How writers and artists use science fiction to speak to the current moment in the Caribbean
“A necessary, groundbreaking book. A comprehensive map of contemporary science fiction in the Spanish Caribbean.”—Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, author of Utopía, distopía e ingravidez: reconfiguraciones cosmológicas en la narrativa postsoviética cubana
“Maguire’s pioneering book makes a valuable contribution to the study of Caribbean science fiction in literature, film, and video production.”—M. Elizabeth Ginway, coeditor of Latin American Science Fiction: Theory and Practice
Exploring the remarkable recent increase in works of science fiction originating from Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean and their diasporas, Tropical Time Machines shows how writers, filmmakers, musicians, and artists are using the language of the genre to comment on the region’s history and present-day realities.
Discussing how previous Caribbean literature and film has characterized places including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic as “out of sync” with Western time, occupying a repeating or static space, Emily Maguire argues that science fiction breaks these cycles and resituates the region temporally and spatially. In chapters on cyberpunk, zombies, post-apocalyptic narratives, and the ab-real, Maguire shows how recent cultural production analyzes and critiques the ways globalization and national leadership have reinforced the region’s marginalization amid economic and climate crises.
Art that employs the science fictional mode makes room for a new vision of the Caribbean, Maguire demonstrates—an alternate perspective in which the region has agency in shaping its own narratives and trajectories. The texts themselves are time machines, enabling creators to protest inequalities of the present from the point of view of an imagined, transformed future.
Emily A. Maguire is associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography and coeditor of Posthumanism and Latin(x) American Science Fiction.
A volume in the series Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America, edited by Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste and Juan Carlos Rodríguez
Publication of this work made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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