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Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East

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Edited By Anindita Banerjee and Sonja Fritzsche

The first collection of its kind, this anthology documents a radically different geography and history of science fiction in the world. Western, specifically Anglo-American, SF is not the only hub of the global trade of alternative realities and futures. Rather it is but only one of several competing flows and circuits of distribution, contacts, influence, translation, adaptation, and collaboration, across space and time. The essays collected here focus on arguably the biggest and most influential of those competing hubs: the socialist world and its extensive cultural networks across the global South and East. Written by scholars from around the world, the chapters address the «other» transatlantic of the Caribbean, Latin America, African America, and the Soviet Union; the surprising multitude of transnational networks behind the Iron Curtain; and asymptotic and subterranean discourses across Russia, India, and China. Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East is intended for scholars, students, and fans interested in science fiction, popular culture, comparative literature, film studies, postcolonialism, techno-science, translation studies, and the literature and cultures of China, Cuba, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, and Russia.

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2 Eugenia: Engineering New Citizens in Mexico’s Laboratory of Socialism (Miguel García)

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MIGUEL GARCíA

2 Eugenia: Engineering New Citizens in Mexico’s Laboratory of Socialism

Introduction: Mexican Science Fiction

Mexican science fiction (SF) output is among the most prolific in Latin America, as noted scholars have pointed out (Lockhart xv; Molina-Gavilán et al. 372–4; Trujillo 257–60). Influenced by Thomas More, Edgar Allen Poe, Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and others, many Mexican authors have inquired into the social impact of scientific discoveries and technological innovations. Among them, modernist poet Amado Nervo’s short story, “La última guerra” (“The Last War”; 1906), extrapolates the premises of evolutionary theory 3,000 years into the future to imagine a post-apocalyptic world ruled by animals. Written during the last years of Porfirio Díaz’s long dictatorship, Nervo’s text associates biological evolution with cultural and political revolution, not unlike H. G. Wells’ 1895 novel, The Time Machine. The connection between biology and revolution Nervo explores is later nuanced in Eduardo Urzaiz’s 1919 novel, Eugenia: A Fictional Sketch of Future Customs. As the title implies, Urzaiz’s text delves into the practice of eugenics in its depiction of a post-national, utopian society of the year 2218 that has been orchestrated by the State, whose Institute of Eugenics designates “Official Breeders” and sterilizes those deemed mentally or physically unfit to reproduce.

Eugenics, or the idea that the human “stock” could and should be improved by encouraging the reproduction of the fittest, emerged in...

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