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Guest Post: Journey to Forbidden Planet: Writing Speculative Fiction Set in Mexico (Author Week #6)

 Journey to Forbidden Planet: Writing Speculative Fiction Set in Mexico

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

It’s a busy summer for me. I’m fundraising for my first novel, about narco vampires in Mexico City, Young Blood [http://igg.me/at/youngblood/x/166963]. Canadian lit publisher Exiled Editions is also releasing my first collection, This Strange Way of Dying. If there’s something that ties both projects together, other than the speculative elements, it’s the emphasis on Mexican culture. But I didn’t always write about Mexico. In fact, not so many years ago I was afraid to write anything related to my country.

As a teenager, I wrote Mac Europe fantasy worlds, science fiction stories set in the United States and horror tales in New England even though, at that point, I had never set foot in New England. I did it because I didn’t think we were allowed to write about Mexico. Everywhere I looked, in the movies and the television and in the bookstore, it was foreign worlds which attracted attention. Aliens never landed in Tijuana. They went to Washington or New York, or at worst, London.

There was magic realism and that had elements of my culture, but that lived on another shelf: Mexican Literature. On the Fantasy and Science Fiction shelves it was Tolkien and the Dune books. And though there was Mexican science fiction, it was a small market. Not an insignificant one, but it was always dwarfed by the gigantic spectacles put forth by Star Wars and Star Trek and the like. And foreign stuff was cooler! Because the colonial legacy of my country means we are always looking at foreign stuff as being better by default.

I grew up in Mexico. I also grew up in a culture alien to me. I recited catch phrases (I’ll be back! or i I find your lack of faith disturbing) in a language I didn’t speak. Imagine if you were able to spout French or Mandarin catch phrases easily not because you knew what they mean, but because it was everywhere on the TV, the radio, the subway.

There’s an imbalance of cultural power which created this situation, but I won’t delve into that too much. Best to say I grew up in a bizarre state of paralysis, both interested in speculative fiction and terrified that I had no place in it. People say to write what you know, but what if what you know is not good enough? If I wrote about Mexico, was it even science fiction? Would people read it? Would editors buy it?

I believe that every good story has a kernel of truth in it. But because I felt I couldn’t write about my experiences, my memories and culture, I wrote shitty stories that were all lies.

One day I stopped and started writing stories that used elements from Mexican folklore. I wrote stories set in Mexico. I wrote stories about my great-grandmother and my aunt and other people I knew. My stories got better. I was happy.

Still, it wasn’t all easy. There was an editor who rejected a story because it had too many foreign words (I actually try to use very few Spanish words, but a tamal is a tamal). I had lots of people rejected my stories because they were not stories or they were not speculative. For example, “Maquech,” which is about a near-future Mexico City and ecology, was deemed not science fiction before being published in Futurismic. I wrote “Jaguar Woman” and someone said it was “pseudo-central american spiritualist woo.” I cried because one time someone said I probably had only been published because I was brown and people were trying to be politically correct. Someone tried to correct my Spanish, even though it is my first language. The names of my characters sounded funny, even though nobody ever complained about Daenerys Targaryen being impossible to spell.

However, it eventually became clear that I was doing what I should be doing, that this was the real me, these were the stories I wanted to tell, and whether that would make it harder or easier for me to sell them was a moot point.

Writing is a compulsive act. Writing about Mexico is also compulsive. The tales my great-grandmother told me as a child, the smells of our kitchen, my relatives, all that filters into my writing. When I tried not to write about this, it was like trying to type with one arm tied behind my back. I was incomplete and my writing was therefore shallow and half-formed.

I’ve now lived for many years in Canada. I sometimes write stories inspired by Vancouver, where I reside. But Mexico is a part of me. I can’t cut off one of my hands. I need both of them to write.

Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. Silvia’s stories have appeared in places such as  The Book of Cthulhu and Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her first collection, This Strange Way of Dying, is this summer. She’s raising funds for her first novel, Young Blood  [http://igg.me/at/youngblood/x/166963]. Find her at http://silviamoreno-garcia.com/

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Interview: Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Author Week #6)

Silvia Moreno-Garcia Interview

By Charles Tan

Hi Silvia! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how are things with Innsmouth Free Press?

Good! We’ve got three books we are working on. There’s DEMONSTRA, a poetry collection by Bryan Thao Worra. It’s Weird poetry with a Laos angle. The sequel to the urban fantasy novel Fraterfamilias is out this year. It’s called Confraternitas. We recently revealed the TOC for Sword and Mythos, it’s an anthology of heroic fantasy tales with a Lovecraft Mythos angle. And we are working on the next two issues of Innsmouth Magazine.

Moving on to your fiction, at this point in time, how do you manage to juggle the time to write fiction amidst your various projects including publishing, editing, and fund-raising a novel?

After I put my children in bed, I generally have a couple of hours to devote to Innsmouth Free Press. That’s when I edit, send contracts, etc. Most of my time is taken by this stuff but I try to make some time for my writing.

I actually spend a small portion of my overall time writing. Maybe 25%. And I try to pre-write. I work a story in my head. I rehearse dialogue in the shower or on the bus (yeah, I can seem very weird). I solve plot problems when waiting in line. By the time I sit down to write I may not have everything solved, but I have a good idea of what the feeling and general thrust of the story might be like.

I can proof during my commute. If I have a day off, I can carve a couple of hours in the morning for writing. Sometimes I try to get up early so I can write before my family is up. I just try to make it work.

Could you tell us more about Young Blood?

It’s a novel about narco vampires in Mexico City. It grew from a short story I published in Evolve 2 a couple of years ago. The protagonist is a teenager who collects garbage for a living. He meets a vampire who is on the run from rival vampires. They get into trouble.

A lot of the books and stories I read have middle-class protagonists. I wanted to do something that is not like that. And I wanted to try something that is a bit noir because I think Mexico City is naturally noir. At the same time, Domingo, the teenager, is a pretty plucky hero. He’s an optimist. People might see sleaze and hardship, but he’s always looking at the bright side.

What makes your vampires different?

Everyone always says their vampires are different, it’s become a bit of a cliche, hasn’t it? Still, I think there are some differences.

Atl, the vampire Domingo meets, is inspired by Mexican folklore so she has certain characteristics borrowed from Mexican vampires: she only feeds on the blood of children and teenagers, she transforms into something that resembles a bird of prey, only women can be vampires. She’s from the North of the country and her family is a narco family.

The vampires after her are European refugees and they are more like the vampires you usually see in movies. They can’t go out in the daylight. They can infect you. Only you won’t turn into a vampire. It’s like a bad case of a venereal disease. You’ll just die eventually.

