Latino Studies Latino Science Fiction
by
Matthew Goodwin, Ilan Stavans
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 June 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0112

Introduction

Science fiction is a genre of imaginative literature in which the events of the narrative are scientifically possible, as opposed to events that are magical, supernatural, or fantastical. Though not the most common genre used by US Latino writers, it has still had a strong presence. It has generally been overshadowed though by magical realism, a type of fantastic story in which magical events are seamlessly intertwined with a realistic narrative. The 21st century has, nevertheless, brought with it a burgeoning interest in Latino science fiction, as the creation of Latino science fiction has increased along with a body of scholarship that is recovering past science fiction works. Science fiction is a large field and contains multiple subgenres (alien encounters, outer space voyages, dystopian fiction, and so on) and Latino writers have made use of them all. Furthermore, despite its designation as a “fiction,” science fiction is a multimedia field, and Latinos have been engaged in creating not only science fiction literature, but also comics, film, and television. Latino science fiction, as does much of science fiction, often takes current trends and extrapolates them into the future, and the themes that appear are of particular interest to Latino communities including immigration, colonialism, racism, Spanglish and code-switching, and encounters between Latinos and other ethnic groups. Latino writers are finding that science fiction is one of the most dynamic ways to imagine a Latino future.

General Overviews

The study of Latino science fiction joins a more general turn in science fiction studies toward the study of science fiction written by specific ethnic groups and nationalities. At the same time, the study of Latino science fiction is part of a growing movement in Latino studies to give closer attention to genres such as detective fiction, young-adult fiction, and comics. While there are no anthologies of scholarship on the topic or anthologies of US Latino science fiction itself, the field is garnering a good deal of interest. The scholarly essays that directly deal with the subject of Latino science fiction are to some degree concerned with the question of recovering and/or reconstructing a tradition of Latino science fiction. At issue are the history and scope of Latino science fiction and the recovery of works that may have been read as magical realism or fantasy when they were published (“retrolabeling” in the terms of Rachel Haywood Ferreira). A good place for a researcher to start is Maguirre 2013, an introduction to the field which charts the genre up to Junot Díaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in which science fiction plays a central role (see Díaz 2007 under Science Fiction as Metaphor). Goodwin 2013, the dissertation The Fusion of Migration and Science Fiction in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States, gives close readings of a number of key works of Latino science fiction. Catherine S. Ramírez has written a number of essays on the subject. Influenced by Afrofuturist scholarship, Ramírez coined the term “Chicanafuturism” in Ramírez 2004 in order to frame her study of Marion C. Martinez’s religious sculptures, which are constructed of old computer parts. Both this essay and Ramírez 2008 have begun to create a thread of a tradition, citing examples such as Luis Valdez’s 1967 play Los Vendidos, which she describes as “one of the earliest examples of Chicanafuturism” (p. 189). What is clear is that the task of recovering the tradition of Latino science fiction is still in progress. Meanwhile, González 2010 predicts that science fiction will be vital to Latino letters in the coming years, and a variety of online resources such as Flores (SciFi Latino), Garcia (La Bloga’s Latino Speculative Literature Directory), and Vourvoulias (Putting the I in Speculative) provide useful lists of present and past Latino science fiction.

  • Flores, Sophia. SciFi Latino.

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    A blog by a Puerto Rican fan of fantasy and science fiction. Begun in 1999, the blog continues to provide up-to-date information about US Latino and Latin American sci-fi and makes regular notes on Latino characters appearing in mainstream sci-fi television and film.

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    • Garcia, Rudy Ch. La Bloga’s Latino Speculative Literature Directory.

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      A solid and ongoing directory of Latino speculative fiction which includes science fiction.

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      • González, John Morán. “Aztlán @ 50: Chican@ Literary Studies for the Next Decade.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 35.2 (Fall 2010): 173–176.

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        A review of some of the directions that Chicano studies have recently taken, including queer, feminist, and hemispheric approaches. The author notes that while the future of the nation has been whitewashed in the science fiction imagination, there are nevertheless a number of new Chicano writers working in science fiction.

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        • Goodwin, Matthew David. “The Fusion of Migration and Science Fiction in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States.” PhD diss., University of Massachusetts–Amherst, 2013.

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          A dissertation which explores how Latino science fiction has responded to the colonial history of science fiction and to the immigration debates in the United States. Not only examines literature, but also photography, performance art, and film.

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          • Maguirre, Emily A. “Science Fiction.” In The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature. Edited by Suzanne Bostand and Frances R. Aparicio, 351–360. London: Routledge, 2013.

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            This essay contests the notion that there is no tradition of Latino science fiction by offering brief descriptions of a number of works from the 1970s to the present. Maquirre not only looks at Chicano science fiction, which is abundant, but also fiction by non-Chicano Latinos such as Alex Rivera.

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            • Ramírez, Catherine S. “Deus ex Machina: Tradition, Technology, and the Chicanafuturist Art of Marion C. Martinez.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 29.2 (Fall 2004): 55–92.

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              Ramírez argues in this essay that Marion C. Martinez’s retablos, which were created from computer parts, critique the stereotype of the New Mexican as a “primitive hispano” by melding the low tech and the high tech.

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              • Ramírez, Catherine S. “Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism: Fictive Kin.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 33.1 (Spring 2008): 185–194.

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                In this partly autobiographical essay, Ramírez discusses her own interest in science fiction both as a fan and as a teacher, and gives brief overviews of her previous two essays on Chicanafuturism.

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                • Vourvoulias, Sabrina. Putting the I in Speculative: Looking at U.S. Latino/a Writers and Stories.

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                  An essay included on the popular website Tor.com which gives some of the history of Latino science fiction and fantasy and then points to the many contemporary authors in the field.

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                  Dystopian Fiction

                  Dystopian fiction imagines radically new social and political circumstances; in the case of Latino science fiction, that generally involves new forms of oppression for Latinos. Heightened enforcement or deportation of immigrants is a common theme, as in Moraga 2001. Gant-Britton 2000 and Goodwin 2015 examine the science fiction elements of Moraga’s play The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea. Stevens-Arce 2000, set in a dystopian Puerto Rico, envisions the rise of a religious state that outlaws suicide. Pineda 2002 places a Kafkaesque narrative within the setting of a nuclear disaster. Garcia 2009 depicts the impact on society of the sale of artificial organs. Vourvoulias 2012 is a crossed genre work that imagines the next step of biometrical tracking of immigrants. Paz Soldán 2014 is a linguistically inventive novel which shows the violent conflicts of a futuristic borderland.

