Friday 14 September 2018

Showcasing the strength of Mexicanx Science Fiction

Post by Book Club member Kateryna Barnes. The reviewer received a copy of the anthology as a gift from the creators. 

In a time where the American government separates and imprisons migrant families, hearing from
The anthology includes a wide range of
perspectives and tones.
(Image via Fireside Magazine
those who live and engage with the Mexico-US borderlands on a personal level couldn’t be more relevant.

Fresh off the presses in time for WorldCon76, the Mexicanx Initiative’s bilingual anthology Una Realidad más Amplia: Historias desde la Periferia Bicultural/A Larger Reality: Speculative Fiction from the Bicultural Margins celebrates the diversity of Mexicanx writers who create science fiction, fantasy and horror. Born of a Kickstarter project, the book includes twelve short stories and one comic in both Spanish and English, with an ebook version on the way. 

Considering Mexico’s rich collection of cultures, folklores and history, there’s plenty of room for imagination. As such, demonstrating the variety of the creators was the goal of the anthology, one that it achieves resoundingly. Diversity of creators (be it gender, age, Mexican or American), writing styles, perspectives, moods, themes, story length and genres are on display in this collection. Clocking under 100 pages, readers are invited into worlds that range from superhero comedies to alternate realities to monsters and zombies to psychological horror. 

While each contribution is a worthy read, some of the standouts include:
Members of the Mexicanx Initiative
at Worldcon 76
(Photo by Kateryna Barnes) 
  • David BowlesAztlán Liberated–– a quick-paced, doomsday sci-fi story that feels like a scene from an action flick 
  • Julia RiosA Truth Universally Acknowledged–– an introspective alternate reality exploration into the “what ifs” of human relationships 
  • Raquel Castro’s Ring a Ring o’ Roses–– What happens when a young girl gets a pet zombie for her birthday? She brings it to school, of course! 
  • Alberto Chimal’s It All Makes Sense Here–– There be monsters here...or are there? 
  • Gabriela Damián Miravete’s Music and Petals–– Psychological horror meets family secrets in a short story that’ll make you want to avoid your basement for the foreseeable future 
  • Andrea Chapela’s Clean Air will Smell like Silver Apricots–– an imaginative look at childhood grief in a near future

As a microcosm of The Mexicanx Initiative, the anthology shows the strength of this aspect of the global science fiction and fantasy community. Considering editor Libia Brenda’s experience in editing magazines, fanzines and books, it’s fair to suggest that Una Realidad más Amplia: Historias desde la Periferia Bicultural/A Larger Reality: Speculative Fiction from the Bicultural Margins could help earn her a place on a future Hugo Award ballot in the Best Editor (Short Form) category*, and some of the contributions should also be considered for the Short Story category. 

The strength of this work also begs the question: when will Mexico get the chance to host a WorldCon? That’s a convention I’d like to attend.

*Editor's note: a previous version of this blog post erroneously implied that Brenda might already be eligible for a Hugo. We regret this error. 

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