I guess the biggest difference is it all takes place in Mexico City. It seems like vampires are always European and they are either in England or maybe in the United States. And they’re sexy. But these people aren’t sexy. Atl is good looking and Domingo is quickly fascinated by her, but that’s in great part because he is attracted to the romantic image of the vampire found in comic books and fiction. He’s got the wrong idea about her. She’s not romantic. It’s not romantic to be a vampire or a narco. Atl and the people around her are all killers. They are predators.

I wanted to write a YA with vampires and I basically wanted to play around with people’s expectations of this type of work. So these are not white middle-class kids whose worst fear is that their prom will be ruined.

What made you decide to raise funds for it? Why Indiegogo?

I asked for a Canada Writer’s Grant for $3,000 because I needed the money to finish the novel. I’m halfway through and basically in my spare time I freelance. I know, apart from IFP I freelance! But if I have to worry about making extra cash in my spare time, I can’t write. So I thought if I could have $3,000 I could sit down and dedicate some time to the novel. Finish it. Everything would be great.

But I didn’t get the grant. I organized a successful Indiegogo campaign for the Sword and Mythos anthology. I wondered if I should do the same thing for this and publish the novel myself. There are risks, but I figure no one is clamoring to toss an advance or a grant at my feet, so I might as well make it happen some other way.

You’ve provided opportunities for diverse voices in the past few years, whether through your own writing, the books you edit, and those you’ve published. So far, what’s been the biggest hurdle in your experience?

One difficult thing is showing people that Innsmouth Free Press is open to diverse writers. A lot of writers see horror as a very closed arena. They see it as closed to women, minorities, etc. They don’t see it as a space they can inhabit. Spreading the word and convincing people that we are open to them takes some time. We have done very well with our anthologies and issues and managed to attract lots of talented writers, but it’s still not exactly easy to get the word out at times.

Personally, I’ve had issues with people saying my writing is not “science fiction” or “fantasy.” I’ve had editors say it is too literary. I also had one person say a story made me cry, but they couldn’t understand it, so they rejected it. I think we still have some narrow expectations of what a story is and when something comes and it’s a bit different, we don’t always react well to it.

It’s a weird space to navigate at times because I think literary publications may me a bit weirded out by my stuff and speculative places may think it’s too mundane. But, I’m doing much better these days! It’s always easier when people are now soliciting your stuff and you don’t need to wade the slush pile.

What projects are you currently working on?

Aside from the Indiegogo for the novel, it’s mostly Innsmouth Free Press stuff. Getting projects through the production funnel. I’ll probably write a couple more short stories before the year is done. One should be steampunk, probably two horror ones. Next year I will be editing one or two anthologies and, well, there’s the novel!

Anything else you want to plug?

My first collection, This Strange Way of Dying, is out this year. In the fall my first solo anthology, Dead North, containing lots of Canadian zombie stories, hits bookstores.

May 8, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Comments Off on Interview: Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Author Week #6)

Tuesday Fiction: “A Puddle of Blood” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Author Week #6)

This week on the World SF Blog and as part of our sixth Author Week, we feature Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s story, “A Puddle of Blood”, which inspired Silvia’s novel-in-progress Young Blood (the fund-raiser for which is currently running!). If you liked the story, do consider donating to the author!

The story was first published in the anthology Evolve 2 (2011).

A Puddle of Blood

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Six dismembered bodies found in Ciudad Juarez. Vampire drug-wars rage on.

Domingo reads the headline slowly. Images flash on the video screen of the subway station. Cops. Long shots of the bodies. The images dissolve, showing a young woman holding a can of soda in her hands. She winks at him.

Domingo waits to see if the next news items will expand on the drug-war story. He is fond of yellow journalism. He also likes stories about vampires; they seem exotic. There are no vampires in Mexico City: their kind has been a no-no for the past thirty years, around the time the Federal District became a city-state.

The next story is of a pop-star, the singing sensation of the month, and then there is another ad, this one for a shoulder-bag computer. Domingo sulks, changes the tune on his music player.

He looks at another screen with pictures of blue butterflies fluttering around. Domingo takes a chocolate from his pocket and tears the wrapper.

He spends a lot of time in the subway system. He used to sleep in the subway cars when he was a street kid making a living by washing windshields at cross streets. Those days are behind. He has a place to sleep and lately he’s been doing some for a rag-and-bone man, collecting used thermoplastic clothing. He complements his income with other odd jobs. It keeps him well-fed and he has enough money to buy tokens for the public baths once a week.

He bites into the chocolate bar.

A woman wearing a black vinyl jacket walks by him, holding a leash. Her Doberman must be genetically modified. The animal is huge.

He’s seen her several times before, riding the subway late at nights, always with the dog. Heavy boots upon the white tiles, bob cut black hair, narrow-faced.

Tonight she moves her face a small fraction, glancing at him. Domingo stuffs the remaining chocolate back in his pocket, takes off his headphones and follows her quickly, squeezing through the doors of the subway car she’s boarding.

He sits across from her and is able to get a better look at the woman. She is early twenties, with large eyes that give her an air of innocence which is quickly dispelled by the stern mouth. The woman is cute, in an odd way.

Domingo tries to look at her discreetly, but he must not be discreet enough because she turns and stares at him.

“Hey,” he says, smiling. “How are you doing tonight?”

“I’m looking for a friend.”

Domingo nods, uncertain.

“How old are you?”

“Seventeen,” he replies.

“Would you like to be my friend? I can pay you.”

Domingo isn’t in the habit of prostituting himself. He’s done it once or twice when he was in a pinch. There had also been that time with El Chacal, but that didn’t count because Domingo hadn’t wanted to and El Chacal had made him anyway, and that’s when Domingo left the circle of street kids and the windshield wiping and went to live on his own.

Domingo looks at her. He’s seen the woman walk by all those nights before and he’s never thought she’d speak to him. Why, he expected her to unleash the dog upon him when he opened his mouth.

He nods. He’s never been a lucky guy but he’s in luck today.

*

Her apartment building is squat, short, located just a few block from a busy nightclub.

“Hey, you haven’t told me your name,” he says when they reach the fourth floor and she fishes for her keys.

“Atl,” she replies.

The door swings open. The apartment is empty. There is a rug, some cushions on top of it, but no couch, no television and no table. She doesn’t even have a calendar on the wall. The apartment has a heavy smell, animal-like, probably courtesy of the dog. Perhaps she keeps more than one pet.