                  • Gant-Britton, Lisbeth. “Mexican Women and Chicanas Enter Futuristic Fiction.” In Future Females, the Next Generation: New Voices and Velocities in Feminist Science Fiction Criticism. Edited by Marleen S. Barr, 261–276. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.

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                    This essay, included in a collection of scholarship on feminist science fiction, compares Cherrie Moraga’s play The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea (2001) with Laura Esquivel’s novel The Law of Love (1997). Focuses on the role of technology in the two works.

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                    • Garcia, Eric. Repossession Mambo. New York: Harper, 2009.

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                      In this novel, a company sells artificial organs, but when clients fall behind on their payments, the repo men show up, taking the organ and effectively killing the person. The protagonist is a repo man who then becomes a client himself. Adapted into the film Repo Men (2010).

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                      • Goodwin, Matthew. “Migrants and the Dystopian State.” In Alien Imaginations. Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism. Edited by Ulrike Küchler, Silja Maehl, and Graeme Stout. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

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                        Examines two Mexican short stories, José Luis Alverdi’s “Azúcar en los Labios” (2009) and Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz’s “Cajunia” (1994), and one Chicana play, Cherrie Moraga’s The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea (2001). The essay emphasizes their difference from typical Anglo-American dystopian fiction as regards the depictions of contemporary migration.

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                        • Moraga, Cherrie. The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea. Albuquerque, NM: West End, 2001.

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                          First performed in 1995, this drama is set in the “muy ‘Blade Runner-esque’” city of Phoenix after an ethnic civil war has divided the United States into smaller nations. The story draws on Greek and Mexican mythology while telling the story of Medea who is kicked out of the Chicano state of Aztlán for having a lesbian relationship.

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                          • Paz Soldán, Edmundo. Iris. Madrid: Alfaguara, 2014.

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                            Set on planet Earth in a region that has been contaminated by radiation and which resembles Bolivia. The novel is narrated by multiple narrators from multiple classes of society and includes dialogue in an inventive futuristic Spanglish.

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                            • Pineda, Cecile. Bardo99: A Mononovel. San Antonio, TX: Wings, 2002.

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                              A dystopian novella in which Joseph Viek, who works on nuclear disaster cleanup crews, is sent out to a site at his hometown of Prypiat. Because of an accident and other bureaucratic barriers, he never seems to get there. The work crosses back and forth from science fiction to the fantastic.

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                              • Stevens-Arce, James. Soulsaver. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000.

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                                Dystopian novel set in Puerto Rico and the United States in which suicides are forcibly resurrected. Crosses genres with the supernatural thriller.

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                                • Vourvoulias, Sabrina. Ink. Somerville, MA: Crossed Genres, 2012.

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                                  A novel set in the near future in which the government has forcibly tattooed immigrants and recent descendants of immigrants. The story is told through multiple perspectives and is a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, and Guatemalan folklore.

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                                  Alejandro Morales

                                  The work of Alejandro Morales has received a great deal of attention from scholars, in particular, his science fiction novel Morales 1991. A special issue of The Bilingual Review/La revista bilingüe, housed at Arizona State University, was released in 1996 and included a variety of essays on The Rag Doll Plagues. Priewe 2004 and García-Martínez 2014 focus on the importance of disease, sex, and violence in The Rag Doll Plagues. Spires 2005 situates The Rag Doll Plagues within the canon of dystopian fiction while Georgi 2011 shows how The Rag Doll Plagues responded to the cyberpunk tradition.

                                  • Franco, Dean. “Working Through the Archive: Trauma and History in Alejandro Morales’s ‘the Rag Doll Plagues.’” PMLA 120.2 (2005): 375–387.

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                                    Essay on The Rag Doll Plagues (1991) which emphasizes the cyclical nature of history made apparent through the three parts of the novel.

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                                    • García-Martínez, Marc. The Flesh and Blood Aesthetics of Alejandro Morales: Disease, Sex, and Figuration. San Diego, CA: State University Press, 2014.

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                                      Full-length study of the works of Alejandro Morales. One chapter focuses on the first section of The Rag Doll Plagues (1991), emphasizing the graphic images of disease, sex, and fetishism that are present in the novel.

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                                      • Georgi, Sonja. Bodies and/as Technology: Counter-discourses on Ethnicity and Globalization in the Works of Alexandro Morales, Larissa Lai and Nalo Hopkinson. Heidelberg, Germany: Universitätsverlag, Winter 2011.

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                                        A comparative study of three influential science fiction writers of color. One chapter is dedicated to describing how Morales’ The Brick People (1988) and The Rag Doll Plagues (1991) respond to the cyberpunk tradition.

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                                        • Gurpegui, José Antonio, ed. Special Issue: Alejandro Morales: Fiction Past, Present, Future Perfect. Bilingual Review/La revista bilingüe 20.3 (1996).

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                                          Special issue on the work of Alejandro Morales with a number of essays on The Rag Doll Plagues. Includes essays that focus on ecology, the border, and history in the novel.

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                                          • Morales, Alejandro: The Rag Doll Plagues. Houston, TX: Arte Publico, 1991.

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                                            The story of a plague in three time periods: 18th-century Mexico, modern day Los Angeles, and Los Angeles of 2050. In each period, a physician (each with a version of the name Gregory) fights the plague, discovering the effects of social inequalities on the development of the plagues.

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                                            • Priewe, Marc. “Bio-politics and the Contamination of the Body in Alejandro Morales’ ‘the Rag Doll Plagues.’” MELUS 29.3–4 (2004): 397–412.

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                                              Essay on The Rag Doll Plagues (1991) framed through the idea of contamination. The author argues that while the story emphasizes the “blood” of Mexicans, the novel ultimately advocates for racial and cultural hybridity.

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                                              • Spires, Adam C. “Brave New Aztlán: Toward a Chicano Dystopia in the Novels of Alejandro Morales.” Revista Canadiense de Estutios Hispánicos 29.2 (Winter 2005): 363–378.

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                                                This essay charts dystopian elements in the novels of Alejandro Morales, giving attention to his most overtly dystopian novel The Rag Doll Plagues (1991). Spires notes that it is only in this novel with a dystopian future that Morales is able to find space to express a solid foundation for Chicano identity.

