncha's first novel was La caída del imperio galáctico ["The Fall of the Galactic Empire"] (1978; vt El anillo del poder ["The Ring of Power"] 2010), a classic Space Opera full of Sense of Wonder that narrates the slow decline of Earth's Third Empire. It became the La caída del imperio galáctico trilogy with the addition of El ángel tenebroso ["Dark Angel"] (2010) and El ocaso de los dioses ["The Sunset of the Gods"] (2011). The trilogy La Galaxia de los Hombres muertos ["The Galaxy of Dead Men"], also known as the Chevalier's Cycle, is composed of the novels Antes del Imperio ["Before the Empire"] (1983; vt Los proscritos de la Vía Láctea ["The Outlaws of the Milky Way"] 2003), La torre de las galaxias ["The Tower of the Galaxies"] (2004) and El rey de las serpientes ["King of Snakes"] (2004); classic sf with horror and Lovecraftian influences.

Probably his best novel is Memorias de un merodeador estelar ["Memoirs of a Star Marauder"] (1995), a singleton which narrates the adventures of a rogue during the long fall of the Galactic Empire, in a clear tribute to the picaresque novel characteristic of the Spanish Golden Century. Entre dioses y terrícolas ["Between Gods and Earthlings"] (1997) depicts the memories of an Alien diplomat who leaves his native world to meet humans, a warlike and supposedly intelligent race that organizes terrible xenophobic crusades against alien life forms. Crónicas del imperio galáctico ["Chronicles of the Galactic Empire"] (coll 1998) is a collection of four interconnected novellas. La avispa del espacio ["The Space Wasp"] (2010) tells the adventures of an intrepid woman filibuster across the universe. His last books were the novel La leyenda de San Bogdán ["The Legend of Saint Bogdan"] (2017) and the collection El asteroide del lobo y otras historias de la frontera galáctica ["The Wolf Asteroid and Other Stories from the Galactic Frontier"] (coll 2017).

In addition to his own fiction, Saiz Cidocha wrote many pastiches and much fan fiction. Tales under the influence of the Darkover saga by Marion Zimmer Bradley include Adiós a Darkover ["Goodbye to Darkover"] (1996) as by Darío Solano Ruiz; the Lost Colony trilogy composed of Caminos de la estrella oscura ["Roads of the Dark Star"] (1998), Fuga de un planeta ["Escape from a Planet"] (1999) and Semilla de dos mundos ["Seed of Two Worlds"] (coll 1999), all as by Denis Klein and Los caminos de Darkover ["Darkover Roads"] (circa 1996). He also wrote El espadachín rojo de Marte ["The Red Swordsman from Mars"] (coll 2019), composed of a novella and a short story set in the Barsoom saga by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the novel Regulares en la selva ["Regular Soldiers in the Jungle"] (2006) plus the short story "Yo, Thorbod" ["I, Thorbod"] (in La gran saga de los Aznar, anth 1997, ed Carlos Saiz Cidoncha and Pedro A García Bilbao), set in the Shared World of the Aznar Saga by Pascual Enguídanos Usach.

Saiz Cidoncha published stories and articles in more than a hundred magazines and anthologies in Spain and other countries, such as Lo mejor de la ciencia ficción española ["Best of Spanish SF"] (1982) edited by Domingo Santos. Some of his most celebrated stories are: "Los amantes de la nebulosa" ["The Nebulosa Lovers"] (in Antología de la ciencia ficción en lengua castellana I ["SF anthology in Spanish I"], anth 1973, ed José Luis Martínez Montalbán); "El círculo del poder supremo" ["The Circle of Supreme Power"] (in El paso del Rhin ["The Rhine Pass"], coll 1974), set in his History of the Future which describes an endless war between the Earth Federation and the Alien Xern; "Libertad de palabra" ["Freedom of Speech"] (February 1976 Nueva Dimensión) which attacks bureaucracy and corruption; the pact-with-the-devil tale "Nadie se fija en el barmar" ["Nobody Notices the Barman"] (HispaCon 1978 souvenir book); "La derrota de la Grande Armada" ["The Defeat of the Spanish Armada"] (May 1983 Uribe) which narrates the defeat of the Armada by the Queen of England using black magic; the autochthonous heroic fantasy "Klev, el tartesio" ["Klev, the Tartesian"] (November 1984 Maser); and "El cetro de esmeraldas" ["The Emerald-Studded Sceptre"] (April 1980 Space Opera), translated into French and English and published in Terra SF II: The Year's Best European (1983) edited by Richard D Nolane for DAW Books. These classic stories are narrated with irony and double readings in a sociopolitical key.

