About a year ago I was lucky enough to have a short story accepted in the first ever female science fiction anthology in Spanish, Alucinadas, edited by Cristina Jurado and Leticia Lara, and published by Palabaristas, and later on by Spórtula in book format. The collection was very well received, and a kickstarter campaign has been recently launched to translate the project into English. My small press is contributing with a little reward to backers, E-Pubs of The Best of Spanish Steampunk, which we edited last year. I was asked to write a few words about the book for the campaign, which I reproduce here. Although the main campaign goal has been reached, you have still a few hours to support the kickstarter. Extra funds will be destined to translate the second part of the anthology, Alucinadas II, whose contributors were announced yesterday.
A few words on The Best of Spanish Steampunk
“A lot of writing in Spanish has historically engaged with political realities. The potential apocalyptic changes in our environment, the social inadequacies that have emerged out of the current economic crisis, are constant themes on the writing of Spanish speaking authors. Our small press, Ediciones Nevsky, is very committed to speculative fiction, and in particular to the kind that embraces a certain ideological angle: social or economical injustice, climate change, or that simply poses a commentary on our ever-dystopian world.
A few years ago we started noticing the rise of a genre that was slowly introducing itself in Spain, Steampunk. We published the first Steampunk anthology originally written in Spanish, and witnessed the growing influence of the genre in our SF/F community. There is no denial that Spanish speaking countries are currently a fertile breeding-ground for Steampunk. Why has this happened?
Spanish speaking authors feel attracted to a genre that foreshadows our actual economic problems, high unemployment levels, and frustration with increasing social inequality. Historically, Spain has ‘had its moment’: our Golden Age fizzled to an end in the long-distant seventeenth century. So when you come to speak about Steampunk, which as a genre is quite clearly identified with the ‘winning’ countries in the various nineteenth-century colonial projects, then Spain doesn’t naturally fit into that paradigm. We are also proud to feature authors from Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, which are all countries that have tended to be exploitees rather than exploiters. The book also showcases a new social phenomenon: young Spanish speaking authors who have left their countries of origin to live elsewhere, sometimes due to work-related/economic reasons. We have Spanish speaking authors who live, for example, in Germany, Dubai, or the UK.
There is much writing from the margins in this anthology: authors reflecting on their countries’ histories, “critically” reimagining key moments such as the North-American-Spanish Cuban war, the Mexican war, or the Anarchist revolts of the 1930s in Andalusia; writing commenting on social issues; authors “forced” onto the cultural ‘margins’ due to migration, social inadequacies, or for the simple reason of not being born on the right side of the dominant narrative.
We produced this anthology with the hope to make these authors more widely available, to serve as a showcase of the great talent in Spanish speaking speculative fiction, and to break boundaries between cultures and languages. The Steampunk international community is particularly inclusive, one that has actively worked to embrace other voices; they have welcomed us with open arms, and for that we are very thankful.
We are proud to be offering this E-Pub as a reward to Spanish Women of Wonder’s kickstarter, and hope that these projects are only the beginning on a new translation wave that will bring more writers and readers together, no matter where they come from, or which language they write in.”
Marian Womack is the co-editor of The Best of Spanish Steampunk, and author of Spanish Women of Wonder