Thursday, September 26, 2019

Chicanonautica: Weird Scenes From CDMX

One of the perks of working in a library as a day job is I keep finding books that I might have otherwise missed. I’m always on the lookout while shelving the Spanish language section. Sure enough, a title caught my eye:  

Escenarios Para el Fin del Mundo. (This being La Bloga, I’m assuming I don’t have to translate it.) It was by Bernardo Fernández, who also goes by “Bef.” It had a cover that suggested steampunk and a sense of humor. I grabbed it, checked it out, and read it.

I was impressed, and tore through it faster and with more enthusiasm than I usually do with my Spanish practice reading.

I even wrote a quick Goodreads review in my fonqui, pocho Spanish:

Cuentos de ciencia ficción/lo fantastico desde CDMX de un escritor e ilustrador se llama “uno de los narradores más originales de su generación.” Con extraterrestriales, un demonio, cyberpunk, steampunk, escenarios apocalypticos, y un ángel. ¡Guao!

And of course, I needed to to a proper Chicanonautica write-up here at La Bloga . . .

Bernardo Fernádez, Bef, is an illustrator/writer who has published graphic as well as text novels. His writing centers around CDMX, which for those of you aren’t plugged into the Spanish language media is short for Cuidad Mexico, Mexico City, La Capital Azteca Aztec, originally Tenochtitlán. His work shows a sense of humor, and a style coming out of the comics/graphic novel experience that I find very appealing, not to mention fun. He lists Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, and his “amigo” Bruce Sterling, as influences. He also quotes Tom Waits.

The stories in Escenarios Para el Fin del Mundo deal with aliens infiltrating the Mexican government, cyberpunk, steampunk, demons, angels, and of course apocalyptic scenes.

Two of them have been translated and published in English. “Las Últimas Horas de los Útimos Días/ The  Last Hours of the Last Days” originally appeared in both languages in Rudy Rucker’s webzine Flurb, and also in The Apex Book of World SF 4; “Leones,” in which lions invade Mexico City, was in Three Messages and A Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic.

My favorites were “La Bestia Ha Muerto,” in which the premature introduction of steampunk technology changes the history of Mexico and the world, and “La Sangre Derramada Por Nuestros Héroes” speculates on Nazis fleeing to Brazil with similar results. No escaping those alternate universes. Especially in the Latinoid continuum.

Somebody really needs to translate this book. All those poor monolinguals need it.

Ernest Hogan will have a story in the upcoming American Monsters: Part Two, and will pick the winners of the Somos en escrito 2nd Annual Extra-Fiction Contest--the deadline is September 30, 2019.

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