“Do you want tea?” she asks.

Domingo would be better off with pop or a beer, but the girl seems classy and he thinks he ought to go with whatever she prefers.

“Sure,” he says.

Atl takes off her jacket. Her blouse is pale cream; it shows off her bony shoulders. He follows her into the kitchen as she places the kettle on a burner.

“I’m going to pay you a certain amount, just for coming here. If you agree to stay, I’ll double it,” she says.

“Listen,” Domingo says, rubbing the back of his head, “you don’t really need to pay me nothing.”

“I do. I’m a tlahuelpuchi.”

Domingo blinks. “You can’t be. That’s one of those vampire types, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“It’s vampire-free territory in Mexico City.”

“I know. That is why I’m doubling it,” she says, scribbling a number on a pad of paper and holding it up for him to see.

Domingo leans against the wall, arms crossed. “Wow.”

Atl nods. “I need young blood. You’ll do.”

“Wait, I mean…I’m not going to turn into a vampire, am I?” he asks, because you can never be too sure.

“No,” she says, sounding affronted. “We are born into our condition.”

“Cool.”

“It won’t hurt much. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. I mean, do I still get to…you know…sleep with you?”

She lets out a sigh and shakes her head.

“No. Don’t try anything. Cualli will bite your leg off if you do.”

The kettle whistles. Atl removes it from the burner and pours hot water into two mugs.

“How do we do this?” Domingo asks.

Atl places tea bags in the cups and cranes her neck. Her hair has turned to feathers and her hands, when she raises them, are like talons. The effect is disturbing, as though she is wearing a curious mask.

“Don’t worry. Won’t take long,” she says.

Atl is a bird of prey.

*

The first thing Domingo does with his new found fortune is buy himself a good meal. Afterwards, he pays for a booth at the Internet cafe, squeezing himself in and clumsily thumbing the computer screen. The guy in the next cubicle is watching porn; the moans of a woman spill into Domingo’s narrow space.

Domingo frowns. He pulls out the frayed headphones wrapped with insulating tape and pushes the play button on the music player.

He does a search for the word tlahuelpuchi. Stories about gangs, murders and drugs fill the viewscreen. He scrolls through an article which talks about the history of the tlahuelpocmimi, explaining this is Mexico’s native vampire species, with roots that go back to the time of the Aztecs. The article has lots of information but it uses very big words he doesn’t know, such as hematophagy, anticoagulants and matrilineal stratified sept. Domingo gives up on it quickly, preferring to stare at the bold headlines and colourful pictures of the vampire gangsters. These resemble the comic books he keeps at his place; he is comfortable with this kind of stuff.

When an attendant bangs on the door Domingo doesn’t buy more tokens. He has more money than he’s ever had in his life and he doesn’t know what to do with it.

It is nearly dusk when he finds his way to Atl’s apartment. She opens the door a crack; stares at him as though she’s never met him before.

“What are you doing tonight?” he asks.

“You’re not getting any more money, alright?” she says. “I don’t need food right now. There’s no sense in you coming here.”

“You only eat kids, no?” he says, blurting it.

“Yeah. Something in the hormone levels,” she waves her hand, irritated. “That doesn’t make me a Lucy Westenra, alright?”

“Lucia, what?”

She raises an eyebrow at him.

“I figure, you want a steady person. Steady food, no? And…yesterday, it was, ah…it was fun. Kind of.”

“Fun,” she repeats.

Yeah. It had been fun. Not the blood part. Well, that hadn’t been too awful. She made him a cheese sandwich and they drank tea afterwards. Atl didn’t have furniture, but she did have a music player and they sat cross-legged in the living room, chatting, until she said he was fine and he wouldn’t get woozy and told him to make sure he had a good breakfast.

It wasn’t exactly a date, but Domingo has never exactly dated. There were hurried copulations in back alleys, the kind street kids manage. He hung out with Belen for a little bit, but then she went with an older guy and got pregnant, and Domingo hadn’t seen her anymore.

Atl lets him in, closing the door, carefully turning the locks.

The dog pads out of the kitchen and stares at him.

“Look, you’ve to get some facts straight, alright? I’m not in Mexico City on vacation. You don’t want to hang out with me. You’ll end up as a carpet stain. Trust me, my clan is in deep shit.”

“You’re part of a clan?” Domingo says, excited. “That’s cool! You’ve got a crest tattoed? Is it hand-poked?”

“Jesus,” Atl says. “Are you some sort of fanboy?”

Domingo shakes his head. “No.”

“Why are you here?”

“I like your dog,” he says. It is a stupid answer. He doesn’t have anything better. He wonders if she’ll go with him to the arcade. He went there once and drank beer while he tried to shoot green monsters. It would be cool. Maybe she is too old for arcades. He wonders what she does for fun.

“It will bite your hand off if you pet it,” she warns him. “I’ll give you a cup of tea and you leave afterwards, alright?”

“Sure. How come you drink tea?”

She doesn’t reply. Domingo is about to apologize for being crass, but he isn’t up to date on tlahuelpocmimi diets. Except for the kid part.

A knock on the door makes them both turn their heads.

“Health and Sanitation.”

“Open up. Don’t tell them I’m here,” she whispers, moving so quickly to his side it makes him gasp.

She goes towards the window and jumps out. Domingo rushes after her, pokes his head out, and sees Atl is climbing up the side of the building, her shoulders hunched and looking birdlike once more. She disappears onto the roof.

Domingo opens the door.

Three men waltz in, faces grim.

“We have a report there’s a vampire here,” one of them says.

Domingo, with the experience of a master liar and a complete indifference to authority, shrugs. “I don’t know. The guy that’s renting me the place didn’t say nothing about vampires.”

“Look around. You, I’m going to check you, give me your hand.”

Domingo obeys. The guy presses a little white plastic stick against his wrist. It beeps.

“You’re alone?” the guy asks him.

Domingo takes out a chocolate bar and starts eating it. The dog is sitting still, eyeing the men.

“Yep.”

“What are you doing?”

“Sleeping.”

Domingo can hear the other two men opening doors, muttering between themselves.

“It’s all empty,” one of the other men says. “There’s not even clothes in the closet. Just a mattress in there.”

“You live here?” asks the first guy, who hasn’t moved from Domingo’s side, carefully cataloguing him.

“Yeah. For now. I move around. Been working for a rag-and-bone man lately. I used to wash windshields and before that I juggled balls for the drivers as the stop lights, but this guy I worked with beat me up and I’ve got the rag-and-bone gig now.”