Finally, Saiz Cidoncha published further nonfiction, including a study of the Aznar Saga by Pascual Enguídanos Usach, written with Pedro A García Bilbao and for which he won his only Ignotus Award, and a curious history of the future taking as reference the works of many famous sf authors (see Future Histories). In the late 1970s he was a fan editor and he published at least eight volumes of classics by L Sprague de Camp, Eric Frank Russell, Jack Williamson and several anthologies related to Darkover. Moreover, he translated nearly a hundred short stories by classic Space Opera authors.

Carlos Saiz Cidoncha was a prolific craftsman who developed his stories with humour, many references to famous sf works (see Recursive SF) and a classic Sense of Wonder, with a more European than Anglo-Saxon setting. In 1993 he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award, later renamed the Gabriel Award, by the Spanish Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror Association. [MV]

Carlos Saiz Cidoncha

born Ciudad Real, Spain: 13 February 1939

died Madrid, Spain: 27 March 2018

works

series

La caída del imperio galáctico ["The Fall of the Galactic Empire"]

  • La caída del imperio galáctico ["The Fall of the Galactic Empire"] (Madrid, Spain: Albia, 1978) [La caída del imperio galáctico: pb/]
    • El anillo del poder ["The Ring of Power"] (Guadalajara, Spain: Silente, 2010) [vt of the above: La caída del imperio galáctico: pb/Fotolia]
  • El ángel tenebroso ["Dark Angel"] (Guadalajara, Spain: Silente, 2010) [La caída del imperio galáctico: pb/Fotolia]
  • El ocaso de los dioses ["The Sunset of the Gods"] (Guadalajara, Spain: Silente, 2011) [La caída del imperio galáctico: pb/Fotolia-Innovari]

La Galaxia de los Hombres muertos ["The Galaxy of Dead Men"]

Darkover

Lost Colony

  • Caminos de la estrella oscura ["Paths of the Dark Star"] (Spain: Fanediciones de Ciencia Ficción, 1998) as by Denis Klein [Lost Colony: pb/]
  • Fuga de un planeta ["Escape from a Planet"] (Spain: Fanediciones de Ciencia Ficción, 1999) as by Denis Klein [Lost Colony: pb/]
  • Semilla de dos mundos ["Seed of Two Worlds"] (Spain: Fanediciones de Ciencia Ficción, 1999) as by Denis Klein [coll: Lost Colony: pb/]

individual titles

collections

nonfiction

works as editor

  • L Sprague de Camp. Bajo las lunas de Krishna ["Under the Moons of Krishna"] (Spain: Cuadernos Argansol, circa 1977) [omni of The Hostage of Zir (1977) and The Prisoner of Zhamanak (1982): pb/]
  • Catherine Crook de Camp and L Sprague de Camp. Las espadas de Zinjabán ["The Swords of Zinjaban"] (Spain: Cuadernos Argansol, circa 1977) [pb/]
  • Soldados del espacio ["Space Soldiers"] (Spain: Cuadernos Argansol, 1977) [anth: comprising "Nowhere Near" (in One Against the Legion coll 1967) by Jack Williamson and The Great Explosion (fixup 1962) by Eric Frank Russell: pb/]
  • Relatos del espacio exterior ["Tales from Outer Space"] (Spain: Cuadernos Argansol, circa 1978) [anth: pb/]
  • Relatos de Darkover I-V ["Tales of Darkover: volumes I to V"] (Spain: Cuadernos Argansol, 1997) [anth: Darkover: pb/]

links

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