¿Como se dice "space ship"?
October 13, 2013 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I am re-re-re-embarking on my periodic quest to actually develop competent Spanish skills. (I'm Hispanic, it feels obligatory.) Something I've never had previously--books I actually wanted to read for fun that were not translated from English. So: Are there Spanish-language authors to look for who're writing science fiction and fantasy? Especially of the YA variety?

I'm especially interested in books, but would award bonus points for comic books, graphic novels, video games and movies. (I already know about Guillermo del Toro, yes.) Availability in a Kindle-compatible ebook format is a plus. Hell, in a pinch I'll take decent fanfic writers if anybody knows of any, just not interested in direct translations because I already have a lot of those.

I have just not been able to get myself to take this seriously for the purposes of reading Gabriel Garcia Márquez. It's not that I don't totally value other literature, but this is the sort of stuff I read for fun and I thought I might as well try to embrace that.
posted by Sequence to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Jorge Luis Borge
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:15 AM on October 13, 2013

See previously on the Blue.
posted by limeonaire at 10:16 AM on October 13, 2013

I would be shocked if there wasn't a Spanish translation of Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao.

Yup. You can even get it for Kindle.
posted by Sara C. at 10:32 AM on October 13, 2013

For comics, Breccia is the best SF *ever*. El Eternauta is a masterwork.

Otherwise, there aren't that many adult SF writers here because magic realism ate the genre, and the reference publisher in Spain has only one original-Spanish language book in their roster (some dude I haven't heard of ever).

If you'd like something older, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer wrote Rimas y Leyendas which is in the public domain.

Olvidado Rey Gudú is sort of fairytale-like literary fantasy written by an old lady who has never touched anything with a big sword and a dragon on the cover.

For a recent YA fantasy series, check Laura Gallego's Idhún trilogy. This article has a few more suggestions, but I haven't read any of them (sorry).

Movies is somewhat better: you have Nacho Vigalondo (Los Cronocrímenes), Álex de la Iglesia (Acción Mutante) or the [REC·] zombie films, to just quote a few.
posted by sukeban at 10:43 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

It might be convenient to have books that do have commonly available English translations. For example, you will find a few of Isabel Allende's YA novels in both English and Spanish in many bookstores.
posted by Nomyte at 12:24 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love Adolfo Bioy Casares' La invención de Morel. It's not YA, but it's pretty short.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 2:01 PM on October 13, 2013

I know you said sci-fi/fantasy, but I have heard lots of good things about El Capitan Alatriste (and the series generally), and if you like swashbuckling fantasy, you might like swashbuckling historical fiction as well.
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:08 PM on October 13, 2013

The problem with the Capitán Alatriste novels is that the original Spanish uses a lot of XVIIth century slang and thieves' cant, and it can be a bit difficult for native Spaniard teens to understand. Besides, people will look at you funny if you use these words in regular speech because they're the equivalent of going "zounds!".

The writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte did a short speech on this kind of thieves' cant ("lengua de germanía") for his induction to the Real Academia Española, which you can read here.
posted by sukeban at 12:13 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Part of this is more 'motivational' than 'practice'--I realize that specfic in general is likely to end up with some weird nonstandard language, but previously my attempts have gone like this: Get reasonably fluent. Realize that I do not want to watch telenovelas, or listen to most Spanish-language music, or whatever. Realize that there are no native Spanish speakers left in my close family. Realize I cannot afford to travel anytime in the near future. Realize in short order that I barely remember anything. I can tolerate some boring practice to read things that are more interesting--I cannot retain the language without using it.

I'm a little sad there's not more, but this is at least a good start for me, thanks.

Borges and Allende are two examples of people who I have tried to read in English translation before and found to be kind of dull or at least more Serious Reading than I'm usually inclined to do, but I will check them out again and see if maybe my previous experience was more exceptions than the rule.
posted by Sequence at 11:46 AM on October 14, 2013

La seria "Los Caminantes" ;)

It's a series, maybe you'll like it.
posted by saul-bass at 1:13 PM on October 14, 2013

Carlos Ruiz Zafón has a YA trilogy, Niebla. The first is El Principe de la Niebla.
posted by amapolaroja at 8:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

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