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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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3 Between Moscow and Santa Clara: The Soviet-Cuban Imaginary in Agustín de Rojas’ Espiral (1980) (Antonio Cordoba)

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ANTONIO CORDOBA

3 Between Moscow and Santa Clara: The Soviet-Cuban Imaginary in Agustín de Rojas’ Espiral (1980)

The relationship between Soviet science fiction (SF) and Cuban author Agustín de Rojas (1949–2011), one of the most prominent Latin American SF writers, offers a particularly productive site for the analysis of the tensions surrounding the concept of socialist internationalism. As Patryk Babiracki and Austin Jersild explain, from its very beginning “the term ‘internationalism’ was unstable and therefore amenable to transformations within the increasingly complex international workers’ movement” (4). With the arrival of the so-called “Thaw” after Stalin’s death in 1953, Stalinist national Bolshevism was replaced by the strategic openness of the Khruschevian political and cultural program, with its emphasis on “the friendship of the peoples.” This new political climate brought dramatic changes to Soviet material and conceptual approaches to the idea of socialist internationalism. If, at first, it was a call to arms for a world struggle against capitalism, and under Stalin the term came to mean Soviet dominance, now in the post-Stalin era socialist internationalism evolved into “a condition, a state, a situation, which included diverse forms of international entanglements” (Babiracki and Jersild 5). Emphasis was placed on transnational exchange, interconnectedness, shared experiences, and circulation (2). In a way that is particularly relevant to the topic of this essay, this openness and renewed confidence in Soviet modernity and its ability to influence others by promising access to the future shaped the...

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