5 On a Theme: Chican@ & Latino/a Speculative Fiction

spec fiction photo

This was a difficult one! But since Chicana and diverse SF were requested, here’s my attempt to combine them. A note on terminology: I’ve included writers that I have seen included in Latino/a or have seen identify themselves as such. Some but not all also identify with the sometimes overlapping but radical Chican@, let me know if I got something wrong! Also, the @ is for inclusion of all gender identities but since Latin@ is something else, please excuse my binaries.

I think the difficulty in finding Chican@ and Latino/a science-fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction, without going in the direction of Latin America and magical realism, just goes to show that we need to promote these stories better and let authors and publishers know that we will greet these books enthusiastically. From what I can tell, writers and artists are doing amazing things in the borderlands as Vourvoulias uses the term for that grey queer space of non-/indie-/self publishing. They should be getting lots of acknowledgement and recognition in the limelight too. These stories are what I want to see when I enter a bookstore!

Lunar Braceros

1) Lunar Braceros by Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita

This science fiction novella is set in a dystopian 22nd century in which the US does not exist anymore and different territories have emerged. The new order connects to the history of oppression suffered in the Americas and is written with an explicit social justice approach which is what drew me to the book in the first place. I loaned this one from a friend who warned me that the ideas and politics were amazing but that the style was more lecture than dialogue. I’m glad I knew this beforehand and got so much out of it, such an amazing work, I would’ve gladly read more!

high aztec

2) High Aztec by Ernest Hogan

Techno Aztec/h city Tenochtitlan formerly known as Mexico city has stainless steel pyramids and lots of immigrant (I’m only using this term instead of refugee etc cause things are turned on its head with US citizens as those fleeing) influx from the declining US and Christian and Aztec beliefs clashing. There’s another problem though: Zapata! He’s a cartoonist carrying a virus and everyone is after him. Hogan has written genre fiction and I mean this in the nicest way possible. This is so cool and has been under my radar for far too long!

ink

3) Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias

Dystopian fiction taking the anti-immigration rhetoric and politics of the US to its logical conclusion. People with such a history, Latino/as have to wear biometric tattoos and they are known as inks. We follow different narrators over several years and see them caught between these violent conditions, belonging, magicks and making connections. The four narrators made the book’s structure a bit chaotic but I loved it nonetheless! Also how awesome is this cover!

the assimilated guide

4) The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez

This is a new short story collection published by amazing RosariumPub. Hernandez writes strange, intriguing stories from a Cuban-American perspective. Expect everything from sexy robot pandas to quantum mechanics bringing along unicorns to illegal aliens! This is on my tbr.

Latino.a rising art

5) Latino/a Rising Anthology

I know, this one won’t be out till next year but I’ve been following their campaign and it’s so amazing to see there was enough support to get it done! The anthology will be published in 2017 by Wings Press. Vourvoulias will also apparently contribute a story and check out the line-up here!

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There’s also an amazing article by Vourvoulias, where you can find Latino/a speculative short story recommendations and this list of Latino/a genre writers. Another great source is La Bloga’s Latino Speculative Literature Directory.

Do you read diverse science fiction and speculative literature? How do you come across them? Also: Do please leave me your faves in the comments!

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14 thoughts on “5 On a Theme: Chican@ & Latino/a Speculative Fiction

  1. I didn’t know about the anthology. I am so down to read it and promote the hell out of it!!!
    Your blog is such an amazing resource, Bina. Thank you!

    If I can stop being such a lazy/slow reader, one of these days I will get to all the amazing books that are on my TBR. Hopefully I get to Quantum Santeria this summer. Also, I will have to buy Ink online because I can’t find it in stores. :/

    1. You are too kind, Naz!! But I do love getting back at you for making my tbr explode! 🙂
      Ah I wish we had endless reading time to get to them all! I need to get Quantum too, but I really want a hard copy. Ugh yes sometimes it’s even difficult to get these books because some have only ebooks OR hard copies available or they go out of print (Jewelle Gomez)! I have the kindle book only of Ink, but that was more of a browsing goodreads and needing the book asap case never mind it was 2am 😀

  2. Ink is an absolute favorite of mine. I recommend it all the time because it was so terrifying. I could see that s happening so easily.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Heather! Glad you live Ink, too, isn’t it amazing but terrifying in its vision! I agree that the future.presented is all too possible!

  3. Wonderful post, Bina! I remember your review of ‘Ink’ – I loved that. Hoping to read it one of these days. Thanks for this wonderful post and list. ‘High Aztech’ and quantum mechanics bringing back unicorns – so fascinating 🙂

    1. Glad you like it, Vishy! 🙂 Hope you’ll love Ink when you read it! Heh oh yes I do think you’ll enjoy the quantum.physics aspects in this one 🙂

  4. Thank you for introducing some very-new-to-me voices and ideas! I don’t read much science fiction or speculative literature but the field is more appealing to me with more diversity represented. I do enjoy the works of Octavia Butler – her work is speculative, right?

    1. Oh yes absolutely, I think she’s probably one of the leading voices of speculative fiction 🙂 Yay love introducing people to new works and ideas. I’m fairly newish to the genre, fantasy especially, myself but like you found I was drawn in by diverse voices and now love the genre quite a bit! Btw have you read anything by Nnedi Okorafor? Highly recommend her works!

  5. I just made a little present to myself this rainy Saturday morning of Ink (and Binti! so excited :)) based on your recommendations. Based on the description of Ink, I wish I could make it required reading for everyone watching what’s going on in politics/our country today. Cannot wait, thank you for yet another wonderful list of suggestions!!

    1. Thanks so much, Ioana! And of course: Excellent choices!! 😀 I absolutely adore Binti (have you heard? There will be two sequel stories!) And Ink is terrifying in its possibility for things playing out like this. For example one EU country talked about putting numbers on refugees but quickly discarded the idea when public outrage reminded of Holocaust tattoos. I wish Vourvoulias would write more.novels but I want to try more of her short stories. Happy reading! 🙂

  6. Tough topic! But it made me realize that I really don’t know any Latino/a speculative fiction writers. Will have to remedy that with the books on your list!

  7. I agree with Naz – I really wish I had more time to read so that I could fit in all these books that you (and others) are recommending. It hurts to know that I can’t read them all. I like to learn about them anyway, though, so that if I do come across one I will know to pick it up. I won’t feel so much in the dark.

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