Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Title spotlight - "Terra Nova. An Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Science Fiction" edited by Mariano Villareal

At the end of last year one of the most interesting anthology projects was born in Spain, “Terra Nova. Antología de ciencia ficción contemporánea” (Terra Nova. Anthology of Contemporary Science-Fiction). A truly international project in the age of globalization the anthology was presented by the editors Mariano Villareal and Luis Pestarini as: Terra Nova: Anthology of Contemporary Science-Fiction, a cooperative project on an international scale, has arisen for these (*you can find all the reasons in the foreword page at the anthology's website) and several other reasons (among them the support of short narrative, of a kind of fiction that, with the right support, has the potential to become literature of reference). It is meant to be a new platform from which to promote the production of a kind of fiction characterized both by its speculative and its literary quality, of short stories that delve into the aforementioned topics without forgetting that narrative must be appealing for the reader. Besides focusing on authors who originally write in Spanish, Terra Nova will also publish translations of those stories that successfully share a common goal with this series of anthologies.

When Mariano Villareal and Luis Pestarini’s project started, three short stories, originally published in English, were selected, “The Lifecycle of Software Objects” by Ted Chiang, “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu and “A Day Without Dad” by Ian Watson, stories that have won or been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards. But that would not have been very original. The intention was to promote Spanish and Latin American writers of speculative fiction as well. So during a period of 5 months a submission period was open that ended with 188 stories received from more than 15 countries: Spain (83), Argentina (36), Mexico (16), Cuba (13), Chile (6), Colombia (5), Uruguay (5), Romania (4) (*I am surprised and very pleased to see submissions coming from my country too), the United States (3), Venezuela (3), Costa Rica (3), United Kingdom (2), France (2), Dominican Republic (2), El Salvador (2), Peru (1), Panama (1) and Puerto Rico (1). 5 of these stories made the final cut, 3 from Spain, “Deirdre” (Deirdre) by Lola Robles, “Enciende una vela solitaria” (Light a Solitary Candle) by Víctor Conde, “Cuerpos” (Bodies) by Juanfran Jiménez, 1 from Cuba, “Recuerdos de un país zombie” (Memories of a Zombie Country) by Erick J. Mota, and 1 from Argentina, “Memoria” (Memory) by Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría.

6 months later, “Terra Nova. Antología de ciencia ficción contemporánea”, one of the top sales of Sportula became available in English too, released by the same publishing house. Under the title of “Terra Nova: An Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Science Fiction”, the collection edited by Mariano Villareal features 6 stories translated by Sue Burke and Lawrence Schimel, the 5 originally published in the Spanish edition and a new one, “The Texture of Words” (La textura de las palabras) by Felicitad Martínez, first released in another anthology published by Sportula, “Akasa-Puspa de Aguilera y Redal”, a tribute collection to the Akasa-Puspa saga written by Juan Miguel Aguilera and Javier Redal.

“Terra Nova. An Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Science Fiction”, features also a foreword and an article, “Science Fiction from Spain”, by Mariano Villareal, the original cover made by Ángel Benito Gastañaga and can be purchased from Amazon in paperback (US, UK, ES) or Kindle edition (US, UK, ES) or from Smashwords in various ebook formats. And if you want a taste of this anthology, at Smashwords you can also find as free sample Felicidad Martínez’s story, “The Texture of Words”.

Six top Spanish-language authors prove that science fiction remains sharp and visionary, with stories about the deepest anxieties, challenges, and problems of our societies. Their speculations and metaphors analyze and dissect a reality in continuous change.
The Texture of Words, by Felicidad Martínez: women seek to lead despite being blind and dependent, while men fight constant wars.
Deirdre, by Lola Robles: in the future, robotics can create made-to-order lovers.
Greetings from a Zombie Nation, by Eric J. Mota: a stagnant society turns its citizens into the living dead.
Light a Single Candle, by Victor Conde: social networks want too much and never let go.
Bodies, by Juanfran Jiménez: in a globalized and pseudodemocratic Europe, the rich practice sex tourism by means of mind exchange.
Memory, by Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría: personal relationships and sex roles evolve in radical ways on a terraformed Mars in a relatively near future.

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