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                                                Space Aliens and Outer Space

                                                Given that the space alien has been used as a metaphor for a variety of races and migrant groups, it is no surprise that the space alien shows up in Latino science fiction. Space exploration, and its imperial connotations, has likewise been significant as a means to deal with the topics of European and American colonization and racism. Cardenas 2013, a collection of the work of Reyes Cardenas, includes “Pachuco Y Los Flying Saucers” (1975) which has an outer space scene involving Pancho Villa, and From Aztlan to the Moons of Mars: A Chicano Verse Novel (2010). Rios 1976, one early work of Latino science fiction, is indicative in that it makes use of the figure of the enlightened space alien to envision a better world for the oppressed. Calvin 2005 gives a solid reading of the function of the space alien in the novel Victuum. Hogan 1990 is a pioneering work in Latino science fiction that places the Chicano experience in outer space. A number of cartoons in Alcaraz 2004 (cited under Comics) reappropriate the threatening space alien to express the situation of Mexicans and Chicanos. Junot Díaz published a short story Díaz 2012 which was included in a special science fiction issue of The New Yorker. ADÁL 2004 is an alternate history in which Puerto Ricans landed on the moon prior to NASA. Goodwin 2015 examines the relationship between science fiction and colonialism in Coconauts in Space and other works of ADÁL. Sánchez and Pita 2009 takes the Bracero Program and relocates it to the moon. Rivera 2012 examines the novel Lunar Braceros 2125–2148 through a comparative lens.

                                                • ADÁL (Adál Alberto Maldonado). Coconauts in Space: Pre-NASA Luna Histories. Philadelphia: Taller Puertorriqueño, 2004.

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                                                  Coconauts in Space is a photo narrative that assembles and modifies images of multiple Apollo missions in order to form a single NASA moon landing narrative. This photo series imagines that when NASA landed on the moon in 1969, Puerto Rican astronauts had already arrived, pointing to the fact that before the United States invaded Puerto Rico, people were already there.

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                                                  • Calvin, Ritchie L. “Isabella Ríos and Victuum: Speculating a Chicana Identity.” Americana 3.1 (Spring 2005): 33–58.

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                                                    This essay analyzes the novel Victuum by Diana López (writing under the pseudonym Isabella Ríos). Calvin argues that while much of subsequent Chicana literature looked to the past to forge an alternate space outside of a male-dominated society, López turns to the future to create that space.

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                                                    • Cardenas, Reyes. Reyes Cardenas: Chicano Poet 1970–2010. Aztlan Libre, 2013.

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                                                      A comprehensive collection of the work of Reyes Cardenas, including his short story “Pachuco Y Los Flying Saucers” (1975) and From Aztlan to the Moons of Mars: A Chicano Verse Novel (2010).

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                                                      • Díaz, Junot. “Monstro.” The New Yorker 4 (June 2012): 107–118.

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                                                        Amid an alien invasion of black mold, the narrator travels to the Dominican Republic where he pursues a romantic relationship with a woman who seems to be out of his league.

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                                                        • Goodwin, Matthew. “Ciencia Ficción: la perspectiva de ADÁL.” In Ínsulas Extrañas: Ciencia Ficción en el Caribe Hispano y Otras Islas Adyacentes. Puerto Rico: La Secta de los Perros, 2015.

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                                                          Examines how Puerto Rican artist ADÁL uses the figure of the mad scientist and the moon landing narrative to describe the experience of Puerto Ricans living in the United States. Frames the discussion around the colonialism inherent in the history of science fiction.

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                                                          • Hogan, Ernest. Cortez on Jupiter. New York: Tor, 1990.

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                                                            This novel chronicles the life and career of Pablo Cortez, a “splatterpainter” who works in low gravity. After being arrested as the leader of the Guerrilla Muralists of Los Angeles, he volunteers to travel to Jupiter where he takes up the challenge of communicating with a powerful alien mind.

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                                                            • Rios, Isabella. Victuum. Ventura, CA: Diana-Etna, 1976.

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                                                              Diana López, writing under the pseudonym Isabella Rios, self-published this Bildungsroman (Copyrighted in 1974). Written entirely through dialogue, the novel recounts the childhood and marriage of Valentina Ballesternos. Part II of the novel is the more science fiction section, describing the encounters that Valentina has with famous historical figures and an enlightened extraterrestrial named Victuum.

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                                                              • Rivera, Lysa. “Future Histories and Cyborg Labor: Reading Borderlands Science Fiction after NAFTA.” Science Fiction Studies 39.3 (November 2012): 415–436.

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                                                                Examines works of science fiction set in the Mexico-US borderlands, including Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita’s Chicana novel Lunar Braceros 2125–2148 (2009). The essay emphasizes how the novel connects present-day labor oppression to past colonial structures.

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                                                                • Sánchez, Rosaura, and Beatrice Pita. Lunar Braceros 2125–2148. National City, CA: Calaca, 2009.

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                                                                  A novel structured through a collection of emails and conversations between a mother and her son. The story centers on a group of workers who labor in the toxic waste dump on the moon and their resistance to corporate corruption.

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                                                                  Robots and Androids

                                                                  Certainly one of the earliest works of Latino science fiction, although rarely interpreted as science fiction, is Luis Valdez’s one act play Valdez 1990 in which the figure of the robot is used to satire the co-opting of Latinos. One Puerto Rican novel, Acevedo 2001, seems to have Bladerunner (see Film) as an influence on its depiction of androids (human-like robots). Irizarry 2009 provides a good introduction to Acevedo’s novel Exquisito Cadáver and points to the important literary references in the novel. Narvaez 2012 is a short story which offers a picture of the uneasy relationship between humans and robots in the aftermath of a robot-human war.

                                                                  • Acevedo, Rafael. Exquisito Cadáver. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Ediciones Callejón, 2001.

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                                                                    A postmodern, science fiction detective novel. The unnamed protagonist works for Holmes Private Investigations and as the novel progresses he himself becomes involved in the murder (or “retirement”) of androids.

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                                                                    • Irizarry, Guillermo. “Tecnologías Discursivas Del Pensamiento Posnacional en Exquisito Cadáver, de Rafael Acevedo.” Centro Journal XXI.1 (Spring 2009): 201–217.

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                                                                      This essay on Rafael Acevedo’s Exquisito Cadáver (2001), in addition to giving a good introduction to the novel, uncovers some of the important literary references in the story. Irizarry emphasizes the ethical necessity of liberating the individual from the corporate controlled and globalized collective depicted in the novel.