“Just a damn street kid,” says the man, and Domingo thinks he must have an earpiece on or something, because he sure as hell isn’t speaking to Domingo.

The men leave as quickly as they’ve come. He locks the door, sits on the rug and waits. Atl doesn’t fly in — not technically — but she seems to jump in with a certain grace and flexibility that is birdlike.

“Thanks,” she says. The feathers disappear, leaving only pitch-black hair behind.

“How’d you do that?”

“What?”

“The bird thing.”

“It’s natural. We all do it after we hit puberty.”

She goes into her room. Domingo stands at the entrance, watching her pull up floor boards with her bare hands, taking stuff from under there and tossing it into a backpack. She rips the mattress open and begins to throw some money and papers in the bag.

“It’s been nice meeting you. I’ve got to find another place now.”

“What sort of trouble are you in? What do those guys want?”

“Those guys aren’t the trouble,” she says. “That’s just sanitation. But if they got word there is a vampire here, that means the others aren’t far behind.”

“Who are the others?”

Atl gives him a narrow look. “One month ago my aunt’s head was delivered in a cooler to our home. I left Ciudad Juarez and headed here before I also ended in a cooler.”

“Who killed her?”

“A rival clan. It’s part of our territory fights. We were trying to kill a certain clan leader and botched it. She’s got a big scar across the middle now, and she’s mighty pissed at us. I hope you can appreciate the situation,” she says, zipping her jacket up.

It sounds very exciting to Domingo. He’s only seen the gang fights from afar. Mexico City has managed to insulate itself through the conflict, partly because it keeps the vampires who are waging the wars out of the city limits, and partly because it is so damn militarized. The drug dealers in Mexico City are narcomenudistas; petty peddlers, small-scale crooks focused around Tepito and Iztapalapa. If they kill each other, they have the sense to do it quietly, without attracting 20 special forces ops who are ready to put a gun up your ass and shoot before bothering to ask for identity cards.

Atl goes down the stairs. Domingo follows her.

When they reach the front door she turns to look at him and he thinks she is going to tell him to beat it. Her hands tighten around the dog’s leash. She takes a step back.

Thirty seconds later Domingo is in a comic book.

*

Half a dozen men pour in. The dog growls. Somebody yells. “Stay the fuck still. Stay the fuck still,” they say. Big bubble speeches.

A guy grabs Domingo by the collar and drags him out, pinning him against the ground and putting a plastic tie around his wrists.

Domingo doesn’t know if these are cops, or sanitation, or narcos. All he knows is he can hear the dog barking and he is being dragged against the pavement, then kicked towards the trunk of a car. They’re trying to stuff him in the trunk.

Domingo panics. He tries to hold onto something. The guy punches him and Domingo folds over himself.

It doesn’t really feel like he thought it might feel. Action. Adventure. Comic book manic energy.

The guy pulls Domingo by his hair and Domingo gets a glimpse of teeth, half a smile, before Atl pulls him off Domingo with a swift, careless motion that breaks his bones.

Domingo, on his knees, looks up at Atl. She cuts the plastic tie and the dog comes bounding towards her.

She’s got three sharp needles sticking out of her left leg. Blood puddles next to her shoes.

She vomits. A sticky, dark mess.

The dog whines.

“Come on,” he says grabbing her arm, propping her up.

He tries not to look at the bodies they leave behind. He tries not to wonder if they’re all dead.

If this is a comic book, then it’s tinted with red.

*

She’s awake. He knows it because the dog raises its head. Domingo looks at her. Sure enough, her eyes are open, though he can’t make her expression.

“How you feeling?” he asks.

Atl looks down at her bandaged leg. He knows he didn’t do a great job, but at least he took out those weird needles.

“My bag. Do you have it?”

She clutched it all the way there. There was no way he could have left it behind. Domingo  nods.

“There’s a blue plastic stick in it. Small. Hand it to me.”

He does. She presses it against her tongue and shivers.

She unwraps the bandage around her leg. The skin looks odd. Blackened, as if it were stained.

“What’s that?” he asks.

“Anaphylactic reaction from the silver nitrate. Lucky for me they didn’t want me dead yet.”

Domingo blinks.

“It makes me sick,” she explains.

“You’ve been out for about an hour.”

Atl brushes the hair back from her face. She looks around at the little room and the piles of old comic books, hybrid personal protective clothing, and all the other assorted junk he collects and sells together with the bone-and-rag-man.

“Where are we?”

“My place. It’s safe. We’re in a tunnel downtown. It’s very old. I think the nuns used it. There was a convent nearby. Benito Juarez closed it fifty years ago.”

Atl chuckles. “You’re talking about the mid-19th century.”

She gives him a funny look. Domingo frowns. He doesn’t know lots of stuff and obviously she does. He doesn’t like it when people make fun of him. It’s unpleasant. Even Belen was rude at times, though there was no reason for that.

“It’s cool,” she says. “This works. It was smart thinking.”

She opens her arms and the dog rushes towards her, pressing its great head against her cheek. She scratches its ear and smiles at Domingo.

“How come your dog’s so big?” he asks.

“Cualli’s a special breed. He’s an attack dog.”

“Were those the gangsters?”

“Those were freelancers. Health and Sanitation must have tipped them off that there was something odd going on. Or somebody else did.”

“You were fast. Like really fast. Are all vampires like that? I’ve read a lot about the European ones and the Chinese, and how there’s all the infighting with them up north and if you go to Mexicali it’s like all run by the Chinese. But they say they’re all stiff, no? Jian shi and they can’t really be green, can they? I don’t know much about your type. Funny, it’s probably …”

“Please. Stop,” she says, pressing her fingers against her temples. “I don’t want to talk about vampires. Or gangs.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

“Nothing.”

Domingo wants to talk about everything. He sits in front of her, brimming with questions as she curls up and closes her eyes.

This is like a vampire sleeps. Not in coffins. Curled up, with a dog by her feet and a boy watching her.

*

He gets up early and goes above ground. It’s raining, so he ties a plastic shopping bag to his head as he heads to purchase food. He buys bread, milk, three cans of beans, potato chips and pastries. He feels very happy as he pays for the stuff, like it’s Christmas.

On the way back, he scans the screens at the subway in search of news. There’s nothing about the confrontation of the previous day.

As he stands in the subway car, listening to the tired music on his player, he conjures a story in which he’s making breakfast for his girlfriend, and she’s real pretty and they live together. Not in the tunnels. In a proper place.

When he returns to the tunnel he’s humming a tune.

She’s sitting, back against the wall, browsing through a bunch of magazines. When she looks up at him, the tune dies on his lips.

