Is There Room In Heaven For Spanish Science Fiction?

Since I published Extrapolación 2029 three years ago, I’ve been seriously wondering why Spanish Science Fiction is a marginal genre, if there is a relationship with the accredited incapability for innovation of the country, and if there is a remote possibility of change in the not so distant future. Here you may find some preliminary thoughts (in Spanish).

Then, I have decided to frame my concern as an spiritual quest: Is there a place in Literature’s Heaven for a Spanish Science Fiction work?

Literature’s Heaven is a small and disputed stronghold of collective memory that accommodates a limited number of works of literature written throughout history by authors from anywhere in the world. It is not a closed or perfectly defined space, it does not have a universally recognized guardian. Those works are in permanent dispute and change over time. Reaching that place is not a simple or unequivocal mission, and very likely, even in the case of successful achievement, there will be no immediate confirmation.

That’s the reason I have been looking for a more manageable proxy, and as a first step I have decided to start with Metaculus, an online prediction and aggregation engine, with an initial question I will be promoting: Will a Science Fiction work originally written and published in Spanish by 2029 win any of the great international awards that recognize great authors of this genre?

Spanish Science Fiction has only a token presence internationally. In spite of pioneering works such as El Anacronopete, the first story involving a time machine, and prestigious authors like Miguel de Unamuno, Leopoldo Alas Clarin or Pedro Salinas writing SF stories, Spain has failed to impress the international readership with a universally embraced SF classic. Most writers and titles seem to be invisible not only to foreign readers and spectators, but also to their local peers, to the extent of being considered a “phantom genre.”

The Spanish-speaking public, however, enjoys science fiction like the rest of the world. Spanish literature does not lack imagination, and indeed has produced cultural phenomena such as magical realism during the Latin American Boom. Rapid technological development has made science fiction increasingly familiar, not only a resource for entertainment, but also a valuable tool in marketing or future studies. And numerous Spanish authors keep trying.

Resolution will be positive if a short story, novelette, novella or novel originally written in Spanish and published by the end of 2029, in any medium, is granted one of the following awards: Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, Theodore Sturgeon or Arthur C. Clarke, before the end of the year 2030.

To the best of my knowledge, with the exception of Hugo’s, these prizes currently require a previous translation into English. The answer will be positive if and only if the work was originally written and published in Spanish.

The question will be open for anyone who wants to share his or her view on the matter until Dec. 2021. If will be fun to put a (probability) figure on our collective faith!

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