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                                                                      • Narvaez, Richie. “Rough Night in Toronto.” In Roachkiller and Other Stories. By R. Narvaez. n.p.: Beyond the Page, 2012.

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                                                                        Though mostly known as a mystery writer, Narvaez has written a number of science fiction stories which are included in Roachkiller and Other Stories (2012). The robot story “Rough Night in Toronto,” like many of Narvaez’s stories, is set in a dystopian world and written in a neo-noir style.

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                                                                        • Valdez, Luis. “Los Vendidos.” In Luis Valdez—Early Works: Actos, Bernabé and Pensamiento Serpiento. 40–52. Houston, TX: Arte Publico, 1990.

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                                                                          One-act play first performed in East Los Angeles in 1967. The story associates various stereotypes of Mexicans with different models of robots. In the end, the robots assert their resistance to being co-opted by then governor of California Ronald Reagan and so come together in solidarity.

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                                                                          Cyberpunk and Cyborgs

                                                                          The genre of cyberpunk and the figure of the cyborg (which physically joins the human and the machine) has been of interest to Latino writers both for its focus on inventive technology and for its depictions of the effects of technology on Latinos. Hogan 1992 and Hogan 2001 come squarely out of the cyberpunk tradition of William Gibson and others. Rivera 2014 shows though how Ernest Hogan’s novel High Aztech celebrates the racial mixing that is spurned in the typical cyberpunk novel. The Chicano cyborg of Gómez-Peña 1997 was the subject of Rivera 2010. Cabiya 2014 places the cyborg in the realm of erotica. Morales Boscio 2009 is a book length study of the work of Pedro Cabiya.

                                                                          • Cabiya, Pedro. The Head. New York: Zemi, 2014.

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                                                                            Translation of La Cabeza published in 2011. After a car accident, a woman cut in half is kept alive through technology. The novella focuses on the multiple sexual relationships that the woman and her husband have.

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                                                                            • Gómez-Peña, Guillermo. Friendly Cannibals. San Francisco: Artspace, 1997.

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                                                                              Structured around a series of emails, this narrative imagines a future in which nations are dissolved and in which Spanglish is the dominant language. Consistent with Gómez-Peña’s “reverse anthropology.” Includes art by artist Enrique Chagoya.

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                                                                              • Hogan, Ernest. High Aztech. New York: Tor, 1992.

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                                                                                Set in the chaotic future city Tenochtitlán (Mexico City), the protagonist Xólotl Zapata gets caught in the middle of the religious factions that are tearing the city apart. Xólotl carries a virus that enables religion to be “downloaded” into the brain, making him a very valuable person.

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                                                                                • Hogan, Ernest. Smoking Mirror Blues. La Grande, OR: Wordcraft of Oregon, 2001.

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                                                                                  A novel set in a futuristic Los Angeles in which Beto Orozco downloads an artificial intelligence who then takes on the persona of the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca. A group of locals, along with the Mexican creator of the artificial intelligence, attempt to stop Tezcatlipoca in his attempt to control the population through rock music. In the vein of William Gibson’s Count Zero (1986).

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                                                                                  • Morales Boscio, Cynthia. La incertidumbre del ser. Lo fantástico y lo grotesco en la narrativa de Pedro Cabiya. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Editorial Isla Negra, 2009.

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                                                                                    Full-length study of the work of Puerto Rican author Pedro Cabiya. A scholarly work which gives helpful readings of Cabiya’s zombie novel Malas Hierbas (2011) among others.

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                                                                                    • Rivera, Lysa. “Los Atravesados: Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s Ethno-cyborgs.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 35.1 (Spring 2010): 103–133.

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                                                                                      This essay examines the figure of the “ethno-cyborg” as depicted in the work of Guillermo Gómez-Peña, in particular Temple of Confessions (1994) and Friendly Cannibals (1997). Rivera argues that the “ethno-cyborg” is used to critique both techno-utopianism and the anti-immigrant movement of the 1990s.

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                                                                                      • Rivera, Lysa. “Mestizaje and Heterotopia in Ernest Hogan’s High Aztech.” In Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction. Edited by Isiah Lavender III, 146–162. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014.

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                                                                                        This essay compares Ernest Hogan’s novel High Aztech with the cyberpunk tradition in general, in particular the novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. The author suggests that Hogan’s novel embraces rather than rejects the racial mixing commonly depicted in the typical cyperpunk urban environment.

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                                                                                        Film

                                                                                        The majority of the scholarship on Latinos in science fiction film has focused on the fact that Latinos have been underrepresented and stereotyped. Ramírez Berg 2002 and Nama 2008 examine the depiction of Latinos in mainstream science fiction films. Relative to the history of science fiction, Scott 2007 should be considered the most important science fiction film with a Latino sensibility. The original script of the film was written by a Chicano, Hampton Fancher, who added an important Chicano character who was then played by the most popular Chicano actor at the time, Edward James Olmos. Romero 2001 analyzes the role that Olmos plays in the film. Gómez-Peña 2007 imagines a world in which Chicanos gain control of the United States. Leen 2009 offers an analysis of Gómez-Peña’s film The Great Mojado Invasion. More recently, a number of US Latino filmmakers have entered the mainstream movie industry. Guillermo Del Toro is one director who, though primarily working in fantasy and horror, has created a number of science fiction films. The monster-robot film Pacific Rim stands out as gaining broad attention.

                                                                                        • Del Toro, Guillermo, dir. Pacific Rim. DVD. Burbank, CA: Warner, 2013.

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                                                                                          In this science fiction monster film, Earth is being invaded by an alien race which enters the planet through an interdimensional portal in the Pacific Ocean. The humans create a squad of equally monstrous humanoid robots to fight back.

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                                                                                          • Gómez-Peña, Guillermo, and Gustavo Vazquez, dir. The Great Mojado Invasion (The Second US - Mexico War). DVD. Chicago: Video Data Bank, 2007.

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                                                                                            Contained in a collection of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s performance art pieces, television shows, and films. The Great Mojado Invasion imagines a world in which Chicanos gain control of the United States.

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                                                                                            • Leen, Catherine. “The Final Frontier: Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s The Great Mojado Invasion.” In Imagined Transnationalism: U.S. Latino/a Literature, Culture, and Identity. Edited by Kevin Concannon, Francisco A. Lomelí, and Marc Priewe, 221–235. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

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                                                                                              Working within the framework of transnationalism, this essay examines the range of science fiction themes used by Guillermo Gómez-Peña. In particular, Leen examines the film The Great Mojado Invasion in which Chicanos gain control of the United States.