“Where did you go?”

“I went to get us breakfast.”

“I don’t need breakfast. It was stupid of you. Someone might have seen you.”

“Sorry,” he mutters and then, tentatively, to diffuse her anger. “How do you like my collection?”

“It’s great,” she says quirking an eyebrow at him and jumping up to her feet, showing him the cover of a comic book. “Not a fanboy, hu?”

It’s an old-style thing with a guy in a Dracula cape. She picks another one. This is a recent clipping from a magazine he stole a few weeks before. It talks about the narco-vampires in Monterrey.

He wets his lips, struggling for words. “Why are you angry?”

“I am not a goddamn hobby.”

“Who’s talking about a hobby?”

She shoves the magazine against his chest, pushing him back.

“Do you like vampires? Hu? You like reading about them? You like looking at the pictures of dead vampires?”

“Yeah, well…it’s exciting.”

“Do you know how long my kind can live? Three-hundred years. You know what’s the average lifespan of my kind? Thirty years. Do you want to know why?”

Domingo does not answer. She’s grabbing him by his shirt, holding him up.

“Because we’re all getting massacred. Before I arrived in to Mexico City, I was at the market in Ciudad Juarez. The decapitated body of a vampire bled onto the pavement, right next to a food stand. People kept eating. They bought soda. They were more bothered by the heat than the corpse.”

She sets him down. His feet touch the floor.

“I’m going to be a puddle of blood.”

He’s scared to say a thing. She sits down, folding her legs and staring at the wall. Eventually, he sits next to her.

“What are you going to do?” he asks.

“Hell if I know,” she whispers. “I need to eat. I need to sleep. I need to think.”

He pulls up his sleeve, offering his arm to her. She smiles wryly.

“You’re going to get hurt one of these days,” she tells him, “if you keep helping strangers like me.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he replies.

She presses her mouth against his skin.

*

Domingo is groggy when he opens his eyes. Atl’s still asleep. He doesn’t try to wake her. He flicks a battery-powered lantern on and looks at his magazines, feeling odd when he runs his hands across the vivid picture; the splashes of red.

The dog growls. Domingo lifts the lantern and listens. He doesn’t hear anything. The dog growls louder. Atl shifts her body, fully awake.

“What is it?” he asks.

“People,” she says.

He still can’t hear anything. Atl grabs her bag and pulls out a switchblade.

“Cualli, stay,” she tells the dog, then raises her eyes towards him. “Don’t move. The dog will keep you safe.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to take a look,” she says.

She runs out. Domingo crouches next to the dog, trying to listen for anything odd. The tunnels are quiet for a bit, then he hears loud sounds. Might be gun shots. The sounds seem to be getting closer. He’s nervous, heart beating very fast. He twists the dog’s leash between his hands.

Atl returns; she’s running and her face is very tense.

“Lead me out of here,” she says.

Domingo scrambles ahead of her, holding his lantern. He turns left and finds himself face to face with three people wearing a mask and goggles. They raise their guns. He blinks and is yanked back, thrown against the floor. The air is knocked out of his lungs.

There’s the zing of bullets; the loud blast of a shotgun. Domingo covers his ears. One of them lunges past Atl, towards him. Atl plucks him back, her claws and teeth tear the protective mask apart and she bites into the man’s face.

The man is trying to escape and Atl bites into his face like he is a ripe fruit.

The dog is also biting, tearing.

Domingo looks dumbly at all the blood.

“The place is crawling with them,” she says, angrily. “They must have followed you back. You’ve got to lead us out.”

“We’ve got to keep going straight,” he mumbles, picking the lantern off the floor.

The light illuminates a shadow, the figure of another man with a mask coming just behind Atl.

“Look out!” he yells.

The man’s head rolls onto the floor.

It literally rolls onto the floor.

Atl’s fingers are stained crimson. Brains are splattered over her jacket.

It’s his turn to vomit.

*

Dozens of mariachis in charro costumes litter Garibaldi Plaza. They’re waiting for someone to hire them to play a song and do not pay attention to two dirty beggars with a stray dog. That’s what Atl and Domingo look like, covered in grime and dirt after running through the tunnels.

“I’m heading to Guatemala, kid,” Atl says, her bag balanced on her left shoulder.

“Do you have friends there?”

“No.”

“Sure. I’ll go,” he says.

She stares at him.

“You’re going to need to feed,” he says. “You’ll need someone to watch your back.”

“I don’t need help.”

“I can shoot a gun,” he blusters.

“You’ve almost died twice in less than a week.”

“The life expectancy of a street kid isn’t much higher than yours,” he says, knowing he’s got nowhere to go. There’s nothing but forward.

She smirks. “Find another way to commit suicide.”

She slips a couple of bills into his hand.

“Atl,” he says.

“Keep the dog,” she replies, handing him the leash. “It’ll slow me down.”

She takes a couple of steps. The dog whines.

“Stay with him,” she orders.

“Atl,” he repeats.

She walks away. She doesn’t turn her head. He tries following her, but the square is crowded at this time of the night and he looses her quickly. She must have flown away. Can vampires fly? He’ll never know.

She’s gone.

A trio sings “La Cucaracha” while the rain begins to fall. He sniffles, eyes watery.

He pulls his plastic bag from his pocket and ties it above his head. He’s out of chocolate. He’s out of luck. He pats the dog’s head.

THE END

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Author Week #6: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

We’re back for our sixth special Author Week feature, and this week we have with us Mexican author Silvia Moreno-Garcia!

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia, who now lives in Canada, is the publisher behind Innsmouth Free Press, co-editor of several highly regarded anthologies including Fungi, Historical Lovecraft, Future Lovecraft, Candle in the Attic Window and is forthcoming sole editor of Dead North.

A short story writer, her fiction has been published widely and her first collection, This Strange Way of Dying, is out in June.

Silvia was a contributor to The Apex Book of World SF 2 and translated a story for us for volume 3. She is a Carter V. Cooper Memorial Prize winner (in the Emerging Writer category), and was a finalist for the Manchester Fiction Prize.

Silvia is currently fund-raising in order to complete and publish her first novel, Young Blood, about vampires and drug dealers in Mexico City.

This week, we’ll have a short story from Silvia; an interview with the author; and an exclusive guest-post.

But first – a giveaway!

We have one copy each of Silvia’s anthologies Fungi and Future Lovecraft to give away! To enter simply post a comment down below (not forgetting to include your e-mail).

