November, 2020

The last couple of years have brought Anglo¬≠phone read¬≠ers sev¬≠eral new pub¬≠lic¬≠a¬≠tions that fea¬≠ture spec¬≠u¬≠lat¬≠ive fic¬≠tion in trans¬≠la¬≠tion (SFT) ‚ÄĒ a trend we hope con¬≠tin¬≠ues. In Fu¬≠ture Sci¬≠ence Fic¬≠tion Di¬≠gest, Sam¬≠o¬≠var, Con¬≠stela¬≠ci√≥n, and now Eita!, we can read sci¬≠ence fic¬≠tion, fantasy, hor¬≠ror, ma¬≠gical real¬≠ism, weird, and more from cul¬≠tures and lan¬≠guage tra¬≠di¬≠tions not our own, which in turn ex¬≠pands our ima¬≠gin¬≠at¬≠ive ho¬≠ri¬≠zons and en¬≠riches the genre.

Eita!, in par¬≠tic¬≠u¬≠lar, of¬≠fers us some¬≠thing we‚Äôve had too little of for too long: SF in trans¬≠la¬≠tion from Brazil. Launched dur¬≠ing the re¬≠cent in¬≠aug¬≠ural Fu¬≠ture¬≠Con, this magazine aims, in its own words, ‚Äúto be¬≠come a bridge to re¬≠lease na¬≠tional au¬≠thors to the in¬≠ter¬≠na¬≠tional lit¬≠er¬≠ary mar¬≠ket, en¬≠cour¬≠aging con¬≠sump¬≠tion of Brazilian genre lit¬≠er¬≠at¬≠ure by an over¬≠seas audi¬≠ence.‚ÄĚ Ac¬≠cord¬≠ing to the web¬≠site‚Äôs sub¬≠mis¬≠sions data (beau¬≠ti¬≠fully il¬≠lus¬≠trated by artist Raphael An¬≠drade), the magazine has already re¬≠ceived stor¬≠ies from a vari¬≠ety of sub¬≠genres: al¬≠tern¬≠ate his¬≠tory, weird, hor¬≠ror, fantasy, and sci¬≠ence fic¬≠tion, sent from all over Brazil.

Ac­cord­ing to one fea­ture on Brazilian sci­ence fic­tion and fantasy pub­lished on this year, the genre has faced a hard road in Brazil, with only a few pub­lish­ers spe­cial­iz­ing in these kinds of stor­ies and lar­ger pub­lish­ers pro­mot­ing mostly for­eign fic­tion.[1] Fur­ther­more, spec­u­lat­ive fic­tion is still seen as a lesser genre by many pub­lish­ers, re­gard­less of the fact that more and more au­thors are writ­ing and win­ning awards for it.

Des­pite these pit­falls, a good amount of Brazilian spec­u­lat­ive fic­tion has traveled bey­ond the na­tion’s bor­ders, reach­ing the Anglo­phone world and open­ing up read­ers’ eyes to a rich tra­di­tion of which they weren’t pre­vi­ously aware.

Sev­eral works of Brazilian SF ap­peared in Eng­lish in the 1980s, namely Stella Carr Riberio’s pre­his­tory nar­rat­ive San­ba­qui and Moacyr Scliar’s nov­els The Cen­taur in the Garden (trans­lated by Neves), The One-Man Army, The Gods of Raquel, The Strange Na­tion of Ra­fael Mendes, and the col­lec­tion The Bal­lad of the False Mes­siah (all tr. Gi­ac­omelli). Fo­cus­ing on the real­ity of the Jew­ish di­a­spora in Brazil, Scliar’s books and stor­ies re­flect, through a unique blend of ma­gical real­ism and Jew­ish hu­mor, the double-iden­tity of Jews main­tain­ing re­li­gious tra­di­tions in their homes and par­ti­cip­at­ing in the wider Brazilian cul­ture. The Cen­taur in the Garden, in par­tic­u­lar, fea­tures a cen­taur born to Rus­sian par­ents and raised Jew­ish in Brazil who must find his iden­tity among the mul­tiple paths avail­able to him.

Also trans¬≠lated in the 1980s was Ig¬≠n√°¬≠cio de Loy¬≠ola Brand√£o‚Äôs Zero and And Still the Earth (both tr. Wat¬≠son), both dysto¬≠pian nov¬≠els fea¬≠tur¬≠ing prot¬≠ag¬≠on¬≠ists who must nav¬≠ig¬≠ate life un¬≠der the thumbs of op¬≠press¬≠ive re¬≠gimes and wide¬≠spread cor¬≠rup¬≠tion. Brazilian SF au¬≠thor An¬≠dre Carneiro‚Äôs ‚ÄúA Per¬≠fect Mar¬≠riage‚ÄĚ (tr. Ran¬≠dolph) about a doomed com¬≠puter-ar¬≠ranged mar¬≠riage, was in¬≠cluded in The Pen¬≠guin World Om¬≠ni¬≠bus of Sci¬≠ence Fic¬≠tion in 1986.