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                                                                                              • Nama, Adilfu. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                A comprehensive analysis of blacks in science fiction film. In her discussion of the films Aliens (1986) and Men in Black (1997) she observes that Latinos are correlated with space aliens, referencing the Anglo population’s anxieties about immigration.

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                                                                                                • Ramírez Berg, Charles. Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, Resistance. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                  While Ramírez Berg does not directly discuss Latino science fiction, he does dedicate a chapter of this study to mainstream space alien films such as Alien (1979), arguing that these films are a way for society to unconsciously deal with the anxiety it has concerning immigration and Latinos.

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                                                                                                  • Romero, Rolando. “The Postmodern Hybrid: Do Aliens Dream of Alien Sheep?” In The Effects of the Nation: Mexican Art in an Age of Globalization. Edited by Carl Good and John V. Waldron, 196–211. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                    Informed by discussions of race, hybridity, and postmodernism, this essay examines the role of the character “Gaff” played by Edward James Olmos in the film Bladerunner (1982). Romero is critical of the final cut of the film which excised the key last scene that included Gaff. Also critical of the lack of Spanish language use and other Latino characters.

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                                                                                                    • Scott, Ridely, dir. Bladerunner, 1982. DVD. Burbank, CA: Warner, 2007.

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                                                                                                      Classic science fiction film based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) by Philip K. Dick. A Chicano, Hampton Fancher, wrote the original script of the film, and included “Gaff” as a new and important Chicano character who was costumed as a futuristic pachuco.

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                                                                                                      • Thornton, Niamh. “Pacific Rim: Reception, Readings, and Authority.” In The Transnational Fantasies of Guillermo del Toro. Edited by Ann Davies, Deborah Shaw, and Dolores Tierney, 121–142. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

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                                                                                                        Essay contained in a collection of essays on the work of Guillermo del Toro. The author describes del Toro as a “Geek Auteur” who, in creating Pacific Rim, was able to retain his unique artistic vision while producing a mainstream film.

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                                                                                                        Alex Rivera

                                                                                                        Alex Rivera’s 2009 Sleep Dealer (Rivera 2009) is certainly responsible for much of the attention to Latino science fiction and a number of articles have dealt with the film from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Duran 2010 explores the film in context of the historical development of technology and immigration policies. Balachandran and Hageman 2011 give a rich intersectional analysis of the film. Rivera 2012 offers a comparative analysis which points to the colonialism behind the structures of inequality. Gonzalez 2013 focuses the study through an examination of the film’s narrative structures and Goodwin 2014 offers a comparative study, highlighting the various forms of virtual reality.

                                                                                                        • Balachandran, Sharada Orihuela, and Andrew Carl Hageman. “The Virtual Realities of US/Mexico Border Ecologies in Maquilapolis and Sleep Dealer.” Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 5.2 (June 2011): 166–186.

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                                                                                                          A collaborative essay that compares the documentary film Maquilapolis (2006) and the science fiction film Sleep Dealer (2008). The authors perform an intersectional analysis on the films and their production, taking into account issues of labor, ecology, and gender in their study of borderland maquiladoras.

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                                                                                                          • Duran, Javier. “Virtual Borders, Data Aliens, and Bare Bodies: Culture, Securitization, and the Biometric State.” Journal of Borderland Studies 25.3–4 (2010): 219–230.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/08865655.2010.9695783Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            This essay offers a theoretically driven analysis of Alex Rivera’s film Sleep Dealer (2008). Duran explores the growth of virtual borders and the biometric state and shows how the film gives an accurate representation of the current border situation.

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                                                                                                            • Gonzalez, Christopher. “Latino Sci-Fi: Cognition and Narrative Design in Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer.” In Latinos and Narrative Media: Participation and Portrayal. Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, 211–223. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

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                                                                                                              In addition to discussing the relative dearth of Latino science fiction, the essay offers a narratological analysis of Alex Rivera’s film Sleep Dealer (2008). Emphasizes the dehumanization of workers depicted throughout the film.

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                                                                                                              • Goodwin, Matthew. “Virtual Reality at the Border of Migration, Race, and Labor.” In Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction. Edited by Isiah Lavender III, 163–176. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461237.003.0011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                A comparative essay which examines the various uses of virtual reality technology in Alex Rivera’s film Sleep Dealer (2008). Discusses how virtual reality is used to express the experience of migration.

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                                                                                                                • Rivera, Alex, dir. Sleep Dealer, 2008. DVD. Los Angeles: Maya Entertainment, 2009.

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                                                                                                                  In this film, Mexican workers connect to cyberspace through nodes in their bodies. While they remain in Mexico, the cybraceros control robots in the United States to do work. The plot centers on the relationship among two Mexicans (Memo and Luz) and a Mexican American (Rudy).

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                                                                                                                  • Rivera, Lysa. “Future Histories and Cyborg Labor: Reading Borderlands Science Fiction after NAFTA.” Science Fiction Studies 39.3 (November 2012): 415–436.

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                                                                                                                    Examines various works of science fiction set in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands, including Sleep Dealer (2008). The essay emphasizes how the film connects present day labor oppression to past colonial structures.

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                                                                                                                    Robert Rodriguez

                                                                                                                    Rodriguez has been one of the most influential Latino filmmakers, having produced over eighteen films, the majority of which are centered on Latino characters and deal with Latino issues such as immigration, the Latino family, and the Mexico-United States borderland. Aldama 2014 offers an introduction to Rodriguez’s many films. While a number of his films have science fiction elements, Planet Terror stands out as a traditional science fiction zombie film. Garcia 2015 and González 2015 examine Planet Terror in depth. In the Spy Kids (2001–2011) series Rodriguez takes the approach of adding science fiction elements such as genetic modification and virtual reality to these films directed toward children.

                                                                                                                    • Aldama, Frederick Luis. The Cinema of Robert Rodriguez. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                      A full-length study with analysis of each of Rodriguez’s films, including his science fiction films such as Planet Terror (2007), The Faculty (1998) (for which he was only the producer), and the Spy Kids series (2001–2011). Also contains an interview with Rodriguez.

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                                                                                                                      • Garcia, Enrique. “Planet Terror Redux: Miscegenation and Family Apocalypse.” In Critical Approaches to the Films of Robert Rodriguez. Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, 141–156. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.