May 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 20 Comments

Silvia Moreno-Garcia Fundraiser

Mexican author (and Apex Book of World SF 2 contributor) Silvia Moreno-Garcia is fundraising for her first novel, the YA Young Blood, about vampires in Mexico City:

Domingo collects garbage for a living, carefully finding treasures where others see nothing. One night, the teenager meets a vampire in Mexico City’s subway. She is Atl, descendant of Aztec blood-drinkers with a very exclusive diet: she will only drink the blood of the very young. She’s also the member of an important Northern narco family. And she’s hiding in Mexico City.

But there are rival vampires hot on her trail, determined to squash Atl and win these drug wars.

Atl doesn’t want to end up with her head chopped off and carried in a cooler.

Domingo just wants a friend, even if she’s got some baggage. Hey, we’ve all got to die some day.

Rewards include e- and paper copies of the novel, chapbooks and other goodies.

Donate here!

TEASER: Chapter 1

Collecting garbage sharpens the senses. It allows one to notice what others do not see. Where most people spy a pile of junk, the rag-and-bone man sees treasure: empty bottles that might be taken to the recycling centre, computer innards which can be re-used, furniture in decent shape. The garbage collector is always looking. It is a profession.

Domingo was always looking for garbage and he was always looking at people. It was his hobby. The people, not the garbage. He walked around Mexico City in his blue plastic jacket, head bobbed down, and while he tossed a bottle into a plastic bag he paused to observe the people eating at a restaurant. He looked at the maids as they got up early and purchased bread at the bakery. He saw the people in shiny cars zoom by and the people without any cash jump onto the back of the bus, hanging with their nails and their grit to the metallic shell of the moving vehicle.

Domingo had spent most of the day outside, pushing a shopping cart with his findings, and listening to his portable music player. It got dark and he bought himself dinner at a taco stand. Then it started to rain so he headed into the subway station.
He spent a lot of time in the subway system. He used to sleep in the subway cars when he was a street kid making a living by washing windshields at cross streets.

Those days were behind. He had a place to sleep and lately he collected junk for an important rag-and-bone man, focusing on gathering used thermoplastic clothing for him. He complemented his income with other odd jobs, with the recycled bottles and the interesting items he fished from the garbage. Domingo was well-fed and he had enough money to buy tokens for the public baths once a week.
He felt like he was really going places but entertainment was still out of his reach. He had his comic books and graphic novels to keep him company but most of the time, when he was bored, he watched people as they walked around the subway lines.

It was easy because few of them paid attention to the teenager leaning against the wall, backpack dangling from his left shoulder. He, on the other hand, paid attention to everything. He constructed lives for the people who shuffled in front of him. This one looked like a man who worked selling life insurance. That one was a secretary, but not with a good firm because her shoes looked cheap. Here came a con artist and there went a lovelorn housewife.

Domingo imagined names and biographies for them as he leaned against the cool wall tiles and bobbed his head to the sound of the music. It was Michael Jackson for the day.

After an hour of people watching, Domingo went to look at the large TV screens in the concourse. There were six of them, all showing different shows. Domingo spent fifteen minutes staring at Japanese music videos, then he switched to the news.

Six dismembered bodies found in Ciudad Juarez. Vampire drug-wars rage on.

Domingo read the headline slowly. Images flashed on the video screen of the subway station. Cops. Long shots of the bodies. The images dissolved, showing a young woman holding a can of soda in her hands. She winked at him.

Domingo waited to see if the next news items would expand on the drug-war story. He was fond of yellow journalism. He also liked stories and comic books about vampires; they seemed exotic. There were no vampires in Mexico City: their kind had been a no-no for the past thirty years, around the time the Federal District became a city-state.

The next story was of a pop-star, the singing sensation of the month, and then there was another ad, this one for a shoulder-bag computer. Domingo sulked, changed the tune on his music player.

He looked at another screen with pictures of blue butterflies fluttering around. Domingo took a chocolate from his pocket and tore the wrapper.

He wondered if he shouldn’t head to Santino’s party. Santino lived in a vecindad downtown and though his home was a one-bedroom, they were throwing an all-night party on the roof where there was plenty of space. But Santino was friends with El Chacal and Domingo didn’t want to see that guy. Besides, he’d probably have to contribute to the beer budget. It was the end of the month. Domingo was short on cash.

Domingo pondered his options.

A woman wearing a black vinyl jacket walked by him, holding a leash. Her Doberman must have been genetically modified. The animal was huge and looked mean.
Domingo recognized her. He’d seen her twice before, riding the subway late at nights, always with the dog. Heavy boots upon the white tiles, bob cut black hair, with a regal stance and a sharp, aquiline face. The way she moved, it made him think of water. Like she was sliding on water.

She moved her face a small fraction, glancing at him. It was nothing but a glance, but the way she did it made Domingo feel like he’d been doused with a bucket of ice water. Something bored into him, snaked around his throat, and he felt the need to follow her.

Domingo stuffed the remaining chocolate back in his pocket, took off his headphones and walked behind her quickly, squeezing through the doors of the subway car she was boarding.

He sat across from her and was able to get a better look at the woman. She was older than him, early twenties, with large eyes that gave her an air of innocence which was quickly dispelled by the stern mouth. The woman was cute, in an odd way.

He noticed her gloves.  Black vinyl which matched the jacket. She wasn’t wearing a fancy outfit but there was definitely something special about it. He suspected it was more expensive that it seemed.

The subway car stopped and Domingo fidgeted, wondering where she was headed. The woman patted the dog’s head.

He was looking at her discreetly and he knew how to do discreet, so he was a bit surprised when she turned and stared right back at him.

Domingo froze and swallowed. He found his tongue with some effort.

“Hey,” he said, smiling. “How are you doing tonight?”

She did not smile back. Her lips were pressed together in a precise and unyielding line. He hoped she wasn’t thinking of letting the dog loose on him for staring at her.

The subway car was almost deserted and when she spoke her voice seemed to echo around them even though she spoke very softly.

“Should you be out by yourself at this time of the night?”

“What do you mean?”

“How old are you?”

“Seventeen,” he replied, lying only by two months. “It’s early. It’s just before midnight.”

“No curfew?”

“No,” he scoffed. “I live on my own.”

“Ah, a man about town.”

There was laughter in her voice even though she didn’t laugh. It made him stand up and he was ready to push his little shopping cart away, to leave her alone. She turned her head away from him and he assumed this was goodbye. Goodnight.

“I’m looking for a friend,” she said unexpectedly.

Domingo blinked. He nodded, uncertain. – donate!

