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.
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,” 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!
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.
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.
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.” 
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 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. 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.” 
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.” 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.
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. 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.  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.
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.
 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.
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
El Futuro en Llamas Gabriel Trujillo. http://www.ciencia-ficcion.com.mx/default.asp?uid=2&cve=11:04
 Panorama de la Ciencia Ficción Mexicana byMiguel Ángel Fernández.http://www.ciencia-ficcion.com.mx/default.asp?uid=2&cve=11:26
“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
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.
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.
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.