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                                                                                                                        This essay compares the role of the family in Rodriguez’s film Planet Terror (2007) and two other important zombie films, Night of the Living Dead (1968) and 28 Days Later (2002). The author shows how Planet Terror displays progressive configurations of race, gender, and sexuality.

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                                                                                                                        • González, Christopher. “Intertextploitation and Post-Post-Latinidad in Planet Terror.” In Critical Approaches to the Films of Robert Rodriguez. Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, 121–139. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.

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                                                                                                                          An essay on Rodriguez’s zombie film Planet Terror (2007) which highlights the intertextuality of the film. The author gives particular attention to the final scene of the film which involves the migration of the survivors from Texas to Mexico and reads it as a statement about Mexican immigration to the United States.

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                                                                                                                          • Rodriguez, Robert, dir. Spy Kids. DVD. Miramax, 2001–2011.

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                                                                                                                            Following in the footsteps of their extended Latino family, Carmen and Juni Cortez take up the profession of being a spy. The four films (fourth film was produced by the Weinstein Company) involve key science fiction elements involving high-tech gadgetry, genetic modification, and virtual reality, among others.

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                                                                                                                            • Rodriguez, Robert, dir. Planet Terror. DVD. New York: Weinstein, 2007.

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                                                                                                                              Zombie film with the style and form of a B-movie zombie flick. The outbreak of the zombie plague is caused by a biochemical agent that had been used against soldiers in Afghanistan.

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                                                                                                                              Television

                                                                                                                              As with film, much of the scholarship on Latinos in television has been critical of the portrayal of Latinos in science fiction television. Bernardi 1997 is an early essay on the topic that examines a Latino character on the original Star Trek series. Saldivar 2013 gives a close reading of the Latino characters in two short series, Caprica and The Event. Meanwhile, Gómez-Peña 2007 uses television to broadcast a performance art piece that is critical of the depiction of Latinos in media. Foster 2002 offers a comprehensive analysis of “Naftaztec: Pirate Cyber-TV for A.D. 2000.” One recent, yet short-lived show, Nestor Marquez 2014 focuses on the adventures of a Latina high school student who was implanted with a computer chip.

                                                                                                                              • Bernardi, Daniel. “‘Star Trek’ in the 1960s: Liberal-Humanism and the Production of Race.” Science Fiction Studies 24.2 (July 1997): 209–225.

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                                                                                                                                Critiques the racism that accompanied the humanist project of the original Star Trek series (1966–1969). Bernardi notes that the briefly appearing character Jóse Tyler, who was half Anglo and half Brazilian, was represented as a stereotypical Latin lover, with his “Latin” side causing him to be volatile and prone to easy romantic relationships.

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                                                                                                                                • Foster, Thomas. “Cyber-Aztecs and Cholo-Punks: Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s Five-Worlds Theory.” PMLA 117.1 (2002): 43–67.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1632/003081202X63500Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Special Topic: Mobile Citizens, Media States. Foster analyzes Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s writings and performances related to cyberspace and virtual reality, in particular New World Borders (2001) and the live television performance “Naftaztec: Pirate Cyber-TV for A.D. 2000.” He emphasizes that Gómez-Peña has worked consistently to show that new technologies do not dispose of issues of race and ethnicity.

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                                                                                                                                  • Gómez-Peña, Guillermo, dir. “El Naftazteca: Cyber-Aztec TV for 2000 A.D.” DVD. Border Art Clásicos (1990–2005): An Anthology of Collaborative Video Works. Chicago: Video Data Bank, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                    Contained in a collection of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s performance art pieces, television shows, and films. “Naftaztec: Pirate Cyber-TV for A.D. 2000” is a recording of a live television program involving Gómez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes.

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                                                                                                                                    • Goodwin, Matthew. “Virtual Reality at the Border of Migration, Race, and Labor.” In Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction. Edited by Isiah Lavender III, 163–176. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461237.003.0011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      A comparative essay which examines the various uses of virtual reality technology in Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s live TV broadcast “Naftaztec: Pirate Cyber-TV for A.D. 2000.” Explores how the performance emphasizes the possibility of a Chicano controlled media.

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                                                                                                                                      • Nestor Marquez, Jose, dir. ISA. Syfy Channel, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                        Made for television movie involving Isa Reyes, a high school student who, after a car accident, discovers that she has a computer chip in her brain that is connected to a laboratory in Mexico.

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                                                                                                                                        • Saldivar, Samuel. “Dirty, Stinking, Aliens: Latinos in Today’s Sci-Fi Televisual Blueprints.” In Latinos and Narrative Media: Participation and Portrayal. Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, 161–172. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                          The essay explores the language and physical characteristics of Latino characters in two television shows: Caprica (2010–2011) and The Event (2010–2011). The author finds that the shows did not meaningfully depart from stereotypical depictions of Latinos.

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                                                                                                                                          Comics

                                                                                                                                          Latino comic artists have often included science fiction alongside the mythology and fantasy common to the comic tradition. Aldama 2012 is a comprehensive yet accessible study to the field of Latino comics. While there has been little scholarship on the topic of science fiction in Latino comics, Aldama 2013 makes note of the key science fiction Latino comics. Espinosa and Taylor 2006–2007 is a much lauded adventure tale set after a global apocalypse. Many of the comics of Los Bros Hernandez (Jaime, Gilbert, and Mario) are science fiction or contain science fiction elements. Of particular importance are Hernandez and Hernandez 1984, Hernandez 2007, and Los Bros Hernandez 2008. Alcaraz 2004 makes particular use of the political potential of science fiction.

                                                                                                                                          • Alcaraz, Lalo. Migra Mouse: Political Cartoons on Immigration. New York: RDV/Akashic, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                            Many of Alcaraz’s political cartoons feature space aliens, some of which are taken directly from science fiction films, such as E.T. and Star Trek. A number of his works are drawn in the form of mock movie posters such as “Estar Wars” which is anthologized in the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2010).

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                                                                                                                                            • Aldama, Frederick Luis. Your Brain on Latino Comics: From Gus Arriola to Los Bros Hernandez. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                              Comprehensive examination of both mainstream and underground Latino comics. In addition to detailed analysis of superheroes such as Blue Beetle and the work of Los Bros. Hernandez, this study includes extensive interviews with numerous Latino comic artists.

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                                                                                                                                              • Aldama, Frederick Luis. “Comics.” In The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature. Edited by Suzanne Bostand and Frances R. Aparicio, 361–374. London: Routledge, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                General introduction to the field and its history. Contains a list of the various genres that comics make use of, including science fiction.