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off on Silvia Moreno-Garcia Fundraiser

Lavie Tidhar talks World SF 2

Grasping for the wind has just posted a new interview with me about international speculative fiction and editing The Apex Book of World SF 2, with some comments from anthology contributors Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Silvia Moreno Garcia.

The Apex Book of World SF is now out in paperback and on the Kindle!

SFFWRTCHT: How long does it take you to edit and assemble these anthologies?

LT: A long time! If you think about it, The Apex Book of World SF came out in 2009, while The Apex Book of World SF 2 came out in 2012–that’s four years between volumes! There are all kinds of reasons for that sort of time difference–and a lot that has changed in SFF in general over that period–but a part of it is certainly that it takes time and patience to put together an anthology of this kind.

SFFWRTCHT: Do you have plans to do more in the future? And what are outlets for readers intrigued by this to find more non-Western SF to read?

LT: Jason and I are very hopeful we get to do at least one more volume in the series. It depends on sales making it worthwhile for Apex, though. I’m keeping my eyes open and flagging interesting stories for consideration. We also have an idea for a separate–but very exciting– anthology with a more specific focus, which I hope we get to do. – read the full interview.

October 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Comments Off on Lavie Tidhar talks World SF 2

Monday Original Content: Mexican Science Fiction: The Northern Corridor

Mexican Science Fiction: The Northern Corridor

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Gabriel Trujillo-Muñoz

Latin American science fiction has had a long trajectory, though it is little known beyond its borders. Similarly, Mexican science fiction has steadily developed since its colonial beginning, eventually leading to a state of boom and bust in the 90s. After offering a chronology of Mexican science fiction in the article titled “Terra Incognita: A Brief History of Mexican Science Fiction”, we now turn our eyes towards northern Mexico and the development of science fiction in this region of the country.

The north of Mexico – that region spanning from Baja California to Tamaulipas – is hot, arid and known for the accent of its inhabitants. To be someone of the North means to be someone of the frontier, to exist in a peculiar, particular kind of culture which mixes bastardized English words with a certain gusto (‘vamo a parkear la troca’) and rolls semi-close to cowboy culture.

As Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta and Salvador C. Fernandez explain in El Norte y su Frontera en la Narrativa Policiaca Mexicana (The North and its Border in the Mexican Detective Narrative), in the past two decades there has been a discussion of North and frontier literature, focussing on its geographical limits, definition and identity, separate from the rest of the country. “The North of Mexico is not simple geography…it is a way of thinking, acting, feeling and talking against the medium and the culture of the United States, bizarre and absorbent.” [1]

The Mexican North, is an odd space, trying to find a balance and a sense of self between the two opposing forces of Mexicanism and Americanism. Perhaps due to this odd conjunction, the North has tended to develop genre[2] fiction more arduously than other parts of the country. It is well-known, for example, for its thrillers (inspired by the drug activity in that region of the country) and “hard-boiled” books. [3]It has also produced science fiction books, stories and novels.

Guillermo Samperio, considered one of the best living short story authors in Mexico, once stated that fantastic or science fiction scenarios “have been expanding in the North of the country, a fertile ethno-geographic spot for imagination and invention.” [4]

Mexican science fiction expert Miguel Ángel Fernández wrote in Panorama de la Ciencia Ficción Mexicana (Panorama of Mexican Science Fiction) that “some states of the frontier with the United States have had much [science fiction] activity since the decade of the 1980s…Tamaulipas is one of the principal producers of science fiction of our days.”[5] Miguel Ángel Fernández recognize several “centres” of Mexican science fiction: Yucatan (southern state), Tamaulipas (in the north) and Puebla (centre) are the three most important ones.[6]

Not surprisingly, the proliferation of Northern science fiction coincides with the Mexican science fiction boom of the same time period. However, the genre was not entirely new to the region.

The oldest Northern Mexican science fiction story is likely “El Barco Negro” by José María Barrios de los Ríos, posthumously  published in El país de las perlas y cuentoscalifornios (1908). It was written at the beginning of the 19th century in La Paz, Baja California, when Barrios de los Ríos worked in the courts of this port and liked writing down legendary stories of the sea of Cortez. The story, taking place in 1716 in the mission of Loreto, relates the appearance of a fantastic ship, piloted by an aristocrat who is half Faust and half captain Nemo.

Almost half a century later, Narciso Genovese, an Italian-born novelist and journalist then living in Baja California, wrote a novel titled Yo he estado en Marte (1958) about an encounter with Martians and a trip to outer space. It is a utopic work which contrasts with the nuclear arms race of the time period, in which the Martians serve as an example of kind, sensitive society looking for universal peace. In the 70s, Genovese also published La nueva aurora, another science fiction book, this one focusing on the theme of immortality.

Genovese died in the 80s, at a time when a new generation of writers from the North was blossoming. These included Jesús Guerra, Daniel Gómez Nieves, Gerardo Cornejo, Gabriel Trujillo  and Lauro Paz. There were also anthologists like Federico Schaffler and Guillermo Lavín, who would found important magazines like Umbrales and publish anthologies like Más allá de lo imaginado (1990-1993, a total of three volumes), all part of the boom. Schaffler, in particular, would become one of the most important faces of science fiction by virtue of leading the Fantastic Literature Workshop “Terra Ignota” (1990 to 2003) and publishing 50 issues of Umbrales (1992 to 2000).

Guillermo Lavín, for his part, founded the award-winning magazine A Quien Corresponda and his work appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. He also won several speculative fiction awards (Kalpa, Alberto Magno, Axxon Primordial) for his science fiction work.

Also from the North is Gerardo Sifuentes, winner in 1998 of the international Phillip K. Dick prize for Perro de Luz (1998, given by Asociación Gallega de CF y Fantasía, España).

And, here is a curiosity: musician Gabriel Gonzales Melendez of Matamoros staged an opera base on Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. It was titled (what else?) The Martian.[7] Melendez also published some science fiction, including Los Mismos Grados más Lejos del Centro (1991), which is set in the north of Mexico, some centuries in the future.

One of the key reasons for development of this type of literature in the North: the proliferation of university literary workshops and classes, which led to the appearance of venues like Umbrales. Northern academic institutions were cordial to science fiction, and thus you get projects like Editorial Yoremito, which published a series of genre titles, including science fiction, starting in the 1990s (Yoremito, with funding from the Tijuana Cultural Centre, focused exclusively on frontier narratives). More recently, in 2011, the Faculty of Humanities of the Autonomous University of Baja California published a series of “minibúks” showcasing Mexican science fiction. This year, Federico Schaffler is working on assembling an anthology of Mexican speculative fiction, which will include science fiction stories, to be published through the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas.