But what have Anglo¬≠phone read¬≠ers had ac¬≠cess to from Brazil re¬≠cently? Just two years ago, Ger¬≠son Lodi-Ribeiro ed¬≠ited and Fa¬≠bio Fernandes trans¬≠lated the stor¬≠ies in Sol¬≠arpunk: Eco¬≠lo¬≠gical and Fant¬≠ast¬≠ical Stor¬≠ies in a Sus¬≠tain¬≠able World (World Weaver Press). A mix of spec¬≠u¬≠lat¬≠ive fic¬≠tion from Brazil and Por¬≠tugal, this an¬≠tho¬≠logy ex¬≠plored what it might mean for hu¬≠mans to live truly sus¬≠tain¬≠able lives. Cel¬≠eb¬≠rat¬≠ing the be¬≠ne¬≠fits and un¬≠flinch¬≠ingly de¬≠tail¬≠ing the down¬≠sides of this scen¬≠ario ‚ÄĒ au¬≠thors such as Ant¬≠o¬≠nio Luiz M. C. Costa, Lodi-Ribeiro, Roberta Spind¬≠ler, and oth¬≠ers¬† ‚ÄĒ ima¬≠gine, among other things, hu¬≠mans us¬≠ing the sun as a form of photonu¬≠tri¬≠tion, cor¬≠por¬≠a¬≠tions ex¬≠ploit¬≠ing the pub¬≠lic with the prom¬≠ise of sus¬≠tain¬≠able tech¬≠no¬≠lo¬≠gies, and the syn¬≠thesis of hu¬≠mans and plants.

Fernandes (au¬≠thor, ed¬≠itor, and Por¬≠tuguese-to-Eng¬≠lish trans¬≠lator) and Lodi-Ribeiro (au¬≠thor ad an¬≠tho¬≠lo¬≠gist) have them¬≠selves found audi¬≠ences in the Anglo¬≠phone world, with Fernandes‚Äôs Love: An Ar¬≠chae¬≠ology com¬≠ing out next year from Luna Press Pub¬≠lish¬≠ing and Lodi-Ribeiro pla¬≠cing stor¬≠ies in Inter Nova and Words Without Bor¬≠ders. Love: An Ar¬≠chae¬≠ology, Fernandes‚Äôs first col¬≠lec¬≠tion in Eng¬≠lish, fea¬≠tures stor¬≠ies that range the gamut of spec¬≠u¬≠lat¬≠ive fic¬≠tion, but all fo¬≠cus on ‚Äúlove and its mal¬≠con¬≠tents.‚ÄĚ This an¬≠tho¬≠logy prom¬≠ises to be an ex¬≠cit¬≠ing ad¬≠di¬≠tion to SFT from Brazil.

Other re¬≠cent short works of SFT from Brazil come to us thanks to au¬≠thor and trans¬≠lator Chris¬≠topher Kastens¬≠midt. His trans¬≠la¬≠tions of Bron¬≠tops Baruq Bron¬≠tops, Cam¬≠ila Fernandes, and Fla¬≠vio Medeiros have ap¬≠peared in In¬≠ter¬≠galactic Medi¬≠cine Show, while his trans¬≠la¬≠tion of Cir¬≠ilo Lemos‚Äôs ‚ÄúAct of Ex¬≠term¬≠in¬≠a¬≠tion‚ÄĚ (a mix of as¬≠sas¬≠sins, tele¬≠pathy, diesel mechs, and more set in an al¬≠tern¬≠ate early-20th-cen¬≠tury Brazil), ap¬≠peared in The Mam¬≠moth Book of Dies¬≠elpunk (2015).

Most re¬≠cently, Words Without Bor¬≠ders and Sam¬≠o¬≠var Magazine have fea¬≠tured Brazilian SFT by Luiz Car¬≠los Lis¬≠boa, Mario Sabino, and H. Pueyo. Both Lis¬≠boa and Sabino, trans¬≠lated by Clif¬≠ford E. Landers, ex¬≠plore death and the un¬≠canny, while in ‚ÄúSali¬≠gia,‚ÄĚ Pueyo ima¬≠gines the gen¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tional fall-out from the trans¬≠gres¬≠sions of an up¬≠per-class fam¬≠ily (plus were¬≠wolves!).

These texts have given us just a taste of what to look for­ward to when it comes to Brazilian SFT, and Eita! will bring us a wealth of new, ima­gin­at­ive ma­ter­ial. So let’s cel­eb­rate the birth of this new magazine and sup­port it in its truly laud­able en­deavor.

Rachel Cor­dasco