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                                                                                                                                                • Espinosa, Frank, and Marie Taylor. Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea. Vols. 1–2. Berkeley, CA: Image Comics, 2006–2007.

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                                                                                                                                                  Two thousand years into the future, after the Earth has been nearly destroyed, the story tells of the adventures of Rocketo Garrison, one of the few explorers and “mappers” left.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Hernandez, Jaime. Maggie the Mechanic: A Love and Rockets Book. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                    Collection containing some of the earliest science fiction comics of Jaime Hernandez. Includes the “Mechanics” series involving the high-tech Prosolar Mechanics.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Hernandez, Los Bros. Amor y Cohetes: A Love and Rockets Book. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                      Collection of short series comics of Los Bros Hernandez, many of which are science fiction. Includes the monster story “BEM” and a series involving Rocky and her robot Fumble.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Hernandez, Jaime, and Gilbert Hernandez. Mister X. Issues 1–4. Toronto: Vortex Comics, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                                        Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez penned a handful of the iconic Mister X comic series. In the Bauhaus inspired “Radiant City,” Mister X, one of the city’s architects, works tirelessly to save the city from madness.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Hernandez, Mario, and Gilbert Hernandez. Citizen Rex. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                          Blogger Sergio Bautin and his robot assistant Hazel search for the elusive and powerful robot “Citizen Rex” (CTZ-RX-1). This is a conspiracy driven narrative involving environmental contamination in Mexico.

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                                                                                                                                                          Science Fiction as Metaphor

                                                                                                                                                          Science fiction is not simply a genre, but a set of images, ideas, and metaphors which can be extracted and used in other contexts. This is especially important when those very metaphors have been used to make migrants and colonial subjects into monstrous threats. Ramírez 2002 takes up Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza in comparison to the work of Octavia Butler. Anzaldúa 1987, while not itself science fiction, does employ the concept of the “alien” in her description of the coming mestiza consciousness. Díaz 2007 is a powerful example of the use of science fiction metaphor. The critical work on Junot Díaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao has grown exponentially since its release in 2007. Hanna 2010 and Miller 2011 are two essays that have focused in particular on the science fiction elements of the novel. A variety of interviews of Díaz are available online, but Adams and Kirtley 2012 focuses in particular on his use of science fiction.

                                                                                                                                                          • Adams, John Joseph, and David Barr Kirtley. Junot Díaz Aims to Fulfill His Dream of Publishing Sci-Fi Novel With Monstro. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy: Episode 70 Junot Díaz (3 October 2012).

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                                                                                                                                                            An audio interview with Junot Díaz which also includes a transcription. While there are many interviews of Junot Díaz available, this one deals specifically with his relationship to science fiction as a reader, writer, and teacher. Also discusses his short story “Monstro” which was published in The New Yorker.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                              Anzaldúa’s groundbreaking work on borderland culture describes the coming mestiza consciousness as an “alien” consciousness. The space alien also appears in her poem “Interface.”

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                                                                                                                                                              • Díaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. New York: Riverhead, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                The story of Oscar de Leon, a diehard science fiction and fantasy fan who struggles to fit into society. Much of the novel describes the difficulties his family faced on account of the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and his mother’s eventual immigration to the United States. Amid much praise, Díaz won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel in 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Hanna, Monica. “‘Reassembling the Fragments’: Battling Historiographies, Caribbean Discourse, and Nerd Genres in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” Callaloo 33.2 (2010): 498–520.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1353/cal.0.0661Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  This essay on Díaz’s novel argues that the narrator Yunior offers an alternate history of the Dominican Republic. Hanna discusses the role of magical realism in the novel and its relationship to fantasy and science fiction, emphasizing that these narrative forms can have a critical function.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Miller, T. S. “Preternatural Narration and the Lens of Genre Fiction in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” Science Fiction Studies 38.1 (March 2011): 92–114.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.5621/sciefictstud.38.1.0092Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Miller focuses on the character of Yunior and his use of science fiction metaphors. The essay gives a close reading of Yunior’s relationship to science fiction, describing “two Yuniors” (the closet nerd and the card-carrying nerd).

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Ramírez, Catherine S. “Cyborg Feminism: The Science Fiction of Octavia E. Butler and Gloria Anzaldua.” In Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture. Edited by Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth, 374–402. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                      This essay compares Octavia Butler’s novels Wild Seed (1980) and Parable of the Sower (1993) with Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987). Ramírez emphasizes that the two writers both value the possibility of holding multiple subject positions and the importance of blurring the subject/object.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Latin American Science Fiction

                                                                                                                                                                      Science fiction from Latin America, as opposed to science fiction written by US Latinos, has a long and deep tradition going back at least to the 18th century. Lockhart 2004 is an indispensable sourcebook of information about Latin American science fiction writers, primarily from Argentina, Cuba, and Mexico. Stavans 1994, an early essay on the topic, analyzes the roots of science fiction and detective fiction in Latin America, and looks closely at Reinaldo Arenas’s dystopian novel The Assault. Trujillo Muñoz 1999 is an overview of the history of science fiction in Mexico in particular. Dziubinskyj 2003 examines an 18th-century story from the Yucatán Peninsula. As Ginway 2005 shows, the influence on Latin American science fiction from the United States and Europe is strong, but there are internal influences as well both in terms of notions about technology and in terms of distinct national literary traditions. Bell 1999 observes the high degree of political commentary in Latin American science fiction and the prevalence of “soft” science fiction, while Haywood Ferreira 2011 additionally argues that the 19th century is an exception to this trend, being composed primarily of “hard” science fiction.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Bell, Andrea. “Science Fiction in Latin America: Reawakenings.” Science Fiction Studies 26.3 (November 1999): 441–446.

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                                                                                                                                                                        This essay includes a brief history of the tradition from the 18th century, through the “Golden Age” of the 1960s, to the mid-1970s, and into the contemporary period. Bell also outlines some of the basic characteristics and trends of this latter period and gives attention to the role of the Internet.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Dziubinskyj, Aaron. “The Birth of Science Fiction in Spanish America.” Science Fiction Studies 30.1 (2003): 21–32.

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                                                                                                                                                                          An essay that gives a close reading of a short tale by Franciscan friar Manuel Antonio de Rivas about a Frenchman who travels to the moon. The essay argues that Rivas, who lived in the Spanish town of Mérida in the Yucatán Peninsula, meant to reproach his own culture’s disdain for science by contrasting it with the enlightened perspective of the inhabitants of the moon.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Ginway, M. Elizabeth. “A Working Model for Analyzing Third World Science Fiction: The Case of Brazil.” Science Fiction Studies 32.3 (2005): 467–494.