With the bust of Mexican science fiction in the post-90s, the support of universities and cultural institutions in order to finance speculative literature has become even more vital. But the real future of science fiction may lie in cross-genre works, in short, in combining it with the thrillers, the novela negra (literally black novel), which have a stronger foothold in the country. After all, a new line of thrillers published by Almadía (called Almadía Negra) just hit bookstores this past year. [8] The future of Mexican science fiction may be in the end, found in merging its science with hard-boiled Northern narratives and crime thrillers. Only time may tell.

About the Authors:

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an author and editor from – you guessed it – the North of Mexico. She moved to Canada several years ago, which is as North as she could get. Her stories appear in The Book of Cthulhu, Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing and other places. Find her at silviamoreno-garcia.com.

Gabriel Trujillo-Muñoz. Born in the city of Mexicali, Baja California, in 1958. He is a scholar in science fiction studies and an author of novels and collections of stories in the futuristic genre. His most recent novel of science fiction is Trenes perdidos en la niebla (Trains lost in the mist, Jus, 2010). His non-fiction book focusing on science fiction Utopías y quimeras (Utopias and chimeras) is due out this year.

 

 


[1]El Norte y su Frontera en la Narrativa Policiaca Mexicana (The North and its Border in the Mexican Detective Narrative) By Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta, Salvador C. Fernández. 2005.Page 13.

[2] The concept of genre fiction is more fluid than in the United States or Canada. Books tend to be shelved in a broad “literature” category if they are written by Mexican authors, without sub-genre distinctions (crime, science fiction, drama and magic realism may sit on the same shelf). This, however, has not stopped the development of sub-genres, the most important one being the Mexican thriller, with some important festivals and author representing this type of writing. This in turns means genre fiction is found more easily in what might be termed literary journals.

[3]Norte y su Frontera en la Narrativa Policiaca Mexicana (The North and its Border in theMexican Detective Narrative) By Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta, Salvador C. Fernández. 2005. Page 15

[5] Panorama de la Ciencia Ficción Mexicana byMiguel Ángel Fernández.http://www.ciencia-ficcion.com.mx/default.asp?uid=2&cve=11:26

[6]“Los cartógrafos del infierno en México .”Publicado en El oscuro retorno del hijo del ¡Nahual! Ciencia-Ficción y Fantasía. No.8 Abril 2002 http://www.angelfire.com/va3/literatura/CIENCIAFICCION.htm

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Silvia Moreno-Garcia on Lovecraft: Racing and Literature

Silvia Moreno-Garcia comments on the topic raised last week by Nnedi Okorafor, discussing Lovecraftian fiction in general.

Lovecrat was a racist. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has read about him. He was also a knot of contradictions (not only because he married a Jewish woman after railing against Jewish people), which is no excuse, it’s just fact. I won’t even bother with the product-of-his-time thing because he was, and yeah. Lovecraft’s fears about everything (and boy, he had a number of fears) were channeled into his stories, so that it becomes pretty obvious that he didn’t like people who looked like me (“Red Hook” anyone?).

But just because Lovecraft was one way it doesn’t mean we have to be the same way. This is the mantra behind Innsmouth Free Press, where we’ve had a multi-cultural issue(Ekaterina Sedia, Charles R. Saunders and others contributed to it) and now two anthologies (Historical Lovecrat and Future Lovecraft) with writers from more than a dozen countries, some of them translated into English. The latest anthology, for example, has contributors from places like Nigeria, the Philippines and Germany. And the stories and poems are not about polite gentlemen from New England. “Tloque Nahuaque,” translated from the Spanish by me and penned by Nelly Geraldine Garcia-Rosas, puts the Higgs boson debate in a decidedly Mexican context (Tloque Nahuaque refers to a Prehispanic deity).

When Paula R. Stiles and I read slush, we still find a lot of stories that try to emulate Lovecraft by placing the tales in New England, with upper-crust white men as protagonists. During our Historical Lovecraft submissions period we got a big wave of the Victorian white gentleman, which caused me to blog about this and request more stories that veered from that narrow location and era because, hell, who wants to read an anthology called Historical Lovecraft and find out all we are representing is Boston 1880 to 1910? Instead, we managed to obtain some colonial Mexico and a bit of Egypt, among other things.

So what I don’t want to see with this debate is minority writers saying “shucks, I’ll never write a Lovecraft story because he was a racist asshole.” Because Lovecraft does raise interesting points and you can construct a refreshing dialogue by taking his settings, characters, idea or the like, and adapting them to your needs. If we don’t go there and start creating our own stories upon those Lovecraftian shores, nobody else will. – read the full post, with comments.

December 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Historical Lovecraft

Today is the official release of Historical Lovecraft edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles. Aside from stories that take from places all over the world, it includes an international roster of writers including Meddy Ligner (translated from the French, French author), Nathalie Boisard-Beudin (French), Julio Toro San Martin (Chilean, living in Canada) Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas (translated from Spanish, Mexican), Y. W. Purnomosidhi (Indonesian)–and that’s not including the publisher and editors.

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on Historical Lovecraft

Short Story Highlight: “The Death Collector” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

New web magazine AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, while recent, appears to pay special attention to international writers (see also The Butcher Boy by Jacques Barbéri, which we have highlighted earlier). They have recently published Mexican author Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s latest story, The Death Collector:

There’s a murder scheduled in one hour. Mexico City. 1960.

* * *

Most people would pick another time and place. John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Even in Mexico there are more famous sights. The massacre of hundreds of students in the Plaza of the Three Cultures is only eight years away; tanks bulldozing through the streets and the soldiers pouring bullets into the crowds. Forty-seven years in the other direction the streets of Mexico City smell of charred human meat and the screams of the wounded.

Those are large conflicts. Pools of blood spill through the City of Palaces. But the ones I look for are the little deaths. A true collector does not go for the easy, gaudy spectacles printed in bold letters in the history books.

A gourmet of death sniffs for the delicious, the delicate, the more refined crimes rather than clumsy trails of corpses.

No. Mexico City. 1960. Ramon Gay is about to die.

Ramon Gay. He’s the true image of a movie star in striking black and white. Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema is grinding to a halt, but there are still actors like Ramon with his sculpted face that cries perfection and his smile that turns women into Jell-O.

Debonair, he struts into the frame with a sense of place, a dignified style. His image burns into the film like a scar upon time. They don’t make faces like Ramon’s anymore. They don’t make murders like his either. – continue reading.

 

February 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on Short Story Highlight: “The Death Collector” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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