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                                                                                                                                                                            This essay proposes that scholars use the concept of “cultural myths” as a way to begin understanding global science fiction. The essay also serves as an overview of Brazilian science fiction from the 1960s, during which time the cultural myths were primarily supported, to the 1980s and further during which time cultural myths have been increasingly contested.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Ginway, M. Elizabeth, and J. Andrew Brown, eds. Latin American Science Fiction: Theory and Practice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                              A collection of critical essays about specific works of Latin American science fiction. The introduction contains a studied overview of the history of criticism of the field.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Haywood Ferreira, Rachel. The Emergence of Latin American Science Fiction. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                A solid reading of a number of works of 19th-century Latin American science fiction. The book often gives attention to the important role of science in Latin America. Also contains a short bibliography of key works, focused primarily on Argentina and Mexico.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Lockhart, Darrell B., ed. Latin American Science Fiction Writers: An A-to-Z Guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  A sourcebook of information about Latin American science fiction writers, including biographical information, key works, and criticism. Primarily contains information about writers from Argentina, Cuba, and Mexico. A bibliography of anthologies and literary criticism which is organized by nation is also included.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stavans, Ilan. “Introduction: Private Eyes and Time Travelers.” Literary Review 38 (1994): 5–20.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    An introduction to a special issue of Literary Review on the topic of Latin American detective fiction and science fiction. Stavans’s seminal essay offers an overview of the state of both genres in Latin America and gives a critical reading of select works such as Reinaldo Arenas’s dystopian novel The Assault (1990).

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Trujillo Muñoz, Gabriel. Los Confines: Crónica De La Ciencia Ficción Mexicana. Mexico City: Grupo Editorial Vid, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      An overview of the history of science fiction in Mexico from its beginnings to contemporary times. An invaluable resource in Spanish both for its wealth of information and for its theoretical approach.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      English Translations

                                                                                                                                                                                      This segment highlights science fiction works from Latin America which have had the greatest impact on the United States through English translations. While each Latin American nation has something of a science fiction tradition, it is Mexico, Argentina, and Cuba that have been the most prolific. Bell and Molina-Gavilán 2003 stands as an important introduction to science fiction from Mexico, Argentina, and Cuba. Argentina’s Jorge Luis Borges looms large in the Latin American science fiction tradition, and while he wrote in many genres, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” (Borges 1998a) and “A Weary Man’s Utopia” (Borges 1998b) are two examples of works that contain science fiction elements. In addition, his introduction to Adolfo Bioy Casares’ science fiction novel Bioy Casares 2003 is seen as a classic statement of the significance of genre fiction. Angélica Gorodischer’s fantasy novel Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was (1983), translated by Ursula K. LeGuin, has gained much notoriety and paved the way for the translation of Gorodischer 2013, her outer-space themed novel. In Mexico, Fuentes 2005 and Esquivel 1996 stand as two science fiction novels produced by internationally acclaimed writers. And in Cuba, it has been De Rojas 2014 and Yoss 2014 that have gained wide interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bell, Andrea L., and Yolanda Molina-Gavilán, eds. and trans. Cosmos Latinos: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America and Spain. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A landmark anthology of Latin American and Spanish science fiction which also contains an introductory overview of the history of the field. The collection is organized chronologically and each story is preceded by information about the author and how he or she fits into the history of Latin American and Spanish science fiction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bioy Casares, Adoflo. The Invention of Morel. Translated by Ruth L. C. Simms. Prologue by Jorge Luis Borges. New York: New York Review Books, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          English translation of La Invención de Morel, first published in Argentina is 1940. After a man seeks refuge on an island, he discovers that there is a sort of virtual reality device in operation. In his defense of adventure stories in the prologue, Borges describes the novella as a work of “reasoned imagination.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Borges, Jorge Luis. “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” In Collected Fictions: Jorge Luis Borges. Translated by Andrew Hurley. New York: Viking, 1998a.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            This short story was first published in 1944 in Ficciones (Fictions). The story describes the narrator’s scientific attempt to understand the existence and nature of the fabled world of Tlön.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Borges, Jorge Luis. “A Weary Man’s Utopia.” In Collected Fictions: Jorge Luis Borges. Translated by Andrew Hurley. New York: Viking, 1998b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              A short story first published in 1975 in El Libro de Arena (The Book of Sand). A man travels thousands of years into the future where he encounters a utopian world in which there are no governments, no cities, and where each person must be radically independent.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • De Rojas, Agustín. A Legend of the Future. Translated by Nick Caistor. New York: Restless, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                This novel, considered a classic of Cuban science fiction and part of a trilogy Agustín de Rojas wrote that also features El año 200 (1992) and Espiral (1982), was originally published as Una leyenda del futuro in 1985. The story is set in a damaged spaceship following the failure of a mission to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Esquivel, Laura. The Law of Love. Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden. New York: Crown, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  First published in 1995 as La Ley del Amor. A new age science fiction novel set in a future Mexico where the ability to change bodies and space travel are possible. The protagonist, Azucena, uses these technologies on her adventure to find her true love. The book integrates illustrations and a music CD into the plot.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fuentes, Carlos. Cristopher Unborn. Translated by Alfred MacAdam and Carlos Fuentes. London: Dalkey Archive, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Translation of Cristóbal Nonato published in 1987. A postmodern dystopian novel narrated by Christopher Palomar, the first person born on the five-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s arrival to America. The novel is a raucous satire on the political, climactic, and economic disasters of modern Mexico.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Gorodischer, Angelica. Trafalgar. Translated by Amalia Gladhart. Easthampton, MA: Small Beer, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Translation of Trafalgar published in 1979. This episodic novel is centered on the adventures that Trafalgar, a space merchant, has in outer space. Each new planet he visits poses a unique challenge, either because it functions under different laws of physics or because its people have a radically different culture. In its foregrounding of the art of storytelling, it parallels Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was (1983).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Yoss (José Miguel Sánchez Gómez). A Planet for Rent. Translated by David Frye. New York: Restless, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        A novel originally published as Se alquila un planeta in 2001. A near future Earth is rescued, for better or worse, by alien invaders, who remake the planet as a tourist destination. Yoss is considered a leading figure of Cuban science fiction.

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